Cheeses of excellence chosen by the Fribourg State council 2021

In order to raise the profile of Gruyère AOP and Vacherin fribourgeois AOP produced in the canton of Fribourg, the State Council has carefully selected one of each to be served at government receptions. The winners were honoured in Montbovon and Semsales.

04 Dec 2020
Emmanuel & Loïc Piller (cheese makers), Anne-Claude Demierre (President of the State Council Fribourg)

On behalf of the State Council, President Anne-Claude Demierre this morning awarded two prizes for the best Gruyère AOP and the best Vacherin Fribourgeois AOP of 2021 in the canton of Fribourg. They were awarded to the Gruyère AOP produced by Manu Piller at the Semsales cheese dairy and the Vacherin Fribourgeois AOP produced by Marc Delacombaz at the Montbovon cheese dairy.

"The Canton of Fribourg is proud to be able to showcase two traditional, high-quality products and congratulates the cheesemakers and their companies on their daily commitment"

Anne-Claude Demierre, President of the State Council

The competition process

Cheeses from members of the Interprofession du Gruyère AOP of the Canton of Fribourg and Vacherin Fribourgeois AOP who obtained the best results in the year preceding the competition and whose producers agreed to taking part in the proceedings if their cheese should win, were eligible to take part in the preselection process. Among these products, the basic selection this year consisted of 12 Gruyère AOP and Gruyère d'Alpage AOP cheeses and 12 Vacherins Fribourgeois AOP and Vacherins Fribourgeois AOP d'alpage cheeses. These lots were pre-evaluated by a commission of experts made up of restaurateurs and specialists in Gruyère AOP and Vacherin Fribourgeois AOP cheese. They selected three Gruyère AOP and three Vacherin Fribourgeois AOP cheeses for the final selection which was made by the State Council. This, for the record, took place individually at each person's home this year in order to comply with health regulations.

William Berthoud (president of the dairy company), Emmanuel Piller (cheese maker), Anne-Claude Demierre (president of the State Council), Philippe Bardet (director of Interprofession du Gruyère) et Loïc Piller (cheese maker).

The Semsales cheese dairy

Emmanuel Piller has been running the Semsales cheese dairy since 1994 after obtaining his master qualification in cheese making in 1992. In 1997, Mr. Piller was one of the 20 delegated cheesemakers to lead the Interprofession du Gruyère (IPG). Four years later, this creation led to the recognition of the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for Gruyère. Manu Piller is still involved in the IPG, including his work as a cheese expert who checks on the excellent quality of the cheese produced by the association every month.

Today, the Semsales cheese dairy is a small SME that employs three qualified workers, including Mr.Piller's son, Loïc Piller, also a master cheesemaker, an assistant and above all 2 apprentices, who also demonstrate the association's commitment to training.

The cheese dairy transforms the milk of 14 regional producers. It produces mostly Gruyère AOP, but also Vacherin Fribourgeois AOP and Niremont, a semi-hard speciality reminiscent of this mountainous Veveyse peak. All these products can be found in the tea-room shop, the village's meeting place.

The Piller family is happy to be able to count on its enterprising cheese company, which made it possible to build new cellars in 2000 and then completely renovate the facilities in 2015.

As a result, Semsales has all the assets needed to produce a quality Gruyère AOP that is sold in an optimal way on the various markets by the cheese maturing company Fromage Gruyère SA in Bulle.

Emmanuel Piller and his entire team are proud and honoured to be able to fly the colours of the Fribourg Government in 2021.

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