When you think of Switzerland what springs to mind? Chocolate, fondue, cow bells, yodelling, alpen horns, Heidi…
Okay, so forget Heidi – she was, after all, a goat girl – but Switzerland is all about the cows. Oh, and the watches. And heavily armed neutrality. In fact, the cows probably only wear bells to warn people they’re packing heat.
The Tour of Switzerland starts tonight and whilst some people use it to check the alpine form of riders slated for Le Tour there will be ample opportunities to spot ruminants. Watch out for the original “how now brown cow”: the literally-named Brown Swiss. You might also spot some Simmental. Perhaps they might be herded by the Swiss cattle dog, the Sennenhund.
Despite Heidi’s treacherous predilection for goats, most of the 450 or so cheeses in Switzerland are made with cows milk. Did I say 450? That’s a lot to choose from. Will Studd covered five of them in series three of Cheese Slices and Wikipedia offers a list of many of the others, with links. You won’t get this in time for tonight’s action, but iDeli can hook you up with a Vacherin Mont d’Or which will also be appropriate for the Alps stages of the Tour.
If you’re serious about your Tour de France prep, perhaps you might want to try the French-style fondue that Will Studd featured on Masterchef, using comté . Otherwise, go the whole… hog?… and load up on some Emmental, Gruyere, and/or Raclette and do it Comme les Suisses.
Get your 1970s on, dust off your fondue kit (who are you kidding – of course you have one!) and get dipping.