Maitre Affineur & Cheese Ambassador
Nesselnbach, (Aargau conton) Switzerland
Just like a cheese does not simply happen Rolf Beeler did not choose to become a Maitre Affineur straight away. He originally and for many years was a school teacher. But he didn't only teach he also learned. For instance that life was too precious to be spent doing something just out of a habit. That every moment should be enjoyed. So he decided to devote his nights and days to music and became a DJ. And again he learned. This time his ever growing passion for good, honest food was the teacher. Rolf Beeler opened a small grocery store, stocked with only products he personally liked. His constant search for great food lead to many personal relation- and friendships.
And during those visits, lessons and common meals it became clear to Rolf that what he really, really wanted was being around and involved with cheese and wine. He sold his store and started to work with cheese makers. Not that he intended to start making cheese on his own. He was more interested in supporting small producers who worked hard and honestly - with respect towards the pasture, the animal and the raw milk - and helping them develop and marketing their products. So he transformed the basement of his house into a small aging cellar and began to ripen his very favorite cheeses to perfection.
The word spread quickly. Restaurants only wanted Rolf's cheeses anymore because they tasted better, more finished, different than any other on the market. Soon Beeler could not stock enough wheels in his own cellar anymore. So he started to work the other way around. Instead of him taking the cheeses away from their birth place he left them there and started to instruct the producers of how to take care of them. He went - and still goes - around all his places once or several times a week to check on the product, discuss the status and plan the next steps with the cheese makers.
Over time Rolf also started to develop recipes for cheeses he dreamed up in his mind and then went out to find the cheese maker he thought was ideal to produce this specific item. The Hoch Ybrig, a wine washed mountain cheese worked in the tradition of a Gruyere and the Chue Flada, an year round available version of the Vacherin Mont d'Or were two of the first famous babies with the signature of Rolf Beeler on their birth certificate. Many others have followed. By now the cheese makers who contact Rolf in the hope of a collaboration fill a long waiting list.
But Rolf does not only support producers. More than anything else he supports cheese itself. He only accepts the best and he only accepts raw milk. These two adjectives are sacred to him and there's not one single compromise he will tolerate. Rolf is not a man who speaks loud but he is one who speaks up. With an intensity, consistency and passion that makes everyone stop and listen. The medias do not call one "Cheese Pope" or "Rambo of Cheeses" for no reason. Rolf Beeler indeed is the best thing that could happen to Swiss cheese.