Cheese and Chocolate Class at Sherly's Kitchen
Updated: Sep 14
Michael and I are off to another class with Sherly at Zürich's favorite's Swiss and Asian cooking classes. The cooking kitchen is located at Seestrasse 297 in Zürich.
Today, we are going to learn about cheese and how to make a chocolate soufflé.
On the 8:35 train to Bern where we will switch to the train going to Zürich. Then, we catch the regional train to Wollishoffen. After a quick walk up the hill, we will be at Sherly's Kitchen studio in time for the 11:00 class.
Sprinkles stopped when we went over to the main house this morning for breakfast. It's a damp, muggy, clammy, chilly, and high humidity day. It's perfect to head to a class at Sherly's Kitchen.
Clouds are hanging low over the mountains this morning. The color gray is so dominant everywhere you look. Small ripples on the waters of Lake Thun. Sailboats are bobbing slightly while anchored in their coves.
Before we even reached Spiez, Michael was asleep. I like to sit in the "quiet zone" car.
Cows are out in the fields grazing. A few are resting while chewing their cud.
There are so many different shades of green as far as the eye can see. The few brown areas are from where corn has already been harvested. Little cut off stalks are still visible. These will eventually be plowed under.
Many cats this morning waiting patiently in fields hoping to catch something. The neighborhood cat this past weekend left a few black feathers at our door.
No one swimming in the Aare River in Bern as they had done a few days ago.
Seems like we are on one of the newer trains with the display screens. Today, I even remembered to bring my charger along.
Clouds are higher in the sky as we approach Zürich. It's amazing how the Alps can quickly change the weather patterns within a short distance. For example, last night, Spiez was the dividing line between a dark threatening sky and rain toward Interlaken and sunny skies toward Bern.
Over the years, Michael and I have taken many Swiss and Asian classes with Sherly. We learn so many new things with each class.
The description of today's class.
"Discover the secrets of Switzerland's Cheese and Chocolate in One Class
Get the best of Swiss gourmet in one delicious class! Experience Switzerland's cheese and chocolate in this comprehensive hands-on class where you will get a glimpse of the Swiss culture and learn the secrets of these world-famous delicacies in this sweet and salty class. You will also learn to whip up a perfect meringue. In this class you will:
-Learn about what makes Swiss cheese & chocolate special
-Taste high quality cheese and chocolate
-Bake chocolate souffle from scratch in a vintage ramekin; Enjoy in class with coffee/tea!"
Sherly is a Dipl. Swiss Cheese Sommelier / WSET L2 Wine Sommelier In order to become a cheese sommelier, you first have to be a wine sommelier.
When our train arrived in Zürich, we learned our train to and from Wollishoffin was canceled in both directions as someone placed obstructions on the tracks. Didn't have to worry as tram #7 from the Bahnhofstrasse will take us a few steps away from the studio.
There were only four of us in class. The other couple was from New Jersey. They will be flying back home later this afternoon.
We learned so much about Swiss cheese today! Even though I took notes, I will probably forget most of it.
Here are a few highlights
Learned about how you plate cheese.
If the plate is round, the softest cheese is in the #6 position. Then, you go clockwise. So, the hardest cheese will be in the #5 position.
If the plate is rectangular, the softest cheese will be on the far left side of the plate while the hardest will be on the fat right hand side.
95% of Swiss cheese comes from cows’ milk while the other 5% comes from sheep and goats
Most Swiss cheese is hard
85% and higher Swiss cheeses are made with raw milk
10 pounds of milk make a pound of cheese
Most of Swiss cheese stays in Switzerland.
When you taste cheese on the tongue, salty and sweet are tasted on the tip of the tongue; sour is on the sides, bitter is on the back; and umami is in the middle and the widest.
Many things have MSG because it enhances the savory flavor. As Sherly says MSG stands for: "make shit good."
When you are about to eat a piece of cheese you should first look at it. Check the rind and the color. Secondly, smell it. Finally, taste it.
We tasted 5 different Swiss AOP cheeses.
1. Emmentaler Switzerland - the holes are about one and a half inches. Bacteria makes the holes. Because it is sweet/salty, pair with something mild like a chicken breast. Do not pair with honey.
