Etivaz is a seasonal cheese, a cheese of the summer period, from May to October. It is a traditional cheese, part of the Swiss culture and patrimony. This cheese is made using raw cow’s milk and is made in chalets, at an altitude of 1000 to 2000m, where the cows eat a diet of rich and aromatic vegetation.
The key to the success of the Etivaz is the fact that the milk is curdled in a cauldron type pot, made of copper, over a wood fire. The curdling, moulding, and pressing are done entirely by hand.
The area of production of Etivaz AOC is in the Swiss Alps, the pastures situated 1000 to 2000m above sea level, in the communes of Château-d’Oex, Rougemont, Rossinière, Ormont-Dessous, Ormont-Dessus, Leysin, Corbeyrier, Villeneuve, Ollon et Bex.
The alpine character and geographical complexity of the area, of the hulid air from the Atlantic, and the altitude, means that the vegetation eaten by the cattle is diverse and gives the milk specific characteristics.
The cheese is produced according to the AOC specifications, and remains traditional. After the curdling in the copper pot, over the wood fire, and the cutting of the curds by hand, the cheeses are put into moulds, and are turned several times. The cheeses are marked with a casein plaque saying ‘L’Etivaz AOC.’ For those cheeses made organically, they are also marked with ‘Bourgeon.’
The cheeses are pressed until the next morning. They weigh 10 to 38kg. The wheels of cheese are scrubbed using salt, and conserved on a table for 10 days at a temperature of between 10 and 16°C. They are then put in cellars and left to mature.