A hard, creamy, artisan Swiss cheese with a satisfyingly sweet flavour.
We caught up with Reto Güntensperger and his team - Reto is the cheesemaker behind the delicious Swiss 'Schnebelhorn' cheese - A recent UK exclusive to Paxton & Whitfield and already one of our most popular cheeses.
Reto is a third generation cheesemaker in his family - which started making cheese over 150 years ago in 1868. The cheesemaking began on the ground floor of Reto Güntensperger’s childhood home, and this is still used as one of their cheese dairies today.
This fantastically named 'Schnebelhorn' cheese is so-called thanks to the highest peak in the region from which it hails. Read on to learn more from the makers behind Schnebelhorn cheese...
(Pictured: Reto Gütensperger's Mum and Dad making cheese in one of the family dairies)
1) Describe a typical day at a Güntensperger dairy.
Every morning we collect the milk from our farmers ourselves. We purchase milk exclusively from the Toggenburg valley, so we have short distances and complete control over the quality in our hands. The average herd of our farmers is around 30 cows. At peak times, our cheesemakers start cheesemaking at 2 am. They work with the milk from the previous day until the fresh milk arrives during the morning. In the other two small cheese dairies, no two days are the same. Sometimes goats' milk cheese is made there, another day truffle cheese is made.
2) Why did the Güntensperger family focus on making alpine-style cheeses?
We started with this type of cheese in 1868 and have developed the use of our own unique starters and recipes to cheeses like Schnebelhorn, which we are known for around the world today. The unique climate and ingredients of our region are reflected in the alpine styles so it’s really an expression of this place.
3) How would you describe the flavour of Schnebelhorn to someone who had never tried the cheese before?
The creamy first bite sets off on a journey up the Schnebelhorn; a cheese we named for the hill adjacent to the family dairy we mentioned earlier! A subtly tart note tickles the palate on the first ascent. At the peak of Schnebelhorn’s flavour, intense, buttery notes with a warm spice and savoury, finish of alpine salt.
4) How do you enjoy your Schnebelhorn cheese?
One of our insider tips is to enjoy the cheese together with a dark, slightly fruity wheat beer. A malt accented Schwarzbier is also really wonderful with it.