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!
We know that lots of you love drinking wine with our cheeses. We’ve already shared some great pairing ideas for our Red Wine Collection and White Wine Collection. Today we’re going to share something a little more unusual; beers to pair with our Beer Collection!
When pairing beers with cheeses, follow the same principles as a wine pairing. You’re looking for beers that will complement the flavor of the cheese without overpowering it. This collection should serve around 20 guests. Read on to find out which cheeses are included and how you can pair them with beer for a really fun evening.
Our Brick cheese is an American original from Wisconsin. It’s a medium-soft cheese with an easy crumble. Whilst this cheese had a sweet, mild flavor when it is young, it matures into a strong, ripe cheese.
To complement these mature flavors, look for a bold, fruity pale ale. This will stand up to the ripe cheese in the same way that a Sauvignon Blanc might. For a younger cheese, consider a Weiss Beer.
Gouda is a yellow cow’s milk cheese with a wax coating. It undergoes a process known as “washing the curd” which creates a sweet cheese with a slightly crunchy saltiness.
All of this makes it a very versatile cheese for drinks pairings. You’ll also find it in our White Wine Collection for this reason. One great choice would be Helles. This is a German, pale, lager-style beer with a smooth flavor. Alternatively, a beer with caramel notes such as a malty IPA would work well.
Gruyere is a sweet and nutty cheese, which develops a salty earthiness as it is aged from five months to up to a year. This gives it its slightly grainy texture.
Gruyere will pair well with a number of beers but one of the more unusual choices would be a porter. This a dark style of hoppy beer with brown malt. It’s full-bodied, with a roasted flavor that will complement the nuttiness of this cheese. Add a fruity relish for even more flavor.
Ohio Premium Swiss Cheese
Our Ohio Premium Swiss is made in Pearl Valley through a time-honoured process that gives this cheese its distinctive holes and a nutty, bittersweet taste.
A Weiss beer is a great choice for Ohio Swiss as it adds creaminess and complements through the sweetness. This is a beer made with malted wheat in place of some of the usual barley. It produces a beer with low bitterness and some fruity qualities. You could also try Swiss Cheese with a pale ale or craft lager.
Other great cheeses to pair with beers are Limburger or Beer Cheese. We stock both of these cheeses but have chosen not to include them in the collection as they both have a strong smell that might be imparted to the other cheeses in the box. Why not pick them up separately for the ultimate cheese and beer tasting?
Try our Beer Collection today, bring together some friends and have some fun with a cheese and beer evening!
Looking to celebrate with your loved ones this holiday season?
One of our favorite additions to a Thanksgiving or Christmas party is our Red Wine Collection. We’ve chosen a great selection of cheeses, perfect for pairing with red wines. This collection will serve up to 20 guests, so it’s perfect for those celebratory moments.
Read on to find out all about the cheeses included and the wines that will make them shine!
Asiago is an Italian sister of Parmesan cheese. It is aged anywhere from three months up to a year and will vary from semi-firm to firm. Its taste is similar to Parmesan, although its texture is less crystallized. It is delicious eaten with crackers and fruits, such as figs, pears, and plums.
Cabernet Sauvignon is flavor red wine choice to accompany your Asiago. The tanginess and salty, buttery qualities of the cheese will cut through the dark fruit, tannins, and spice of the wine. Alternatively, a Merlot can be an excellent choice.
Danish Blue Cheese
Blue cheeses are made with Penicillium cultures which create the blue veins this cheese is known for. They are aged in a temperature and moisture controlled environment to replicate a cave. Danish Blue is moderate in sharpness with a creamy finish.
Because of its depth of savory flavor, you will need to look for a sweet wine that works alongside the richness. flavor examples include a Port or Sauternes if serving cheese after dinner. For blue cheese based appetizers or entrées, a robust red such as a Shiraz or Syrah will work wonders.
Gruyere is a sweet and nutty cheese, which develops a salty earthiness as it ages. Originating in Switzerland, it is often used as the basis for a fondue. It is aged from five months up to a year, giving it a compact and slightly grainy texture.
Grenache or Syrah work well with Gruyere as they are not too rich and will allow the cheese to be the star of the show. For something a little more unusual, try a Cinsault. All of these fruity reds will blend with the sweetness of the cheese to create an exceptional flavor profile.
Another Italian imported cheese, Romano Pecorino boasts a firm texture with a fantastic saltiness. Made from sheep’s milk, it has a very distinctive flavor that is an asset to any cheese board. The cheese is pressed with a weight to remove all of the whey and then covered with salt. This imparts the incredible flavour that the cheese carries.
For a full Italian flavour, pair this cheese with a Chianti. This is a dry red wine with high acidity and plenty of fresh berries perfect for the salty flavor of this cheese.
To make this a really fun celebration we suggest picking up our Red Wine Collection, inviting friends and family over, and encouraging each of them to bring a bottle!
What are you waiting for? Try our Red Wine Collection today!
September 5th marked a day of celebration for America, and perhaps, even much of the world… because who doesn’t like pizza and cheese or both? Unknown to many is that September 5th is National Cheese Pizza Day. You know with the birth of smartphones and mobile apps came the phrase “…there’s an app for that”, well in similar light, if you love a food or, in this case, a combination of foods, a new axiom may take shape here, “…there might just be ‘National’ day for that”. A day that puts the focus of pizza and cheese, two delicious foods in and of themselves, but when together, spark a whole new revelation of culinary marvel… who would not love a day just to celebrate such a marvel? The answer should be simple… no one.
