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Oct 12, 2012 03:04 PM

Help me, cheese detectives! What is the cheese featured in Heidi?

I am trying to figure out what kind of cheese is in Heidi (yes, that old book/movie about that Swiss orphan girl).

In the story, they put pieces of this cheese on sticks and roast it over the fire. You can see a glimpse of it in this clip (just after 3:25):

Or, the quote from the book is: "meanwhile the old man held a large piece of cheese on a long iron fork over the fire, turning it round and round till it was toasted a nice golden yellow color on each side ... the old man filled her bowl again to the brim and set it before the child, who was now hungrily beginning her bread having first spread it with the cheese, which after being toasted was soft as butter"

If it helps, the book takes place on a goat farm in the Swiss alps, so it seems likely that it`s some kind of Swiss goats cheese, but there are no specifics in the book so it could potentially be any kind of cheese.

I`ve googled this so many times, but no luck! Im in Switzerland for the next two months though and I would really love to try it. I loved Heidi when I was little and I`ve been sort of weirdly obsessed with this idea of roasted cheese ever since.

Any guesses appreciated!

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  1. The Pasta Shop in Oakland, CA was grilling some sort of cheese at the Rockridge street fair last year. Don't recall the name and they ran out before I got there.

    What you describe sounds like raclette.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chocolatetartguy

      I agree. Description sounds like what you'd do with raclette.

    2. I'm thinking maybe a Jockberg cheese. Can't be sure though.

      1. I found this with a google search:

        It lists raclette cheese and gives alternatives. The method is not what was described in the book, but maybe it's a start?

        2 Replies
        1. re: SAHCook

          I was going to say...sounds like raclette. :)

        2. I don't have a clue - but those passages in the book made me absolutely drool. I wanted that cheese so bad.

          5 Replies
          1. re: mamachef

            Those passages in the book made me drool also, but my youthful wantings were not so much for the cheese as for Heidi...

            1. re: Veggo

              Veggo, you slay me. Those were pretty pictures, weren't they?

              1. re: mamachef

                Heidi didn't particularly appeal to me when I was eight or so, but poor little Clara was the first book character I fantasized about cooking for. If she just had some pancakes, I thought, that'd perk her appetite right up.

                I thought the cheese sounded kind of boring … but what the hell does a eight-year-old know?

                1. re: Will Owen

                  Heidi herself didn't fascinate me. I just liked the story, but she was way too plucky and "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm"-style to appeal to me. The character I loved was the evil housekeeper who terrified me so much that I forgot her name..Frau something....but the pictures of her in the book were frightening. As to what she ate, I always fantasized her dipping dry rusk into tea made from used bags. Wait, was her name Frau Bluucher?, that was the character from Young Frankenstein that Cloris Leachman did so brilliantly.

                  1. re: mamachef

                    mamachef, you're talking about Fraulein Rottenmeier! I remember being so scared of her -- even tho my mom was reading the book to us. ;)

                    Interesting that we never tried to replicate that cheese-melting scene.

          2. I have done that with cheddar in my fireplace, after reading some fairy tale to my sons in which the giant speared his cheese and browned it in the fire. It was excellent.