James Bond’s final lunch-time meal at Piz Gloria in the novel of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963) is necessarily on the heavy side: paté maison, followed by oeufs Gloria (eggs smothered in a mustard and cheese sauce), with a cheese tray to finish. Well, James Bond is preparing to make his escape from Blofeld’s alpine lair, and so is determined to get a bit of stuffing inside him. That said, we’re told that Bond toys with his cheese, so it seems he doesn’t have much of an appetite anyway.
What cheeses have been selected for the cheese tray are not specified, but presumably they include some of the famous cheeses of Switzerland. Gruyère and Emmental are probably a given, and there might also be slices of Appenzeller and Raclette.
Wishing to get a flavour of Bond’s cheeseboard, I popped into my local supermarket to purchase whatever Swiss cheeses it had on offer. This happened to be Gruyère and Emmental (naturally), supplemented by Fior della Alpi, a cheese made at Schwyz that’s ‘fruity and gently spicy with a subtle crunch and a unique character produced by lush mountain grass and meadow herbs’, according to the packet, and a chunk of Raclette.
I was especially pleased to find the Raclette. Although the cheese isn’t mentioned in the 1963 novel, it does appear in the 1969 film adaptation. Look closely in the scene where James Bond (George Lazenby) is pursued by Blofeld’s goons through the village festival below Piz Gloria, and you’ll see a stall selling Raclette. Traditionally, the cut edge of a Raclette wheel is melted and the cheese scraped over potatoes. Whether that’s what’s on offer on the stall is hard to tell, but it’s a possibility.
Incidentally, Gruyère and Emmental are the standard cheeses used in a fondue. There’s no evidence in the novels that James Bond ever indulges in a fondue, but the cinematic Bond may have done: there’s what looks suspiciously like a fondue set in his kitchen in Live and Let Die (1973).