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Swiss cheese, a very popular cheese and perhaps the one that looks most like what people would think of as cheese. Yes it is of course the cheese that you see in all cartoons, the one the mouse is always after. You all know what it looks like, a little triangle of cheese full of holes despite the fact that this cheese is actually made in wheel shapes.
Swiss cheese as you might have guessed was originally made in Switzerland in a place called Emmental Valley. It has been around since the 15th century and is therefore one of the oldest cheeses around.
Swiss cheese is made from cows milk, like most cheeses which is heated up to about 26 degrees Celsius and left to ferment for anywhere between 6 and 8 weeks depending on how strong it needs to be. The little holes aren't made by mice nibbling at it as cartoons so often suggest but are actually caused by carbon dioxide being released whilst the cheese is fermenting.
It has a distinctly nutty flavour which makes it a great accompaniment to pickle in a sandwich; well I think it does anyway. It often has a bright yellow colour which only emphasise the similarity to cartoon cheese but some of its varieties can be anywhere down to a creamy colour. It can sometimes be soft and other times hard, this depends on how long it has been fermented for, the longer it's been left the harder and sharper tasting it gets.
Thankfully it can be kept refrigerated for quite a while which is good because we don't really get through that much of it in my house. As long as it's wrapped up and unsliced it can be stored for up to a month and a half!
This cheese doesn't just have to be used in a sandwich it's also great for using in baking or for some people, although it's not something I like, it's makes a good cheese fondue. This is because it melts really quickly and easily. It's great to use in cheesecakes to add a bit of flavour.
Overall this is a really nice cheese with a lot of uses that lasts ages. Plus it has a wonderfully nutty taste, yum.
Excuse the cheesy title... :o) As a kid I was always fascinated by 'mouse cheese' - you know, the stuff you used to see on cartoons like Tom & Jerry that was put into mouse traps - big chunks of yellow cheese full of holes, that the mouse would probably end up hiding in at some point. I've never really been all that adventurous so far as cheese is concerned, and it wasn't until I moved out of home that I actually got around to trying 'mouse cheese' in the form of Emmental, or as it's also known, Swiss Cheese. Emmental can be bought in most supermarkets, normally in a pre-packaged block, a bag of grated cheese or in slices, though in some supermarkets with a cheese counter you may occasionally find it available from a wheel (the big flattened ball of cheese). So far as pre-packed Emmental is concerned, probably the most popular brand you will come across is that made by President, and it's a brand I've purchased on many occasions. A 250g block of President Emmental will cost in the region of £1.99, a 200g bag of grated cheese will cost around £1.69, and the ready prepared slices will costs around £1.75 for a 200g pack. At these prices the block is best value, closely followed by the grated cheese, and then the slices - the price differences haven't put me off buying all three varieties however, as somehow I always find that the ready prepared slices taste better in a sandwich than when you cut your own (yes, I'm sure it's all in my head), and the grated cheese is so convenient. Incidentally, President mark all of their Emmental varieties as being suitable for vegetarians. So far as taste is concerned, Emmental is a fairly mild cheese. It's got a firm texture, firmer than that of cheddar but by no means is it too firm. The actual taste of the cheese is hard to describe - it's often commented to be slightly nutty, though being a person who dislikes the taste of nuts I'
d disagree with this. It's also often described as being a bit of a fruity taste, though again, I wouldn't use that word to describe the taste. It's certainly not a distinctive strong taste, yet it does have a flavour of its own. Emmental lends itself to a variety of uses. It's great in a sandwich made with nice soft bread, and if you travel to France you'll probably notice it being used as a the standard cheese within a cheese sandwich or baguette (I'd imagine it's used in other countries as the 'standard' cheese too, though not having visited many others I can't comment). Emmental melts nicely, making grated Emmental a great choice for topping pasta or similar dishes with. It will grill to a golden brown colour too, making it suitable for pizza, cheese on toast, toppings on pasta bake etc etc. If you're not very adventurous with your taste in cheese and tend to stick to tried and tested English favourites such as cheddar I would certainly recommend giving Emmental a try. It's perhaps slightly more expensive than some commonly available cheeses, but it certainly makes a nice change, plus it's slightly lower in fat than most cheddars (comparing the product information on President Emmental to Tesco's Cheddar). So... why not give mouse cheese a go? * * * * *