Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Saanen is the oldest cheese in the world, not in the sense of being the longest established variety (its manufacture dates back only to the 16th century) but because an individual Saanen cheese may be as much as 200 years old.

It is a hard cheese similar to sbrinz, and is made in the Swiss cantons of Bern and Valais. It is always matured for at least three years, and sometimes seven. By this time it is very dry and keeps indefinitely. Ordinary Saanen is used for grating. It is made in flat wheels up to 40 cm (16") across and weighing up to 11 kg (25 lb).