There has been an age-old question that continues to make the mind wonder and wander, that is… “Is there a perfect cheese to put on pizza?” Dr. Bryony James, a scientist whose research centers on food microstructure and food material science in New Zealand at the University of Auckland dove right in to find an answer the this question. Dr. James’ team of scientists study the building blocks of food and even experiment with structural composition of various foods that can influence its functionality. Ideally, their line of scientific research would allow them to develop a potential hypothesis for such an experiment. As the team began initial studies of the “best cheese for pizza”, they already knew that, historically, Mozzarella was highly favored and the most commonly used cheese for pizza topping.
Among countless scientific trials and experiments, the team researched cheese based on browning and blistering. These variable were designated as focuses of research as they were found to be the most looked upon features by consumers. Examining the properties, features and characteristics of cheese could potentially lead to further discoveries of the ideal cheese or in some cases, the ideal combination of cheeses to use on pizza. Other cheeses the group extended their research to was Cheddar, Colby, Emmental, Gruyere and Provolone. The actual experimentation itself was conducted by state-of-the-art technology, as opposed to human hands. As human judgment would have been idea over the work of a machine, it would have been far more time-consuming and brought the idea of a “bias” trial or opinions when bringing human emotion and interaction into the picture.
Of the properties of cheese that were measured for this experiment, smell, texture, melting properties and color were at the forefront. Researched revealed that some cheeses like Cheddar did not produce a favorable level of blistering while the likes of Gruyere did not properly brown after melting, which can be attributed to the oil content within the cheese. The results clearly indicated that although Mozzarella might be the traditional favorite cheese topper for pizzas, there might not be that “perfect” cheese or combination of cheeses, as each cheese’s characteristics and properties, when undergoing melting, might be desirable for one consumer, but desirable for another.
HISTORY OF GRUYERE CHEESE
Gruyere cheese has a history as rich and nutty as its flavor. This is a cheese so good and so fascinating that countries went to war over it! Yes, you read that right… war.
Gruyere’s identity crisis
Is Gruyere a Swiss cheese? Is it French? Is it Austrian? It is hard to know. Medieval peasants developed this variety of cow’s milk cheese as a means of survival. It was developed in the mountainous town of Gruyeres, Switzerland (making it Swiss Cheese by its geographic origins). However, since the town is so close to the Franco-Swiss border, there are many similar varieties of cheese, including Comte and Beaufort, that are made in France that still fall under the umbrella term of Gruyere. To complicate matters even further, there is yet another variety of Gruyere cheese that originates on the Austrian side of the Alps. The Austrian variety is similar to the Swiss variety in taste, color, and texture. Regardless of the country of origin, there is no doubting that this creamy, sweet, and nutty cheese is nothing short of spectacularly delicious. Cheese this good is worthy of a distinction all its own; perhaps it is best to simply refer to Gruyere as an Alpine cheese.
The Gruyere War
Few things bring about international disharmony more than cheese. This was one time when the Swiss absolutely did not remain neutral. Cheese makers in France and Switzerland went to battle for three years over which country made the best Gruyere cheese. Both countries claimed to have exclusive rights to the “Controlled Designation of Origin” for Gruyere. Since both varieties of cheese have distinctly different taste and appearance, this caused a problem. The French believed they deserved the distinction since their cheese was more widely recognized. The Swiss argued that the cheese is named after a region on their side of the border, and they had been making the cheese longer. The debate was so heated the European Union (EU) had to step in to mediate. The EU decided in favor of the Swiss since the origination of the cheese came from Switzerland.
The Gruyere timeline
Gruyere cheese has a long and storied history dating back many centuries. Here are but a few of the highlights of this storied cheese.
The 12th Century
The region of Gruyere has been producing their namesake cheese since the early twelfth century. The inhabitants of the area during that time found a way to produce the cheese from the excess milk that was produced by their cows. They were eventually able to sell their cheese to people in France and Italy.
The 17th Century
The seventeenth century brought with it official recognition of the regional name of the cheese. It was around this time that the exportation of the cheese began to take off. Since its popularity was beginning to grow, the concern for the protection of its origin also began to take root. But, not until the 1762 was the word that specified its origin entered into the dictionary of the Académie Francaise.
The 18th and 19th Centuries
During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, many people from the town of Fribourg, Switzerland immigrated to the Gruyere region. This movement extended the geographic production zone of Gruyere cheese to the neighboring villages of Vaud, Neuchatel, Jura, and some areas of France. However, there was no trade protection in place, and the cheese was often imitated. By the mid-nineteenth century, a campaign toward structuring trade and a fight for recognizing designation of origin was begun.
The 20th and 21st Centuries
Discussions regarding Gruyere cheese took place in Madrid in 1891, Paris in 1926, and Rome in 1930. The result of these meetings was an agreement to protect the denominations of goods and their origins. However, it was not until 2001 that Gruyere cheese was awarded “Controlled Designation of Origin” protection, which regulates the methods of locations of the production of the product in Switzerland. In 2011, it received the same designation for the entire continent of Europe.
Interesting miscellaneous facts about Gruyere cheese
A food with such a long and storied history must have some interesting facts about it, and Gruyere does not disappoint in that area. Here are a few interesting Gruyere tidbits to chew on:
The hole controversy
There is some international controversy regarding the presence of holes in Gruyere cheese. According to French agricultural law, French-style Gruyere cheese must have holes in it. However, in the Swiss varieties of Gruyere, no holes are present.
A cheesy faux pas
An old legend states that way back in AD 161 Emperor Antonin the Pious actually died of indigestion after eating too much Gruyere cheese. At least he went happy and satisfied!
Thankfully, today Gruyere does not carry with it so much controversy. All you have to do is enjoy it and Shisler’s Cheese House can bring the Gruyere experience to your taste buds with our own supply of the famed Gruyere Cheese. Stop in and pick some up today or order online here!