Adopt-an-Alp: Our pipeline to family cheesemakers in the Alps

adopt an alp

Caroline Hostettler was a food journalist when she moved to the USA from her native Switzerland in 1996. Missing the cheeses she had grown up with and loved so much she decided to start importing them. Armed with a 10 pound piece each of Gruyère, Emmentaler and Sbrinz finished by Affineur and friend Rolf Beeler she set out on a two week long trip through the US.

She met and tasted with the most prestigious chefs in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and New Orleans. Upon her return home there were two orders on the fax machine. Quality Cheese Inc. was born.

In 2013 Caroline founded Adopt-an-Alp. The program supports Swiss Alp farmers and educates cheese consumers in the US. The goal is to create understanding and value for the hard working alpine communities so they continue making this pure and precious cheese.

Caroline’s close collaboration with farmers and producers led to a deep passion for Alp Cheese. She respects the genuine way it is produced utilizing an entire lifestyle called Transhumance. This is the seasonal movement of herds in accordance with nature. Caroline is dedicated to keeping this tradition alive.

caroline adop t an alp

Caroline has contributed to many cheese books, been featured in various media and is an international judge. Dean of Cheese Max McCalman describes her as “the one who educated people and raised the bar when it comes to Swiss cheese in the USA”.

Current Adopt-an-Alp Cheeses at Liberty Heights Fresh:

Vacherin Fribourgeouis

This raw cow’s milk cheese is primarily produced in Southwestern regions of Switzerland, with milk made from the Fribourgeouis breed. These cows graze on high alpine grasses and wildflowers throughout the late spring and summer, before being brought down to finish the season eating grass and summer hay near their home villages. Due to this tradition herding practice Vacherin retains a nutty flavor with secondary notes of fresh hay and milk. The texture is smooth and buttery. As with many alpage cheeses Vacherin has a stinky washed-rind that is not meant to be consumed, but does not affect the interior flavor. Best used as a fondue or raclette melter, it can also be a luxurious addition to grilled sandwiches and soups. Pair with Burgundy, Bordeaux, or reds from the Rhone Valley.

Maran Raclette

This incredible cheese is produced out of Chur at the base of Alp Maran, the oldest alpine village in all of Switzerland. Four-hundred cows spend their summers on Maran, before cheesemaker Walter Niklaus turns over 100,000 gallons of their milk in to this classic, savory alpage wheel. The surrounding Alps themselves are owned and protected by the people of Chur, and the dairy is public domain as well, creating a balanced system for workers and cows alike. Treat this raclette the traditional way, melting it over boiled potatoes with sides of cornichons, cured meats, and mustards.



This cheese is produced by three generations of the Tschudi-Lenzlinger family on the slopes of Alp Heuboden. The family rotates between four houses between 4,000 and 6,000 feet above sea-level in order to graze their cows within Transhumance tradition. Due to the remote location this cheese is produced over wood-fire and aged in family owned cellars are opposed to the usual communal ones. Provisions often have to be air lifted to the highest of their houses, since no roads connect them to lower villages. The paste of this cheese is a deep straw color, concealing an array of clean and floral flavors. Notes of hazelnut, chive, and bacon also appear dependent on age. 

These cheeses are only available during the winter months in limited quantities. Come in to chat with one of our cheesemongers about alpage tradition and raclette pairings and try a few for yourself! 

Want a chance to meet Caroline?

RSVP to participate in our meet-the-monger event at 7:30pm on January 25th, 2024 where Caroline will be sampling some of her favorite alp cheeses. RSVP here.

About the Author

This Week’s SFF Spotlight: Flora​

This is the first new cheese Indiana-based Capriole Creamery has produced in twenty-five years, it is based on a French style Selles-sur-Cher style goat cheese. It is dusted in ash to balance the pH and support rind growth. Named for the owner’s grandmother, Flora has a dense clay-like texture and develops an oozy layer right beneath the rind as it ages. Flavors are bright, tangy, and briny with a mineral finish. Mushroom notes will appear over time.
Pair this pint sized cheese with fresh blueberries or lemon forward preserves. If you’re feeling creative, serve with crispy sunchokes, a little salt and a drizzle of olive oil.

What’s a Sustainably Farmed Food (SFF) Share?

Our Sustainably Farmed Food Share (SFF for short) program is a CSA-style food share subscription. Subscribers receive a bag filled with organically grown and ethically raised food items every week. Unlike a traditional CSA, our SFF program is avialable all year long and has options to add items like artisan cheeses, ethically raise meats, farm fresh eggs, fresh-squeezed organic orange juice, and more! We upload recipes and details about the delicious items going into your share each week on our What’s In The Bag

Learn more about this opportunity to support organic farming and local businesses

What's Fresh at Liberty Heights Fresh!

These fragrant, universally adored fruits have been cultivated by humans for so long that we

Shopping Cart

This website uses cookies

We use cookies to service the shopping cart on this site, to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services.