Petit-suisse (meaning little Swiss) is a French cheese from the Normandy region.
Petit-suisse is a fromage frais; an unripened, unsalted, smooth and creamy cheese. It is made from cow's milk enriched with cream so that it has approximately 40% fat content. The cheese is then smoothed and drained in a centrifuge. A typical cheese weighs 30 grams, and is packaged in a cylinder approximately 4cm high and 3cm diameter.
Petit-suisse may be consumed with sugar, as a dessert with jam or honey, or salted and peppered with herbs. It is also used in meat stuffings. A mixture of petit-suisse and mustard is sometimes applied to rabbit to prevent the meat from degrading (falling apart) during cooking.
Contrary to what its name suggests, petit-suisse did not originate in Switzerland but in Normandy where, in the 1850s, a Swiss employee at a dairy in Auvilliers (Haute-Normandie) suggested adding cream to enrich the curd used for cheese.
Originally, it was sold in a thin paper wrapping and packaged in wooden boxes, six to a box. The cheeses weighed 60 grams each and were simply termed "suisse" (Swiss). Today, the cheeses are manufactured throughout France and sold as double petit-suisse (extra-small Swiss), petit-suisse, and the larger double-suisse (double Swiss).