Grated Summer Issue

Page 1




Issue No.4

This is an incomprehensible time for

communities healthy. In our local

everyone in the food industry. We are all

communities in Wisconsin, our employees

at our best when we are collaborating,

are stepping up to help. This has included

celebrating and bringing people together

donating cheese products and supplies to

with food. The closures and

our local schools and healthcare systems,

uncertainty that have come with the

working closely with chefs and their pro-

COVID-19 pandemic challenged

grams to feed our communities, and host-

that, but we are also resilient. The spirit

ing giveaways to help our local cheese

of the food industry can’t be stifled, and

shops. We have always done business with

we are looking forward to celebrating

a giving and caring mentality, and right

again soon.

now it’s even more important to do so.

Until then we are focusing on the things we

We believe in the power of our community

can do. First, we are committed to being an

now more than ever. We are grateful for

essential partner for you. Our production

those on the front lines – for our farmers,

facilities are running to ensure we produce

our employees, grocers, delivery

the important products you need. Our

professionals, chefs reinventing their

teams who already implement strict

businesses and our customers. Thank you

food safety measures have been forced

for your continued support of our products.

to be even better. Our maintenance team designed and installed plexi glass

We are so hopeful for the future. As you

coverings in front of all open cheese

read through the following pages we hope

products, and our teams are practicing

you think of the meals that bring us

social distancing and implementing strict


hygiene practices. We’re working tirelessly to keep our food system, supply chains, employees and

Raclette and Fondue are each national

discovery occurred centuries – or

dishes of Switzerland, and both are just as

millennia – ago. The only certainty is

synonymous with Switzerland as the Alps

that these communal meals are revered,

and yodeling. These cheeses have varied,

adored and enjoyed by diners far beyond

tantalizing histories that are debated to

Switzerland’s border today. Melted cheese

present day. Most likely, these pastoral

is perhaps, one of humankind’s greatest

dishes reached their current semblances

creations and as such, developed

in the late 1800s, but their origins of

legendary stories.

Created well before Fondue, the lore of

To that end, it is futile to determine the

Raclette is based on the story of a man

exact origin of Raclette, but it was

from Valais, Switzerland, by the name of

mentioned in medieval texts from Swiss

Leon. One cold day, with food scarce in

convents dating as early as 1291.2

the open pastures, Leon heated a piece

Originally consumed by peasants in the

of cheese over an open fire to ease his

Alpine regions of Switzerland (and

hunger and keep warm. He found the

probably France), it was known as

melted cheese had a transcendent flavor.

Bratchäs, or roasted cheese. The

It not only complemented other foods –

methods then were primitive; cow

it made a great, satisfying meal for his

herders carried this cheese along with

family. Which also is the story if we ask

them as they moved cattle to and

Germany or Austria, where Raclette is

from the mountainous pastures. When

mightily popular. However, if we would

their work was finished for the day,

ask the French we may hear that it was

these herders would put half a wheel of

created long ago, also during winter, in

cheese near the fire and scrape it onto

the Savoie region of France1, a mere 120

bread as their evening meal.3 In 1574,

miles from the origin of the Swiss tale

documented in detail, is an incident of

of Raclette.1 Perhaps, let’s all agree

melting cheese in front of a fire in Valais

that humans have similar inclinations

written by Gaspard Ambuel. This would

to melt cheese.

indicate its slow steps into popularity

country.4 This popularity extended the production of Raclette outside of Valais, where production eventually outpaced that of the original canton.1 In 2007, Raclette du Valais was given the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), with some Swiss and French variations that are now PDO-protected. More than 10,000 tons of Raclette cheese is and into the more mainstream. It is

produced annually outside of Valais,

important to note that Raclette most

but within that canton, less than half

likely did not look like what we know of it

the cheese made is ever exported,

today, as contemporary manufacturing

which means it is mainly used for

technologies were not developed until the

national consumption.4

14th and 15th centuries in Switzerland.4 The word Raclette comes from the French For hundreds of years Raclette was

Swiss dialect (Walliserdialekt) verb

served in the mountains at family

racler, which means to scrape.2

tables, celebrations and as a means of

Nowadays, it is very rare to see Raclette

sustenance in the Alps, but it wasn’t

being heated next to a fire as there are

until the 20th century that this method

many more modern tools such as

of consuming cheese came down the

electric grills to use for individual

mountainsides and became a national

consumption. Preferred drink pairings

dish of Switzerland. 3 During a

and accompaniments vary by region, but

culinary exhibition in 1909, Raclette

no matter what it is tasted with, Raclette

was presented as a national Valaisan dish

is sure to bring joy to every table.

