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The Cheese Corner - The Perfect Swiss Cheese – Well, Almost!

Every now and then, one comes across a dairy product that you just have to admire or take a picture of! Following is one of those dairy products that was worthy of a picture. Too often I have gone to the store or supermarket to purchase Swiss cheese at their deli department. The

Swiss cheese that I have taken home has had varying degrees of eye formation. While the flavor might not have been faulted, the size and kind of eye formation certainly could have and should have been faulted.

Swiss cheese is supposed to have eyes in it. I get rather disappointed when there is none in the slice of Swiss cheese that I am about to eat, referred to as “blind” (no eyes at all) by the Swiss cheese processors. The Swiss cheese manufacturers talk about perfect eye formation, with dime sized holes in the Swiss cheese. I find these ideal slices of Swiss cheese out in the marketplace far and few between. Most of the time if the Swiss cheese isn’t blind, then it has splits or cracks in it, or has very small pinholes or “nesting” on the outer edge of the piece. These conditions are all defects in the Swiss cheese. They don’t affect the taste of the product so much, but do affect the appearance. Swiss cheese can be “over set” with too many holes or too large of Swiss cheese eyes in it, or can be “under set” with too few of eyes or eyes that are too small.

Check out this “almost perfect” slice of Swiss cheese purchased from my local deli. Note the very consistent dime sized holes in the slice (a dime was placed on the outside top edge for reference). There are neither too many eyes nor too few eyes. There are no pinholes or nesting on the outer edge of the piece. If it wasn’t for a very small crack just to the left of the middle eye, this might be considered as close to perfect of an appearance in Swiss cheeses as you are going to get. And the flavor wasn’t bad either!

While we are on the topic of Swiss cheese, here are a few more examples showing various degrees of eye formation, demonstrated by photographs used in the Swiss industry.

I find the language used in the cheese industry fascinating and love to demonstrate that language with pictures!