The longest-running Swiss cheese festival officially crowned America’s favorite cheese last month, but this week the Swiss Confederation’s agricultural ministry named a favorite of a different kind.
This will be the first year that only alpine cheeses will be eligible for the prize, held in March every two years. Alpine cheeses, not purely goat’s milk cheeses but also sheep and goat’s milk cheeses, are traditionally aged in the remote mountain valleys of Switzerland. At the rural festival, cheese from anywhere in Switzerland is represented. Past winners include blocks of Parmigiano Reggiano, Swiss Gruyère, Ticino’s horizioso (wildflower) tagliatelle, and Lechtenstieg, a white alpine type, popular in Switzerland.
The list of the winners for the 2021 festival was revealed during a press conference in the state of Graubünden. The wannabe top cheese, a dark lactic cheese, won the grand prize. The farmers who make the cheese from sheep’s milk produce it in a strict house system of extreme temperature conditions: from -2 degrees Celsius to a high of 46 degrees.