2. Vacherin Fribourgeois. There is more salt and umami. Pairs well as cheese puffs and in cheese pies.
3. Tête de Moine. Head of the Monk which tastes best when shaved so the air goes through. Actually, was originally made by monks.
If you look at our plate of cheese, it would go in the 12 position. Sherly had it in the refrigerator.
4. Gruyères - is the second most sold cheese in Switzerland. Sometimes you will see white crystals in the cheese. It doesn't mean the cheese is spoiled. The white spots you see are protein crystals. Crystals form after 8 months. Being a hard cheese, it pairs well with a lavender honey. It completely changes the flavor of the cheese.
5. Sbrinz It is an extremely hard cheese. Reminds you of Parmigiano R.
Parmigiano R. DOP/Italy 50% skim milk/ 50% whole milk
Grana Padano DOP/Italy 100% skim milk
When you heat the milk, the cream comes to the top. If you take the cream off you can make butter. What you have left is skim milk. This is what is used to make Grana Padano
Sbrinz AOP/CH (Switzerland) 100% whole milk
Michael usually makes fondue with Gruyères and Emmentaler but Sherly said it is traditionally Vacherin and Gruyères.
Mozzarella is the number one selling cheese in Switzerland because of pizza. I didn't guess that but it certainly does makes sense.
Sheep do not mind the heat so in Spain most of the cheese is made from sheep milk first and then goat.
Cows can die if it is too hot. Cows do not like heat so in Summer, they go up the mountain. That is why the cows in Switzerland go up to the cool mountains in the summer and come down in the Fall. Cheese is made high in the mountains during June, July, August, and part of September. That is why Swiss cheese festivals are held at the middle of September through October. Cheese made up in the mountains is made in small batches. It stays in the mountains for more than two months.
If it is raw milk, the U.S. FDA bans cheese if it is less than 2 months.
In France, because of the rolling hills, you find the best selling cheese is a soft cheese like Brie or Camembert. Brie is ready to eat in 3 to 4 weeks.
Non pasteurized milk is more flavorful. France only uses 25% raw while Switzerland uses 95 % raw.
To make pasteurized milk more flavorful, fungus is added. You see this quite a bit with French cheese. Swiss cheese does not use fungus. The Swiss don't use fungus because only 5% is pasteurized.
Switzerland has 12 AOP cheeses, while France has 44 AOP cheeses.
"Many varieties of Swiss cheese are traditional specialties that have a strong connection with their region of origin. When there is so much value inside, it is worth making it clear: the AOP (PDO) and IGP (PGI) labels represent two quality seals that guarantee the highest standards in terms of origin, processes and quality."
Sherly gave Michael and me homework. We have had 6 of the twelve cheeses, so we need to find out and taste the other 6.
"For generations, cheeses from Switzerland has been produced by cheese makers with a great deal of passion and dedication. The product is deeply rooted in its region and this has led to something quite special: it has come to represent tradition and origin; the people and their craft. Very few foods are still produced in this way – the Swiss Federal Office of Agriculture has recognized this and has thus distinguished it with the two protected quality labels AOP and IGP. Independent certification authorities also ensure that businesses are adhering to the origin, process and quality requirements in the product specification.
To date, Switzerland also produces meat, bread, spirits, fruit and vegetables bearing the labels, alongside cheese. AOP and IGP products always contain their region of origin in their name and thus help consumers to take a stand against standard and mass-produced products by buying products with this certification."
AOP: One Product, One Area
"AOP stands for “Appellation d’Origine Protégée”, or “Protected Designation of Origin” (PDO) in English. Products labelled with this mark are produced, processed and refined in a clearly defined region. For AOP cheese, this means that the milk is sourced from the same region in which it is made into cheese and in which the cheese is matured. Twelve different cheeses from Switzerland currently bear the AOP quality seal:
Berner Alpkäse and Berner Hobelkäse AOP
Glarner Alpkäse AOP
Le Gruyère AOP
Raclette du Valais AOP
Ticino Alpkäse AOP
Tête de Moine AOP
Vacherin Fribourgeois AOP
Vacherin Mont-d’Or AOP
The IGP quality label is an abbreviation for “Indication Géographique Protégée”, or “Protected Geographical Indication” (PGI) in English. Specialties bearing the IGP seal are either produced, processed or refined in the place of origin. Thus, for example, the meat contained in an IGP sausage can also be sourced from animals bred in a different region.
