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What is Gruyere cheese – Discover one of the best Swiss cheeses

  • 17 minutes read time

What is Gruyere cheese – Discover one of the best Swiss cheeses

Swiss cheeses are quite famous, especially for the iconic holes, but one of the best types of Swiss cheeses, they don't even have holes, which is the case with Gruyere cheese original from Switzerland.

what is gruyere cheese

Gruyere cheese is quite famous all over the world, mainly for its creaminess, made with cow's cheese.

Its flavor is quite characteristic, bringing a slightly sweet taste that makes it stand out from the others, as soon as it is tasted.

In today's article, we are going to tell you all about this delicious cheese, showing its history, flavor, nutritional information, the right way to eat and combine it, as well as many other relevant information.

If you want to know what Gruyere cheese is, you've come to the right place.

What is Gruyere Cheese

Gruyere cheese (the correct pronunciation of Gruyere is something like “gru-YAIR”) is a type of cheese with origins dating back to Switzerland. It is a soft-melting cheese made from cow's milk, normally aged for 6 or more months.

Being widely used around the world, whether consumed alone, with side dishes or as an ingredient in delicious recipes, such as Fondue, where Gruyere is used in partnership with another cheese, the Emmental cheese

Its name is a reference to the city of Gruyeres in Switzerland, however many confuse it with the French cheese of the same name, however the Swiss Gruyere does not have the holes that the French cheese has.

Its success was not only due to its taste, but also to its texture and creaminess. After all, not all cheese looks stickier when cooked.

Gruyere is ideal for recipes where the cheese used generates a pleasant and creamy result. The reason for this is the way Gruyere is made, which we will explain further later in this article.

gruyere cheese history

The History of Gruyere Cheese

The “discovery” of Gruyere cheese dates back to 1602, but the creation of this type of cheese dates back to the twelfth century in the year 1115.

At that time, the first Earl of Gruyeres, created a monastery, entirely dedicated to the production of Gruyere.

Bearing in mind that at that time there were no preservatives or refrigerators, cheese production was a matter of survival and to avoid wasting milk, after all, if milk was not used for the production of cheeses, it would go sour and would have to be discarded.

The first manufactured copies of the cheese classified as Gruyere were made in the mountains and pastures of Freiburg, however, its production was soon expanded.

With its success, the “envy” of cheesemakers took over the whole of Europe. Because of this, in 1602, cheese was made official, no longer just a food for the survival and food of peasants, to become a product that the wealthy wanted to buy.

Thus began the export of Gruyere across the continent, increasing the number of people trying to imitate the original recipe. Because of this success, in 1762 the Académie Française added the word Gruyere to its records.

Currently, Gruyere is one of the cheeses appreciated all over the world, being successful being consumed raw with other accompaniments or being a key ingredient in delicious recipes, which benefit from its flavor and texture.

The taste and texture of Gruyere cheese

The texture of Gruyere is slightly grainy, and although it is compact and dense, it is quite flexible. The flavor, at first, has a fruity flavor, later having hazelnut notes.

if you want to know what is emmental cheese, its distinctive flavor and texture then check out the guide we created.

what is gruyere cheese

What are the different types of Gruyere cheese

Gruyere AOP Classic

This is the classic gruyere, having a fruity taste with hints of hazelnut, soft and malleable. This type can be aged for approx. 6 to 9 months, that its flavor will be intensified during this time.

Thus, an excellent tip is to check the aging time, before tasting. This type of gruyere is widely used in fondues and croques monsieur.

Gruyere AOP Reserve

That kind of Gruyere it's darker than the classic, the reason for this is that the Reserva has at least 10 months of manufacture, and with that the cheese matures a little more, intensifying the yellow color and also the flavor.

Its texture is a little firmer than the previous one, being more brittle, with a visible grain and calcium crystals scattered throughout the cheese.

Experts classify it as a deeply complex cheese, being enjoyed alone or accompanied by wine, as well as being delicious as an ingredient in other recipes and/or melted to create sauces.

