by Tristen Spahr
Guggisberg Cheese has been producing cheese in Millersburg, Ohio since 1950. The local business is known for its award-winning Baby Swiss, which Alfred Guggisberg invented.
Guggisberg Cheese competed in the United States Championship Cheese Contest in March 2019, where they were not only awarded first place in the Baby Swiss and Swiss categories, but also named 2019 United States Grand Champion. “Over 2,555 entries we were number one, and they announced us as the best cheese in the country,” said Marketing Coordinator Ursula Guggisberg-Bennett. “It was pretty exciting for us.” They have won many awards at the state, national and international level, and were most recently awarded first place at the American Cheese Society contest.
The company manufactures 7 varieties of cheese, including their most popular Baby Swiss, as well as Premium Swiss, Emmental Swiss and Amish Butter Cheese. They continue to use milk from local dairy farms to produce their cheese, just as they did in the same location nearly 70 years ago.
Margaret looked at the little wheel of cheese he created and said “Oh, Baby Swiss.”
After attending cheesemaking school in the Swiss Alps and practicing cheesemaking all over the world, Alfred Guggisberg found a new opportunity for he and his wife Margaret in Ohio. Dairy farmers in the Millersburg area were in search of a cheesemaker to provide a market for their milk, so Alfred established Guggisberg cheese, where he began to produce traditional Swiss cheese.
“Alfred began to notice that the local palate was a little bit different than what he was used to in Europe,” said Ursula. “People around here didn’t really care for the super strong and robust flavor of Swiss cheese like they did over there.”
“Alfred set out to create a new recipe that was similar to traditional Swiss, but had a milder, creamier flavor,” Ursula explained. “As he experimented, Margaret looked at the little wheel of cheese he created and said ‘Oh, Baby Swiss,’ and that’s where the name came from. It has now become a household product across the nation, and it all started right here.”
In addition to their cheesemaking plant, the company has a retail store where they sell over 60 varieties of cheese and visitors can observe the cheesemaking process. They also operate a restaurant known as the Chalet in the Valley, where they serve authentic Swiss and Austrian cuisine.
“Margaret had always dreamed about having a restaurant and being able to serve people the dishes that she grew up with, as well as showcasing the cheeses that we make,” Ursula said. “She made her dream a reality in 1983 when they opened up the restaurant and she had a hand in its operation up until she passed away in 2015.”
Guggisberg cheese is now run by Alfred and Margaret’s son Richard. Under his operation, the company has become one of the leading producers of Swiss cheese in the nation.
Learn more about Guggisberg Cheese at babyswiss.com.