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Nature’s Bounty in Appenzell

Appenzell's natural surroundings

Appenzell’s natural surroundings

The Appenzell region of Switzerland seems to have it all: gorgeous snowcapped mountains, shimmering lakes, and plenty of rolling farmland. From this fertile land, it produces some of the most iconic Swiss foods, including cheeses and sausages.

Cheese Galore
If you’re a fan of cheese, you’ll no doubt appreciate the world famous Appenzeller. You can sample this firm cheese (in classic, surchoix and extra variety) at many cheese factories (kaeserei) and shops dotted throughout the region.

Typical Appenzell building

Typical Appenzell building

In Appenzell (and surrounding St. Gallen and Thurgau), the traditional craft of cheesemaking has continued for over 700 years following a traditional recipe which gives the Appenzeller a distinctive spicy flavour. This is because the cheese is regularly rubbed with an aromatic herbal brine during the 3-month ageing process.

To see how seriously they take their cheeses, visit the Appenzell cheese dairy in Stein where you can watch cheese makers in action, and try a variety of cheese dishes. At the Appenzell Folklore Museum, you can even make your own cheese – which will be ready in 6-8 weeks.

Beer is king
Appenzell is also famous for its beer – particularly Quöllfrisch, made by its local brewery, Brauerei Locher. As the only brewer in the area for 300 years, they also make other varieties like oakwood barrel beer (Holzfass-Bier) and rice beer (Reisbier).

The beer factory is conveniently located in town, where you can go for a free tour (groups can organise a beer tasting).

A selection of cheeses and meats

A selection of cheeses and meats

Beer isn’t only for people – in Appenzell, the cows in the Dähler Family farm enjoy a daily massage with brewer’s yeast, resulting in a tender cut of beef.

Sausages are synonymous with this part of Switzerland. The stuffings are as varied as their names: Bauernschüblig, Pantli, Landjäger, Siedwurst, Bratwurst and Schüblig.

Noteworthy is the Mostbröckli which is made from beef loin that’s marinated in spices and then gently smoked. There’s also the Siedwurst (boiled sausage) which is spiced with caraway and garlic.

Then there are many varieties of preserved cold cuts made with meats like veal, pork and deer.

Making Biber

Bakery special

A popular souvenir is the Appenzeller Biber – a gingerbread made from honey dough and filled with a light almond paste (marzipan). In Appenzell, the bakers make Bibers in various shapes, patterns and sizes. The most common is a round dome imprinted with local motifs.

Other interesting baked goods include the Chrempfli (hazelnut turnover) and birnweggen (pear bread).

The best way to appreciate the fruits of this land is to go on a gourmet tour in town – top off your culinary adventure with the popular local digestif, Appenzeller Alpenbitter (a herbal liqueur that’s concocted with 42 secret herbs). Don’t worry, you can always burn the calories off with a hike in the nearby mountains.

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