Next, we turned our attention to chocolate.
You find cacao beans grown around areas of the equator.
The largest chocolate companies in Switzerland are Lindt and Sprüngli. Shhhhh....I have to keep it secret as to what chocolate Sprüngli uses.
Chocolate was first introduced in Spain. Chocolate was drunk like a drink in 1885.
There was a discussion of how chocolate came to Switzerland, etc.
If the rainforest keeps disappearing, so will cacao beans which will make chocolate extremely expensive to buy.
We also learned you can actually freeze chocolate.
The class tasted different types of chocolate.
Finally, it was time to make the chocolate soufflés.
Since there were four of us, we doubled the recipe.
This souffle is light and fluffy and easy to make. It is even gluten-free, so it has a lot of chocolate flavor.
Ingredients for two portions
White of 2 eggs (keep the yolk for something else, like Mailänderli Butter Cookies)
50g dark chocolate (choose cacao mass percentage between 50-60%)
1 Tablespoon sugar, and some extra to sprinkle inside the ramekins
Pinch of salt
Ramekins, about 9-10 cm diameter
Knob of butter
Heat up the oven to 180°C (350F)
Prepare the ramekins: Butter the inside of the ramekins and sprinkle sugar around the inner wall.
3. Melt 50g of chocolate over a double boiler while stirring with a spatula. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Cool the chocolate
4. Beat the 2 egg whites with 1 tablespoon of sugar and a pinch of salt. Beat until soft peaks form. Using an electric hand mixer makes it easy.
5. Blend the melted chocolate and the beaten egg whites gently using a spatula.
6. Pour in the batter into the prepared ramekin. Divide the batter equally among the ramekins..
7. Bake for 12-13minutes.
Sherly likes the vintage glass ramekins as she can see the finished souffle have some space or feet.
This is a simple and easy recipe to make and it is delicious.
After class we took tram #7 to the Paradeplatz.
I had to visit the Sprüngli flagship shop which is my favorite chocolate and pastry place. When on the Bahnhofstrasse, I usually want a "truffle of the day". Well, maybe more than one.
Michael and I each chose a milk and dark chocolate.
"Everyone knows the legendary Luxemburgerli. The success story of this now world-famous delicacy began in the Fifties. A young pastry chef from Luxembourg, who was working at the time at Confiserie Sprüngli in Zurich, brought a wonderful recipe with him from his homeland – elegant filled mini-macaroons which nobody could resist and which we decided to name "Luxemburgerli" from then on."
"The Sprüngli confectioners have continued to refine the recipe with new, irresistible flavors being added all the time through the Création of the Month. The palette of Luxemburgerli flavors is as colorful as it is tasty, ranging from Bourbon Vanilla, Chocolate, Mocha, Champagne Gold and Deluxe to Raspberry, Citron and Caramel Fleur de Sel."
So many choices of chocolates and pastries.
Next stop was Teuscher.
"Ninety years ago, Mr. Adolf Teuscher senior began his first creations, which soon became one of the world’s most celebrated and highly decorated confectioners.
Adolf Teuscher looked for the best cocoa varieties, marzipan, fruits, nuts and many other valuable and high quality ingredients for his recipes, and after years of experimentation and careful matching of the ingredients, the recipes he had never seen before came true.
Even today, we work with this method and process only the best ingredients. We produce more than 100 different types of pralines according to old tradition. Since the beginning, we have not used any additives or preservatives. We process 100% of course!
our promise Always fresh: we produce our pralines and truffles daily and ship them worldwide to our branches in Zurich, Geneva, Europe, America, Canada, Asia and the Middle East.
Fresh freshness is our top priority: so we ensure that our truffles and pralines are a pleasure all over the world and is chosen by chocolate lovers as well as by experts to be one of the best chocolate ever."
Michael and I wanted to try the pumpkin truffle.
"The house specialty, the famous Champagne Truffle, is a true delicacy. It was originally created by Adolf Teuscher Sr. in 1947. Each Truffle contains an exquisite whipped cream center made with Dom Pérignon and is surrounded in a dark chocolate ganache. A milk chocolate shell creates a smooth outer layer which is then finished off with a dusting of confectioner's sugar. The Champagne Truffle is also available in an all dark version."It's quite an amazing taste.