What is Gruyere Cheese

credits: cheeses from switzerland

Gruyere AOP Bio

That kind of Gruyere It is very similar to the Classic, both in texture and in flavor, being also aged between 6 to 9 months. That way, it has a more “youthful” flavor and a very soft texture.

The main difference between Bio and Classic is that Bio is produced only with milk that comes from farms with Bio Suisse regulation (an organic classification and regulation seal).

Gruyere d'Alpage AOP

It is a great snack or breakfast option that is packed with nutrients and will help satisfy your hunger. Plus, it’s easy to make and can be customized to your liking. Gruyere d'Alpage AOP, is a type of Gruyere cheese that is only produced between May and October, bringing a very complex demonstration that Gruyere creates as it ages.

Its nomenclature “d'Alpage” comes from the geographical region of origin of this type of cheese, being a specific area of alps around Gruyeres, Jura and the border between France and Switzerland.

In this region, cattle graze in the summer of the Alps, giving their milk a particularly different taste from the others, resulting in Gruyere d'Alpage AOP, presenting rich, spicy and fruity notes as it is aged.

Differences Between Gruyere Cheese and Emmental Cheese

Usually people tend to confuse both cheeses, and this may be due to the fact that both are very similar for a cheese unfamiliar 🙂

For those who know cheese, especially this two wonderful Swiss cheeses you will know right away that they are not identical. If we start with the most visible part, which is the shell, the gruyere has a browner and harder shell.

Then, when cutting the cheese immediately, we verify that the emmental cheese it has the famous holes, or as many call it, the “eyes”. In the case of Gruyere cheese, as a rule, there are no holes, however if they do appear they are very small.

When we taste these two cheeses, it is here that the difference in taste is very evident, gruyere has a sweet but slightly salty flavor and a very creamy texture.

Emmental cheese is very aromatic, sweet and deliciously intricate in flavor. Its flavor is nutty and slightly buttery, with a slightly fruity and acidic tone.

emmental cheese vs gruyere infographic

The nutritional value of Gruyere cheese

Nutritional information for each 100g of Gruyere cheese, are as follows:

nutrientsThe amount
calories413 Kcal
Carbohydrate0.36 g
Protein29.81 g
total fat32.34 g
Saturated fat18.91 g
monounsaturated fat10.04 g
polyunsaturated fat1.73 g
Sodium721 mg
Calcium1021 mg
B12 vitamin1.77 mcg
Omega 30.43 g
omega 61.30 g

Gruyere cheese is rich in vitamins and nutrients, among which we can highlight: Vitamin A, B12, B2, B3, B5, B6, B1, K1, E, choline, folate, calcium, zinc and selenium.

calories

The calorie content of Gruyere cheese is high, with 413 calories per 100 grams. Cream cheese contains almost 70% of fat and about 27% of protein.

carbohydrates

Gruyere cheese has only 0.36 grams of carbohydrates per 100g, which makes it a reduced source of carbohydrates.

Protein

Gruyere cheese is a dairy product with 29.81 grams of high quality protein per 100g. This cheese provides all the essential amino acids as a high quality protein.

Fat

Most of the calories in a serving of Gruyere cheese come from fat. 100g of cheese has 32.34 grams of total fat, being 18.91 grams of saturated fat, 10.04 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 1.73 grams of polyunsaturated fat.

More than half of the fat in Gruyere cheese is in the form of saturated fat.

While there is much debate about saturated fat, several studies have found that a diet high in saturated fats can increase bad cholesterol and therefore increase your risk of heart disease.

In the US, the American Heart Association recommends that people limit their consumption of saturated fat in between 5% to 6% of daily calories. By way of comparison, a person who is on a diet where he consumes 2000 calories a day should consume a maximum of 13 grams of saturated fat.

Vitamins and Minerals

Gruyere cheese is an excellent source of calcium, with 1021 milligrams of the essential mineral in each 100g portion.

One serving of this cheese also satisfies over 10% of the daily value of vitamin B12, phosphorus, and zinc. It is also a good source of vitamin A and selenium.

