Created by Walter Rass, the master cheesemaker at Käserei Tufertschwil in the canton of Saint-Gallen, Chällerhocker is a twist on traditional Swiss cheese. The recipe is based on Appenzeller, which Walter, as a second generation producer has many years of experience making.
Despite its similarities, Chällerhocker differs considerably from Appenzeller due to changes in the recipe (the temperature the curd is cooked at, the fact that Walter chooses not to skim the fat off of the milk, and aging time). Unlike most producers in Switzerland, Walter likes to make his own rennet rather than relying strictly on the commercial type.
The name of the cheese roughly translates to “sitting in a cellar”, which is exactly what it does, for ten months. During that time it is regularly washed with brine.
Chällerhocker production began in 2003 and was part of the new wave of innovative cheesemaking in Switzerland. The dairy was originally founded in 1896 and Walter’s father, also a cheesemaker bought the dairy in 1987. Walter works with dairy farmers located within about a mile’s radius of the dairy, each of which owns an average of about 15 cows that are mostly Brown Swiss. Twice daily the farmers bring the milk directly to the dairy and cheese is made once each day. Villagers and locals can also stop by the dairy to buy Chällerhocker.
Chällerhocker is an extremely complex Swiss cheese. Its texture is dense, and silky-smooth. The rind is slightly tacky and smells of caramel, roasted peanuts and aging meat. Chällerhocker tastes of brown butter and melted leeks with a salted caramel finish.
Pairing suggestions include fortified wines that have some nuttiness such as Sherry or Madeira. The best way to enjoy this cheese is at room temperature as a table cheese, or in highly indulgent mac-and-cheese or gratin dishes.