A festival dedicated entirely to Swiss cheese seemed like a good way to spend a Saturday morning. So, I hopped a train to Basel to check it out last month. If you enjoy Swiss cheese, then here’s a brief summary of my visit, as well as information about where to find other cheese festivals in Switzerland throughout the year.
Käsefest Basel 2016
Sponsored by Trägerverein cheese-fesitval, an association that promotes Swiss cheese, this one-day festival in Basel took place at the Markthalle. It’s located within walking distance of the main train station.
After admiring the wheels of cheese just outside the door, I stepped into the hall and eagerly approached the various booths displaying cheeses in many forms. Altogether, 17 producers offered approximately 170 different milk and cheese specialties. I arrived early in the morning when everything was just getting started. The Trägerverein cheese festival estimates that between 2,000 and 2,500 people visited throughout the day. While it was the first edition of this festival in Basel, this association has hosted cheese events before in other Swiss cities, such as Bern and Thun.
Along with cheese samples, some of the producers also had other foods you could purchase to eat on-site. These included Chäschüechli (cheese tarts), fondue or Ueli’s cheese-burger. The smell of cheese was definitely in the air!
I took home three cheese purchases, including the following:
- Bier-Fondue with Burgdorfer beer – I sampled the beer fondue, which also contains whisky.
- Juraparkkäse – The Juraparkkäse carries the Swiss Parks label because it’s produced within the Jurapark Aargau. It’s a semi-hard cheese with a mild flavor.
- Emmentaler with the Presidi Slow Food designation – I had the chance to speak with one producer of the Emmentaler. He said that at Käserei Hüpfenboden, they typically make only about two wheels per day of this very traditional cheese.
While a Swiss supermarket has lots of cheese to choose from, this festival allows you to talk directly with producers. You can ask questions about how the cheese is made and how to use it. It felt good knowing my purchases benefited people who take great pride in producing these high-quality cheeses.
Upcoming Swiss Cheese Events
If you would like to attend a Swiss cheese festival, you have several to choose from, and in different regions of Switzerland. Check out the full calendar of events at cheese-festival.ch.
Updated: December 29, 2022