The Official Website of the State of West Virginia

Family revives tradition of Swiss cheese making in Helvetia, West Virginia


In a basement kitchen, a pot on the stove full of what looks like soured milk sat on low heat. Thrayron Morgan had her arm submerged in the liquid, and she was carefully cutting up the mixture with her hands.

“It just feels like oh goodness, like jello,” Morgan said.
But it’s not jello; it’s curds. And after a few more steps and some time, it would be a block of cheese.

Morgan is a third-generation descendant of Swiss immigrants. Her grandfather immigrated to Helvetia, West Virginia, from the canton of Bern in the 1870s when the community was just forming. Helvetia is a rural town nestled close to the Monongahela National Forest, and like Morgan, most of its residents can trace their heritage back to Switzerland. The town preserves and shares their culture and traditions through annual community festivals, including the famous Fasnacht festival held every February. You can sample Swiss dishes at the Hütte Restaurant and browse local goods at Swiss Roots, the community store.

Read more: