Kaserei Tufertschwill’s Chällerhocker, which roughly translates to “sitting in a cellar”, owes its depth and complexity to exactly that: This cow’s milk wheel ages in a cellar for 10 months, during which it’s also regularly washed in brine. The resulting slightly tacky rind smells of caramel, roasted peanuts, and aging meat, while the firm paste tastes of brown butter and melted leeks with a salted caramel finish.
In the Appenzeller in Switzerland, the region’s namesake cheese reigns supreme—but Walter Räss, originally an Appenzeller maker, put his imagination to work when dreaming up Chällerhocker. Crafting his own rennet, tweaking cooking temperature and aging time, and adding a boost of creaminess, Räss has created an original Alpine-style wheel with stunning flavor complexity. And thanks to a local artist in Tufertschwil who unintentionally created a slightly creepy label, wheels of Chällerhocker are immediately recognizable.
Bring forward those malty notes by pairing Chällerhocker with fortified wines like Sherry or Madeira; a sesame shochu is especially nice if you can find it. Most flavorful at room temperature, it makes for a tempting table cheese. If indulgence is what you’re after, melt into mac and cheese or sub it for cheddar in a root vegetable gratin.