With the Sprinter to Swiss cheese. | Mercedes-Benz Vans

With the Sprinter 4x4 to world champion Swiss cheese.

With his Appenzeller cheese, Marcel Tobler became the world champion in 2014. With his Sprinter 519 CDI 4x4, the master cheesemaker transports the fresh milk which serves as the basis for his cheese in an 1800-litre special body.    

Käserei Tobler – traditional cheesemakers.

In his fifth year at school, Marcel Tobler had already decided he wanted to become a cheesemaker. "For me, there was never anything else that came into question," the master cheesemaker recalls. But from where did his passion for this profession stem? The answer lies in the raw product milk and in particular the differences in quality which each milk has. "You can produce so many different products from it." From the most varied of cheese sorts to yoghurt and cream. "The scope is so broad and that's what makes the whole thing so interesting," he continues. The Tobler cheese farm in the Appenzell region has been family-owned for almost 120 years. Initially founded by his great grandfather, Marcel Tobler is now the fourth generation of the family to be at the helm of the company and seeks to maintain traditional aspects whilst also introducing innovations. He would love nothing more than to pass on his love of artisan craftsmanship and his passion for the products to his offspring. Marcel's wish for the future is: "Handing the traditional business down to the next generation."

From raw milk to hard cheese. 

Excellent cheese isn't achieved by chance. The general rule of thumb when producing cheese is that if you don't use good-quality milk, you won't obtain a high-quality cheese. That's why Marcel collects the fresh milk on a daily basis from farmers in the region and checks the quality of it on-location. The cheese is always produced in accordance with the same principle, but the milk is subject to natural variations. That's why no two cheeses taste the same. "A good cheese is when you have the feeling that its taste will appeal to as broad a range of people as possible." And there are several different factors which play a role in this: it starts with obtaining the milk and also includes the storage of the products as well as bacteriological aspects. 

The aromatic secret behind Appenzeller.

The Appenzell region lends its name to the cheese. But not every cheese can become an Appenzeller. The following conditions have to be fulfilled for a cheese to earn this name:

    ·      the brand is a protected product – Appenzeller can only be produced in the strictly limited geographical area of origin. This comprises four cantons around the Säntis mountain: St Gallen, Appenzell Inner Rhodes, Appenzell Outer Rhodes and Thurgau.
    ·      Only silage-free raw milk is allowed to be used for the cheese to ensure that no large holes develop during the resting period. 
    ·     The secret recipe of the herbal brine used during the maturing period lends the cheese its specific aromatic taste. The longer the cheese matures, the more aromatic it tastes. 

A world champion cheese. 

Even today, the production of Appenzeller cheese occurs mostly by hand. However, the Tobler cheesemaking facility does also use highly modern processes. For example, a robot helps Marcel care for the cheeses: from scrubbing the cheeses with the herbal brine to turning the cheeses over – a task which would otherwise require great physical strength. The remaining tasks continue to be carried out passionately by hand. And it's worth all the effort: at the "World Championship Cheese Contest" in the USA in 2014, the traditional company brought home first place. "At first I couldn't believe it. Of course, it's a major confirmation of your daily work when you achieve something like this." And to follow on from this success, Marcel continues to work with all his energy on a daily basis at his cheese farm. "I set the bar extremely high for myself when it comes to my products."

The Sprinter as a milk transporter.

Marcel even looks after the transport of the milk himself. With his Sprinter 519 CDI 4x4, he drives to the dairy farmers in the Appenzell region to collect the fresh raw milk. The special refrigerated body provides the optimum conditions for this. In order to achieve as low a vehicle weight as possible, Marcel has had a tank installed directly on the chassis. The integrated refrigeration system of the tank ensures that the milk stays fresh on his rounds. The tank is designed such that it is easy to clean and that the milk doesn't freeze at higher altitudes. "I was able to uprate the Sprinter to five tonnes and so I have a greater payload available to me for transporting more milk at any one time. That's a massive advantage." Together with the vehicle supplier he determined the perfect load distribution. The tank was then positioned appropriately on the chassis.

Efficiency which pays. 

"I opted for the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter because the vehicle has a good payload. It means I can transport more milk per journey and that I don't have to drive as often because I can better utilise the vehicle's capacity."    

Specificities of transporting milk.

Fresh milk is a sensitive raw material. To ensure it doesn't turn sour during transport, various things need considering:

  1.       Gentle driving: pulling away and slowing down gently in order to keep agitation as low as possible.


2.       But if it is necessary to brake abruptly: waiting a while before pulling away again.


3.       Pre-emptive driving: if transporting a large quantity of liquid, the driving and braking characteristics change drastically.

Step-by-step to a world champion cheese.

The cheese is pressed in a cheese press. 

Individually tailored products.

The 1800 litres of milk which fit in the vehicle's tank are pumped off via the pipe. 

Be it on level or rough mountain roads...

Thanks to the all-wheel-drive system, Marcel can also reliably reach the most remote farms in the Appenzell region. 

Only the best is good enough.

Quality control is a top priority when it comes to making cheese.


Fabian Freitag

More links to discover:

Käserei Tobler – https://www.kaeserei-tobler.ch/, @Facebook

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