Gruyere cheese has 721 milligrams of sodium per serving of 100 grams. This amount is almost 30% of the recommended daily value of sodium intake. While sodium is necessary for the body's water balance, consuming too much can lead to high blood pressure.

According to good dietary practices in the US, it is recommended to limit sodium intake until 2300 mg per day.

what is gruyere cheese

Health benefits of gruyere cheese

Among the main nutrients in Gruyere, we highlight the health benefits of some of them, such as vitamin A, which has a high antioxidant power, vitamin D that works to increase immunity, vitamin B that helps in the health of the eyes, skin and hair.

In addition to these vitamins, we can highlight the calcium present, which accelerates metabolism, helping to prevent obesity and other weight-related diseases, in addition to preventing bone and cartilage diseases, such as osteoporosis. It's the zinc it's the selenium contained in cheese help in the functioning of the nervous system.

Looking in detail, these are the main benefits of Gruyere cheese:

Helps keep bones healthy

According to the National Institutes of Health, a significant number of people in the US do not consume calcium enough in their diets.

Adults need 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day. Calcium is an important mineral found in your bones.

Your body needs calcium to function properly. Calcium is also found in low concentrations in your blood, which regulates blood pressure and muscle activity. When you don't get enough calcium, your body extracts the necessary amount from your bones.

Gruyere cheese is rich in calcium, providing over 20% of the daily value.

Can protect the heart

There is some evidence to suggest that full-fat dairy products like gruyere cheese have a beneficial impact on your heart.

In fact, according to one published study in Advances in Nutrition, full-fat dairy products like cheese can help prevent heart disease.

According to the study, the health benefits of cheese may be linked to its health-promoting components such as protein, vitamins and minerals.

Of course, this essay also points out that it is necessary more studies to fully understand the link between full-fat dairy products and how they can promote heart health.

May reduce the risk of diabetes

The review in Advances in Nutrition also notes that full-fat dairy products may also protect against the development of type 2 diabetes.

Dairy products, which are still being studied, may help reverse diabetes by increasing the action of insulin, a hormone that transports sugar from the blood into cells.

Type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, which means the hormone is unable to do its job. Blood sugar levels rise when insulin stops working properly.

In addition, dairy products such as gruyere cheese can improve your body's use of glucose, particularly your muscles, helping to keep your blood glucose levels within normal limits.

Cheese's unique combination of protein, fat and carbohydrates can help your muscles use glucose more efficiently. (1)

Can help control weight

According to several studies, full-fat dairy products do not appear to increase weight gain or body fat. In fact, full-fat dairy products like Gruyere cheese can help people manage their weight.

So, and in line with studies, it is estimated that foods such as gruyere cheese can help you feel fuller and thus stick to your diet plan.

how gruyere cheese is made

How is Gruyere made?

Gruyere cheese has a long production process, divided into several stages.

The first part begins with the production of milk that will be used in manufacturing. But it is not just any milk, for the manufacture of the original Gruyere the milk used is that produced in Bern, Vaud, Jura, Freiburg and Neuchâtel, being placed in copper pots during two periods of the day, in the evening and in the morning.

in a second moment lactic ferments are added, which aim to mature the milk and also the rennet, which is a complete set of enzymes that are produced from the stomachs of ruminant animals.

after fermentation, the result generates an aromatic mass, with a characteristic smell, caused by the fact that the milk is not heated until this moment of preparation.

After that, the mass cutting process will be carried out, where the copper pans are heated at 57ºC for 40 to 45 minutes. After this time, the dough is placed in round molds, to give the characteristic shape of the cheese.

After the elimination of the serum, casein markings are inserted, bearing the identification, date and manufacturer of the cheese. The process is not over yet, after marking, the cheese is pressed for about 20 hours, by a force close to 900 kg.

The next day, the cheese is placed in immersion, staying about 24 hours in the brine. After that time, it is taken to the basement for about 90 days, so that its protective shell is formed.

