Challerhocker is the Swiss for those who think they don’t like Swiss cheese. Developed by master cheesemaker Walter Rass, Challerhocker (“sitting in the cellar” in Swiss) is made in the style of an Appenzeller, but with some nuances: added cream, changing the curd size and cooking temperature, and a special wash of wine, herbs and spices before being aged for about ten months. Sweet, nutty, and a little oniony, Challerhocker has the texture of a classic Swiss, dotted with holes, pliable and semi-soft, and it melts perfectly. The large wheels also feature a covering of lovely drawings of creepy kids enjoying huge blocks of cheese. What’s not to like?
With Alpine cheeses like Challerhocker a dry amontillado sherry or Madeira really works perfectly. These fortified wines have a nutty quality and silky texture that echo that reflect what is already found in the cheese. Gone is any tinge of astringency, leaving the buttery background for the subtle flavors of our beloved Alpines: vanilla, hazelnut, and a touch of almond.Delicious on a cheeseboard, in a grilled cheese sandwich, in mac & cheese, fondue, or on any vegetable au gratin. The paste is velvety smooth and just a bit firm—you can really sink your teeth into it.
How Challerhocker is Made
These gems like Challerhocker (pronounced “holler hocker”), are aged cow’s-milk cheese from a small creamery in Toggenburg, near Zurich. Weighing about 14 pounds and aged at least 10 months, wheels of Challerhocker are smaller and more mature than most Appenzeller. You might expect them to be drier, but they are not. Made from thermalized milk (a heat treatment less severe than pasteurization), they smell like roasted peanuts, caramel and aging meat.