Cheesemakers have been handcrafting cheeses like gruyère, emmentaler, and fontina in the European Alps since the 11th century. These full-bodied mountain cheeses are packed with rich, nutty flavor from the alpine meadows where herds of cattle happily feast. Famous for their meltability, an alpine cheese brings gooey goodness to every fondue and any ham-and-cheese sandwich – which is why they melt every cheese-lover's heart as well.
In Wisconsin, we make alpine-style cheeses that can hold their own against any of their European cousins. From casseroles and pastas to French Onion Soup, our alpine-style rock stars add a suave, sophisticated flavor to every dish, and they steal the show on any cheeseboard. It's safe to say, once you've had a dalliance with our alpine-style favorites, you'll never get over it. But that's okay, because here Wisconsin, we've got plenty of alpine-style cheese to share.
We like to melt our alpine-style cheese on grilled rye bread with onion jam, Dijon mustard, and mayonnaise for a show-stopping grilled cheese recipe. From au gratin potatoes and creamy pastas to lobster macaroni and cheese or chicken cordon bleu, alpine-style cheeses raise the stakes for any dish you melt them into or grate them over. And a nutty slice of alpine-style goodness on a cheeseboard paired with dried figs, ripe pear slices, and crusty pecan raisin hearth bread is a beautiful thing.
If you want to share a drink with our alpine-style cheese, bring home a bock, Scotch ale, Belgian ale, or pale ale. A glass of cabernet sauvignon, chianti, pinot noir, or ruby port all make our alpine-style beauties relax, and bourbon or brandy are just the thing if you're sipping spirits.
Alpine-style cheese is any cheese that resembles the classic mountain cheeses made in the Swiss, Austrian, French, or Italian Alps. These are typically semi-firm to hard cheeses made from cow's milk with a little salt and produced in large wheels. The flavor of alpine-style cheese ranges from nutty and buttery to fruity, spicy, herbal. Younger cheeses have a smooth and supple texture, while an aged cheese may develop a more crystalline texture similar to high-quality aged cheddar or parmesan. In Wisconsin, our cheesemakers produce award-winning, alpine-style cheese using classic production techniques and traditional copper vats.
The cheeses made in the European Alps are famous for their holes, called "eyes", which range in size from small cracks to large round openings. These are created during the cheesemaking process when carbon dioxide gas is produced by bacteria in the milk, forming bubbles. The eyes are formed as the cheese hardens around the bubbles.
"Swiss cheese" is a generic term for cheeses produced in North America that resemble emmentaler cheese, which originated in Switzerland. Swiss cheese is a type of alpine-style cheese.
Get Pairing Ideas, Cheese Recipes, Cheese Facts, Wisconsin Cheese Awards delivered straight to your inbox.
When you're ready to take a dip into some of the best melting cheese on the planet, look for alpine-style cheese from Wisconsin. We may not have the Alpine Meadows – or the Alps – in our backyard, but our cows produce world-class milk that our cheesemakers turn into world-class cheeses that can hold their own with any of their Swiss cousins. In fact, Wisconsin has won more cheesemaking awards than any other state or country on earth, Switzerland included. But, you ask, what about Switzerland's Master Cheesemaker program, one of only two in the world? Well, guess what – the other one is in Wisconsin.
That's what happens when a whole state is dedicated to making the tastiest, highest-quality, most award-winning cheese in the universe. It's what happens when you are literally the State of Cheese. So, next time you're cooking with an alpine-style cheese, make sure it comes from Wisconsin. We promise it'll melt away any doubts you have about where the best cheese on earth is made.
Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?
Check out the world’s largest cheese platform.
View our Current Issue
Need help? Say Hello
In Wisconsin, we make more flavors, varieties, and styles of cheese than anywhere else in the world. We believe in tradition, producing everything from Italian classics, like parmesan and ricotta, to swiss cheese and cheddar varieties. But every Wisconsin cheesemaker is an innovator as well, which is why we have so many Wisconsin originals, like colby and muenster. Whether it’s a grilled cheese sandwich, potatoes au gratin, or a charcuterie board, Wisconsin cheese makes every dish and recipe tastier.