A much-loved continental cheese, Le Gruyère AOP has been made for centuries with unpasteurised cow’s milk in the western cantons of the Swiss Alps.
A relatively young cheese, aged for six to nine months, its flavour is mildly toasty and sometimes nutty. It has a firm smooth texture and melts quickly on the tongue, which make it popular with children and others who dislike stronger cheeses.
Famed for its leading role in fondu, Le Gruyère is a brilliant cheese in the kitchen as well as on the cheeseboard.
What’s special about Le Gruyère
Production of Le Gruyère is heavily protected by its ‘AOP’ (Appellation d'origine protégée) designated status (like Stilton in this country). This guarantees its provenance and ensures that the164 dairies producing Le Gruyère adhere to the traditional methods and use raw milk.
The cheese is aged under very specific conditions at 90% humidity and 15° for six to nine months. During this time, the wheels are turned over and washed with salt water. The rind contributes significantly to the flavour of the cheese.
Le Gruyère in the kitchen
Le Gruyère melts brilliantly and is, of course, partnered with Emmental in traditional fondu. Yet it has many other uses in the kitchen. It will add a nutty flavour to macaroni or cauliflower cheese as a replacement or addition to cheddar; just be careful not to overpower the cheddar. It is delicious on toast and melted under the grill.
Le Gruyère is the traditional topping for French Onion Soup as it pairs well with caramelised onions. You could also try it melted in an onion quiche or flan.
Grate it onto cheese scone before cooking, onto puff pastry for the best cheese straws or in another French classic, Gougère, savoury choux pastry morsels.
Wine and Beer Pairing
Like other cheese, you want to look for drinks that complement the flavour and texture.
Le Gruyère pairs well with delicate fruity white wines and lighter reds like Beaujolais and Pinot Noir
More mature Gruyere can be well matched with full bodied reds like Bordeaux or even Rioja.
With beer try a malty German beer or wheat beer or even a well-hopped British Porter.
Types of Gruyère
Our Cheese of the Month is Le Gruyère AOP “Classic” - A relatively young cheese with mild flavours.
Le Gruyère AOP Réserve is matured for at least 10 months and has a more intensely aromatic character.
Gruyère AOP Bio is made from organic milk.
Gruyère d’Alpage AOP is Le Gruyère made only between June and September using milk from cattle which spend the summer months grazing the lush upper Alpine meadows and produce luscious rich milk that gives the cheese its aromatic flavour.