and at this time was limited to cheese aficionados and to those within the canton of Valais. It wasn’t until the 1960s and Raclette’s presentation as a Swiss National Dish at the 1964 National Exhibition that this cheese reached its maturity within the

To be more candid, it was a cartel. Cartels collude, improve profits and dominate markets. As was true with the Swiss Cheese Union and fondue. The concept of fondue originated with Alpine

Pre-World War I was primetime for Swiss

herdsman in an effort to stay full and warm

cheese, which wasn’t solely the white holey

during the harsh winters. It means, simply “to

stuff. Back then, it is estimated that

melt”. Unlike Raclette, Fondue is a staunchly

Switzerland produced and exported more

a Swiss invention. What one may come to

than 1,000 different cheeses.7 Gruyère,

notice is that although Fondue is a more

Emmentaler and Sbrinz being the ones most

recent creation, it’s much more well-known

promoted by the Swiss Cheese Union.

and recognizable. The answers behind its rise

The outbreak of World War I in 1914 led

are much more interesting than one may

to shortages, including supplies for

expect from an innocent (but maybe

cheesemaking: Enter the Swiss Cheese

not-so-innocent) cheese dish.

Union, established by Switzerland to protect national food supply.7 Exports were suffering,

Villagers had to save food from the busy

so the Swiss Cheese Union set the price for

summer season to last them through the rest

milk, and told cheese producers how much

of the year – their bread would become stale

cheese they could make, how much they

and the cheese would age, making it more

could sell it for and who they could sell it to.

challenging to eat. These local villagers discovered that adding wine, garlic and herbs

Since production for so much cheese was

to the cheese would make it more palatable,

complicated, they narrowed their support to

and that dipping stale bread in said melted

seven varieties.6 This seemed to be a

mixture would soften the bite. And thus, the

simplified answer, but there was a problem.

traditional, communal fondue was born.5

The country was over-producing cheese and the Swiss Cheese Union was only able to

One cannot delve into the record of Fondue

hold things steady for a while.7 Although,

without coming across the words Schweizer

how they accomplished it can spin heads.

Käseunion AG – the Swiss Cheese Union. Simply put, it was a marketing and trading

The Swiss government created and funded

organization that was active 1914-1999.

the Swiss Cheese Union – then, the Swiss

The tactics the Swiss Cheese Union used to succeed in this brought the demise of the organization. To summarize, they intentionally inflated prices, mislabeled cheeses they were exporting and after corruption charges were brought to several members the Swiss Cheese Union completely disbanded in 1999.6 This deregulated the industry, bringing cheese prices crashing down with the reintroduction of competition, but this also led to more innovation and the Cheese Union controlled the Swiss milk

reintroduction of some of the country’s

associations, which bought cheese from

beloved, forgotten cheeses.7

cheesemakers at fixed prices and then sold it back to the Swiss Cheese Union.7 The

Fondue may have a storied past, but its

upshot is, the Swiss Cheese Union had their

ability to bring community and enjoyment

hands in every component of the

was never falsified. Without the Swiss

cheesemaking industry and those

Cheese Union in place, Fondue has found

hands had a preference for more income.

its new home – as a true, national dish of Switzerland. The streets of any Swiss city

The Swiss Cheese Union had to create more

cannot be walked without the pungent, yet

of a demand for their surplus of cheese. The

pleasant smell of a beloved dish burgeoned

Swiss Cheese Union fabricated a tradition

by a collapsed cartel.

that never existed, and promoted Fondue as a dish for any time of the year using beautiful Alpine actors to spin their tales.6 Before the Swiss Cheese Union got their hands on it and declared it a national dish in the 1930s, Fondue was not well-known, even in Switzerland.7

READY-TO-SERVE ORIGINAL FONDÜ Premium Swiss cheese meets wine and spices for an original fondue experience.

FRESH BLEND FONDÜ Takes the fun of fondue up a notch, blending together the finest Emmentaler AOP and Le Gruyère AOP cheeses.

SELECT FONDÜ POUCH With the addition of Emmentaler AOP, this makes for the creamiest ready-to-serve fondue we offer.

RACLETTE WHEEL & SQUARE Raclette is aromatic and can be mild or piquant, depending on the age of the wheel. The naturally tan rind, washed in brine, is tacky to the touch.

RACLETTE SLICES Now available in convenient slices, Swiss Raclette is availalbe in classic and other flavors. These easy-to-use slices are great for melting over burgers or sandwiches, and the perfect size for a Raclette party grill.

SOURCES 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7)


Is sue No.4