When he was only in his fifth year at school, Marcel Tobler decided to become a cheese maker. “I never dreamt of being anything else”, reminisces the master cheese maker. What fascinates him about the job? The raw product milk with its quality differences. “You can make a vast range of different products out of it.” From diverse types of cheese to yoghurt or cream. “The spectrum is so varied, this is what makes it so exciting”, he continues. Tobler’s cheese dairy is located in the Appenzell region and has been run by the Swiss family for almost 120 years. Founded by his great-grandfather, Marcel Tobler is now the fourth generation and manages the business with a successful blend of tradition and innovation. He would like to pass on his passion for the trade and his absolute dedication to its products to future cheese makers. Marcel’s dream for the future: “To pass on this company with its rich tradition to the next generation.”
Outstanding cheese is not manufactured by chance. The rule of thumb when making cheese: it takes good quality milk to make high quality cheese. That is why Marcel collects the fresh milk daily from farmers throughout the region and convinces himself of the quality while he is visiting. The cheese is always manufactured using the same technique, but the milk is subject to natural fluctuations. That is why no two cheeses are ever the same. “Good cheese is when we feel like its flavour appeals to many people.” Many different factors play a role: beginning with how the milk is obtained to the storage and bacteriology.
The cheese takes its name from the Appenzell region. But not every cheese can become Appenzeller. These conditions have to be fulfilled before the cheese earns the name:
Even today, the Appenzeller cheese is still primarily made by hand. Yet state-of-the-art processes are also used at Tobler’s cheese dairy. A robot helps Marcel to care for the cheeses: from rubbing the herbal brine into the cheese wheels to the strenuous turning work. The rest of the work remains passionate craftsmanship by hand. And the effort pays off. The traditional company took first place at the “World Championship Cheese Contest” in the USA in 2014. “At first, I could not believe it. Naturally this is an incredible recognition of the daily work.” To continue the success, Marcel works on his cheese production every day with ambition and drive. “My standards are extremely high when it comes to the products.”
Marcel also handles the milk transport personally. With his Sprinter 519 CDI 4×4, he drives to the dairy farmers throughout the Appenzeller region and collects the fresh milk. The special refrigerated body provides the perfect conditions. To reduce the unladen weight to a minimum, Marcel had the tank mounted directly on the chassis. The cooling integrated into the tank ensures that the milk stays fresh. The tank is designed in such a way that it is easy to clean and also prevents the milk from freezing at high altitudes. “Because I can load the Sprinter with up to 5 tonnes, I have more payload and can transport more milk in a single run. This is a massive benefit.” He worked with the vehicle supplier to determine the perfect load distribution. The tank was positioned on the chassis accordingly.
I chose the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter because the vehicles have a good payload and that is very important for me. This enables me to transport more milk with every run so I have to drive less and can use the vehicle more effectively.
Fresh milk is a sensitive raw material. The following needs to be observed to prevent the milk from turning sour during transport: