Hmm, low-fat artisanal local cheese

I finally succumbed to the inevitable and went to the dentist yesterday, to have a back molar that has been twinging with pain for months looked at. And, as to be expected when you hold off that dreaded dentist visit for too long, my options weren’t good: root canal surgery, or get the tooth pulled. I pondered my choices for, oh, about 5 seconds before settling on the tooth extraction option. (I’ve had root canal surgery once before…never, ever again will I go through that agony).

While it was my lesser-pain option, and Herr Dentist was as efficient as can be, I was still in pain as I got back to Zürich. (Herr Dentist is in Winterthur.) But my spirits lifted when I saw that the Wednesday Speciality Market (Spezialitätenmarkt im Hauptbahnhof) was back after a monthlong summer vacation. I headed straight for my favorite cheese vendor, which sells cheeses made by farmers/cheesemakers in the Züri Oberland region - in other words, very local, all artisanally made and so on.

This time, we spotted something I’ve never noticed before - reduced-fat cheese. Now, I have a built in prejudice against industrially produced cheese in general and that awful plastic cheese that is sold as ‘low-fat Swiss’ in the U.S. On the other hand, I’m always looking for tasty options that won’t keep adding padding to my body where it’s not needed. So we got a couple of small wedges of these slimmer cheeses. And surprise - they weren’t so bad. Not as unctuous as full-fat cheeses, but full of character and very nibble-able.

The only problem is that in my slightly dazed state I forgot to note down the cheese names. I shall do so next time I’m there for sure. Yay I found the names: they were Bäretswiler Puurechäs, a mild cheese sort of like a cross between Emmenthaler and Gouda, and Megerlimuck, a rather salty Appenzeller-like holey cheese. I also got an absolutely marvelous Sbrinz-type hard cheese with the rather un-delectable name Hinkelstein. Despite its name (which apparently means “menhir”), it tastes like the very finest Parmesano Reggiano, with a slight aroma of flowers. Delicious! In any case if you make it to Zürich, be sure to check out the Wednesday market in the Hauptbahnhof, especially the Zürich-area cheese guys. (I previously talked about another cheese they sell, the very pretty Edelweiss, last year.)

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Good that it's tasty.

That always seems to be the problem with low-fat stuff, not that it doesn’t taste quite as good as the original— which is expected—but that it tastes horrible in general. Almost like they’re trying to enforce the idea that something that’s good for you must taste horrible.

Katie | 6 September, 2007 - 12:53

Low fat cheese does not mean that it is fat-free

Note that the mentioned cheeses are rated “1/4 fett” or “1/2 fett”, meaning that they have less fat than the “vollfett” cheese, but even the “1/4 fett” still contains around 15% of fat. Such kind of cheese is not “de-fattened”, but the milk used for making it has a lower fat contents (because, for example, cream has been taken off before making the cheese). But it is cheese made like any other cheese. There is no “original” with a “low-fat version” of those cheeses; they are following the original recipe.

There is actually only one Swiss cheese coming to my mind, which is fat-free, and that’s the Glarner Schabziger … but that’s another story.

max | 6 September, 2007 - 18:46

You do like cheese

You really do like cheese as we saw in the Monthly Mouthful, so I’m glad you found a low-fat option! Thanks again for participating!

Hillary | 6 September, 2007 - 19:28


Schabziger….now that’s a cheese I can’t get to love!

Tastes like old soap to me!

(and I know because as I kid I had the weird habit of nibbling on soap)

(don’t ask)

Hillary, I dont think they allow you in Switzerland if you don’t like cheese :D

maki | 7 September, 2007 - 09:09

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