Origins of Red Witch
Red Witch is one of our most popular cheeses at this time of year for those looking for all things witchy and delicious. So, I decided it was time find out more about this Swiss, semi-firm cow’s milk cheese that goes a little deeper than its (admittedly delightful) label of a witch flying on a broom. I was kind of hoping it was a cheese with a long history going back to medieval times or something, and the first Red Witch maker was rumored to be a witch herself with all that bubbling milk in a huge cauldron. That sounds like it could definitely be the true story, doesn’t it?? Unfortunately, no witches were involved in the making of Red Witch’s actual history.
Actually, Red Witch’s conception is credited to a major cheese fan with a dream of the perfect cheese for Fastnacht, Switzerland’s pre-Lent get your jollies out now carnival. This cheese needed to pair with all kinds of beer, wine, and spirits, and keep festival goers full of energy because they have to (maybe “have to” is a little strong…maybe not) keep partying from 4am Monday to 4am on Thursday! Our hero cheese fan contacted famed Swiss cheesemaker Christian Oberli and he created the velvety smooth, buttery, meaty, slightly funky cheese. He covered the rind in paprika and called it Red Witch (Rote Hexe) because during Fastnacht celebrations people dress up in crazy costumes and masks, so he dressed his cheese up, too. I was looking at pictures and these revelers give Salemites a run for their money in the intense costume department. So basically, Red Witch was created for the Salem Halloween of Switzerland. But this story also highlights that Red Witch is an excellent party cheese, built for being a good pairing with almost any alcohol and to keep you strong so you can party all night long, or in the case of the Swiss, for 72 hours straight.
For the love of cheese and the partying capabilities of Red Witch,