Guggisberg Cheese: a tradition of family

Katherine Ryder Published:

At the age of 16, Alfred Guggisberg, founder of Guggisberg Cheese, began to study the art of cheese making in the high pastures of the Alps in his home land of Switzerland. To develop his knowledge, Guggisberg went on to attend the famous Swiss Federal "Molkereishulle" (cheese maker's institute). Upon completing his schooling, Alfred spent a number of years making cheese throughout Europe and parts of Africa before coming over to the United States in 1947 in search of a new challenge. As a result of his abilities, local Amish farmers, in search of a cheese maker to provide a market for their milk, lured Alfred to the Doughty Valley in Charm, Ohio. The operation that Alfred took over, known then as Doughty Valley Cheese, evolved and became Guggisberg Cheese in 1950. Roughly a decade after the establishment of the business, Guggisberg developed a substantial addition that is now known as his key success. "In the 1960s Baby Swiss was born," said Ryan Ramsey, marketing director for Guggisberg Cheese. "Alfred took his extensive cheese-making knowledge and discovered that Baby Swiss was more ideal for the American palet." His wife, Margaret, was responsible for the name as the small 60 lb. wheel was significantly smaller than the 200 lb. regular Swiss wheel. In 1968 Guggisberg Baby Swiss Cheese was launched and Alfred's cheese house began producing larger quantities of Baby wheels for the local community. While still in this early stage, Margaret, being the assertive woman that she is, decided to approach the local supermarket (Buehler's) with some of Alfred's new cheese. Buehler's agreed to take in some of this cheese and, within a month, found that it was a good seller and reordered in larger quantities. This relationship helped propel Baby Swiss into popularity, and Buehler's is still a regular customer today. "Our overall goal is to provide our customers with quality cheeses," Ramsey said. "Anything we put our name on we want to be the highest quality, all in an effort to ensure our cheese is top knotch." As part of the business' further development over the years, Guggisberg Cheese has started using new copper-style vats. This addition to the process of cheese-making provides extra emphasis on quality and control. "We use copper vats to make cheese the way that it was meant to be made," Ramsey said. "It's how they do it in Europe." With a name as well known as Guggisberg in the local area, Ramsey aspires to further expand the product line and extend the name recognition. "It's our marketing initiative," Ramsey said. "Guggisberg is a household name, sixty years from now I hope that's not just regionally." For the month of October: Breast Cancer affects almost everyone in some way, whether it's you, a family member, a friend, or co-worker. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we're inviting you to help spread awareness about early detection so that we can work to prevent and help to someday cure this terrible disease. Throughout the month of October, show your support at Chalet in the Valley by wearing pink when you come in, and receive a coupon for 10% off of your next visit with us! But why stop there? Because the strive for awareness should not end with the month, on November 9, 2011, we're having a "Passionately Pink for the Cure" Day! All day we will be sporting pink, serving free pink lemonade, and raising money to support the Susan G. Komen Foundation. When you arrive on that day, you will be provided with the opportunity to write the name of a loved one who is fighting, has overcome, or has passed away from breast cancer and post it on our "Pink Wall of Heroes" for $1.00. There will be a raffle, games, prizes, information packets, and merchandise to purchase. The best part? 100% of proceeds of these items will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. We hope that you will join us on this very special day for fun, support, the food you love, and to honor and celebrate our pink heroes. It is important to us at Chalet in the Valley to embrace the opportunity to spread awareness of what we can do to educate ourselves and others, and prevent this disease. The best detection is early detection! Also, our mail order division (online sales), during the month of October, will be donating 5% of the proceeds for the entire month to Susan G. Komen. Guggisberg Cheese is located at 5060 SR 557 just outside of Millersburg, Ohio. Store hours are Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Restaurant hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday, (buffet only) 11 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information call 330-893-2000 or visit www.guggisberg.com.

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