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We continue our exploration of cheese from around the world with a look at Gruyere today.
What is Gruyere Cheese?
Gruyere Cheese is a hard, yellow cow’s milk cheese. It is named after the town of Gruyere, in Switzerland, although some do maintain that it is a French cheese. It has a sweet but slightly salty flavor and often has a creamy texture. When fully aged, it has small cracks and a slightly grainy texture. It can have quite a strong smell because of the process that creates its rind.
It is one of our favorite imported cheeses and we know that many of our customers love being able to get hold of this Alpine cheese right here in Ohio.
How is Gruyere Cheese made?
It is made by heating raw milk in a copper vat, adding rennet and separating the curds and whey. The curds are placed into molds, salted in brine and smeared with bacteria. The cheese is then ripened for at least two months at room temperature, generally on wooden boards. The cheese is turned every couple of days to ensure even moisture distribution. It can be cured for up to 10 months and develops a more intense, almost earthy, flavor as it ages.
How should I eat Gruyere Cheese?
Gruyere Cheese melts very well. This makes it a great cheese for a fondue with white wine and garlic. Serve it with crusty bread, crudites and simply roasted potatoes alongside dipping forks for a fun sharing dinner with friends.
Because it melts so well, it is also an excellent cheese to incorporate into baking. Try it in your next quiche for extra flavor. Melt it onto small pieces of toast to eat with French Onion Soup or put it into a grilled cheese sandwich. Even better, make a Croque Monsieur by using gruyere and ham in a toasted sandwich. You could even incorporate it into bread dough before baking to create a cheesy bread for lunch or a picnic.
You could grate it to serve with pasta or salads, as it is not too overpowering. If you are serving it as part of a cheeseboard, try to include fruits such as pears, apples, and grapes. The sweetness of these fruits is excellent against the nuttiness of the cheese. Cut it into thin slices that your guests can enjoy.
It is also excellent for adding comfort to a dish of mac and cheese. Gratin dishes such as potato dauphinoise will benefit from some slices of the cheese, as would butternut squash or sweet potato dishes.
What should I drink with Gruyere Cheese?
Gruyere goes best with slightly sweet white wines like Chardonnay, Riesling, or dessert wines. These complement creamy, nutty nature of the cheese. You could also enjoy it with an apple cider or a glass of Bock beer. All of these will enhance the flavor of the cheese without overpowering its more delicate elements.
How do you like to eat Gruyere Cheese? Let us know in the comments!