After this period of about 3 months, the cheese is taken to ripening, where it needs to be kept in an environment with controlled temperature and humidity, at 15ºC and 90% of humidity.

Gruyere cheese maturation process

Maturation

Ripening, or curing, is the process to form the taste, aroma and appearance of the cheese in question. The maturation process of Gruyere lasts an average of 5 to 18 months, where during this time the cheese is turned and also brushed with brine.

After 4 months of maturation, the quality inspection of the product is carried out, to be considered a legitimate original Gruyere cheese, receiving the famous Le Gruyere Appellation d'Origine Protegée seal.

How to eat gruyere cheese

How to eat gruyere cheese

Gruyere cheese can be consumed even on its own, but the cheese is perfectly used in combination in many ways, among which we highlight a few below. Look!

Fondue

Gruyere cheese is widely consumed in the form of fondue. Generally speaking, fondue recipes are made up of 50% of Gruyere cheese and 50% of another cheese with a stronger flavor, with Emmental being the type most used in the recipe.

Croque Monsieur

This delicious French dish uses Gruyere cheese in its preparation. In two moments the Gruyere is used, both for the preparation of the béchamel sauce, and later, being placed on the slice of bread. In this recipe, the cheese is gratin, getting melted.

croque madame

Croque madame is very similar to croque monsieur, so it is clear that Gruyere cheese would not be left out of the recipe. With this, it is clear that Gruyere combines very well with sandwiches, bringing a taste that will make all the difference in preparations.

Rosti potato

Rosti is a typical Swiss dish that includes potatoes, bacon or pepperoni and lots of Gruyere cheese. It is considered a classic in Switzerland, being highly appreciated in the region where Gruyere was originally developed.

Onion soup

The traditional onion soup goes very well with Gruyere cheese as part of the ingredients.

with side dishes

Gruyere cheese is also very popular along with some side dishes, among which we can highlight: walnuts, smoked ham and dried fruits, such as dried figs.

Due to its sweeter taste, it also goes very well with fresh fruits such as grapes, pears and apples.

What drinks pair with Gruyere cheese

As Gruyere cheese has a sweeter taste, it will pair very well with some beverages, such as apple ciders, bock beers (which are darker and with a slightly sweeter taste) and also with white wines.

gruyere cheese recipes

Recipes That Include Gruyere Cheese

Now that we've told you pretty much everything about Gruyere cheese, it's time to see some recipes that use gruyere in practice. Let's go to them!

Croque Monsieur or Madame:

Delicious sandwiches that use Gruyere cheese in their composition, in an easy and quick recipe that you can make in a few minutes.

Potato Rosti with Pepperoni and Gruyere:

The delicious potato rosti uses Gruyere as one of the indispensable ingredients. In this recipe, with potatoes and pepperoni, the gruyere gives that refined touch.

How to make Homemade Fondue:

Perfect for winter and elaborate dinners, Fondue is pure class. In this recipe, you learn in a simple and easy way how to make the homemade version of this delicious dish.

Frequently asked questions about Gruyere cheese

In case you have any doubts, here are some answers to frequently asked questions about Gruyere cheese.

How to store Gruyere cheese?

The correct way to store Gruyere is to keep it in the fridge at a temperature between 1 to 10 degrees. Once opened, the cheese must be packed with papal film, and consumption must occur within about 20 days.

Gruyere cheese melts?

Yes, at the correct temperature it melts. It is even one of the best cheeses to be melted. Being one of the main cheeses that make up the Fondue.

Can you freeze Gruyere cheese?

Yes, but the period must not exceed 6 months.

Is Gruyere Cheese Bitter?

Gruyere cheese has a slightly sweet taste, so if it tastes bitter, it is possible that it is in the process of spoiling.

Is Gruyere cheese good?

Of course, defining whether something is good or bad needs to take into account everyone's opinion. However, Gruyere cheese is one of the cheeses that are appreciated around the world, being widely used in recipes and even to be eaten alone.

So it's pretty much a general consensus that cheese lovers will love the flavor and detail of Gruyere.

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