Gruyère cheese

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Gruyère (UK: /ˈɡrjɛər/, US: /ɡrˈjɛər, ɡriˈ-/, French: [ɡʁɥijɛʁ] (listen); German: Greyerzer) is a hard Swiss cheese that originated in the cantons of Fribourg, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Jura, and Berne in Switzerland. It is named after the town of Gruyères in Fribourg. In 2001, Gruyère gained the appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC), which became the appellation d'origine protégée (AOP) as of 2013.

Gruyere alpage th wa.jpg
Country of originSwitzerland
Region, townCanton of Fribourg, Gruyères
Source of milkCows
Aging time5–12 months (typical)
CertificationSwiss AOC 2001-2013
Swiss AOP since 2013
Related media on Commons

Gruyère is classified as a Swiss-type or Alpine cheese, and is sweet but slightly salty, with a flavor that varies widely with age. It is often described as creamy and nutty when young, becoming more assertive, earthy, and complex as it matures. When fully aged (five months to a year), it tends to have small cracks that impart a slightly grainy texture. Unlike Emmental, with which it is often confused, modern Gruyère has few if any eyes,[1] although in the 19th century this was not always the case.[further explanation needed] It is the most popular Swiss cheese in Switzerland, and in most of Europe.[2]


Smoked Gruyère cheese

Gruyère cheese is generally known as one of the finest cheeses for baking, having a distinctive but not overpowering taste. In quiche, Gruyère adds savoriness without overshadowing the other ingredients. It is a good melting cheese,[3] particularly suited for fondues, along with Vacherin Fribourgeois and Emmental. It is also traditionally used in French onion soup, as well as in croque-monsieur, a classic French toasted ham and cheese sandwich. Gruyère is also used in chicken and veal cordon bleu. It is a fine table cheese, and when grated, it is often used with salads and pastas. It is used, grated, atop le tourin, a type of garlic soup from France which is served on dried bread. White wines, such as Riesling, pair well with Gruyère. Sparkling cider and Bock beer are also beverage affinities.[citation needed]


Rounds of Gruyère cheese on sale in a wholesale food market in France

To make Gruyère, raw cow's milk is heated to 34 °C (93 °F) in a copper vat, and then curdled by the addition of liquid rennet. The curd is cut up into pea-sized pieces and stirred, releasing whey. The curd is cooked at 43 °C (109 °F), and raised quickly to 54 °C (129 °F).

The whey is strained, and the curds placed into moulds to be pressed. After salting in brine and smearing with bacteria,[4] the cheese is ripened for two months at room temperature, generally on wooden boards, turning every couple of days to ensure even moisture distribution. Gruyère can be cured for 3 to 10 months, with long curing producing a cheese of intense flavour.

Legal protectionEdit


In 2001, Gruyère gained the Appellation d'origine contrôlée status. Since then the production and the maturation is strictly defined, and all Swiss Gruyère producers must follow these rules.


Although Gruyère is recognised as a Swiss Geographical Indication in the EU,[5] Gruyère of French origin is also protected as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) in the EU.[6] To avoid confusion, the EU PGI Gruyère must indicate that it comes from France and must make sure it cannot be confused with Gruyère from Switzerland.[7] It, therefore, is generally sold as "French Gruyère".

United StatesEdit

In 2021, a U.S. District Court ruled that the term "gruyere" had become a generic trademark[8] and thus that the Swiss and French Gruyère producers' associations could not register it as a trademark in the United States.[9][10]

Similar cheesesEdit

Γραβιέρα (graviera) is a popular Greek cheese, which resembles Gruyère and is an EU Protected Designation of Origin. There are Naxian varieties (produced from cow's milk), that tend to be milder and sweeter, and various gravieras from Crete, which are produced from sheep's milk.

Kars gravyer cheese is a Turkish cheese made of cow's milk or a mixture of cow's and goat's milk.[11] Gruyère-style cheeses are also produced in the United States, with Wisconsin having the largest output, and in Bosnia under the name Livanjski sir (Livno cheese).


The affinage cellar in the Maison du Gruyère, in Gruyères, Switzerland

An important and the longest part of the production of Gruyère in Switzerland is the affinage (French for 'maturation').

According to the AOC, the cellars to mature a Swiss Gruyère must have a climate close to that of a natural cave. This means that the humidity should be between 94% and 98%. If the humidity is lower, the cheese dries out. If the humidity is too high, the cheese does not mature and becomes smeary and gluey. The temperature of the caves should be between 13 and 14 °C (55 and 57 °F). This relatively high temperature is required for excellent-quality cheese. Lower-quality cheeses result from temperatures between 10 and 12 °C (50 and 54 °F). The lower the temperature is, the less the cheese matures, resulting in a texture that is harder and more crumbly.


Le Gruyère Premier Cru

Le Gruyère Switzerland AOC has many different varieties, with different age profiles, and an organic version of the cheese is also sold. There is a special variety that is produced only in summer in the Swiss Alps: the Le Gruyère Switzerland AOC Alpage.

Generally, one can distinguish the age profiles of mild/doux (minimum 5 months old) and réserve, also known as surchoix (minimum 10 months old). In Switzerland, other age profiles can be found, including mi-salé (7–8 months), salé (9–10 months), vieux (14 months), and Höhlengereift (cave aged), but these age profiles are not part of the AOC.

The French Le Brouère cheese, made in nearby Vosges, is considered a variant of Gruyère.[12]

Le Gruyère AOP Premier CruEdit

Le Gruyère Premier Cru is a special variety, produced and matured exclusively in the canton of Fribourg and matured for 14 months in cellars with a humidity of 95% and a temperature of 13.5 °C (56.3 °F).[13]

It is the only cheese that has won the title of best cheese in the world at the World Cheese Awards four times: in 1992, 2002, 2005, and 2015.[14][15]

See alsoEdit

  • Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in Rome, known locally as La Groviera (literally The Gruyère); so known because it is "full of holes", referring to the stereotype of a Swiss cheese.

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ Quimme, Peter (1976). The Signet Book of Cheese. gruyere texture cracks grainy.
  2. ^ Lortal, Sylvie, "Cheeses made with Thermophilic Lactic Starters", Chapter 16 in Handbook of Food and Beverage Fermentation Technology, 2004, CRC Press, ISBN 0203913558, 9780203913550, google books
  3. ^ "Cook's Thesaurus: Semi-Firm Cheeses". Retrieved Apr 9, 2020.
  4. ^ Fox, Patrick. Cheese: Chemistry, Physics and Microbiology. p. 200.
  5. ^ "Gruyère". European Union. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  6. ^ "Gruyère". European Union. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  7. ^ "Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 110/2013 of 6 February 2013 entering a name in the register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications [Gruyère (PGI)]". European Union. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  8. ^ Interprofession du Gruyère et al. v. U.S. Dairy Export Council et al., Civil Action No. 1:20-cv-1174 (E.D. Va. December 15, 2021)
  9. ^ Gross, Jenny (2022-01-12). "Is Gruyère Still Gruyère if It Doesn't Come From Gruyères?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-01-16.
  10. ^ Welch, John L. "E.D. Va. District Court Upholds TTAB Decision Finding". Mondaq. Retrieved 2022-01-16.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "10 Awesome Turkish Cheeses You Have to Taste | Go Turkey Tourism". Retrieved Apr 9, 2020.
  12. ^ Ridgway, J., Weinzweig, A., & Hill, S. (2004). The cheese companion: The connoisseur's guide. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Running Press
  13. ^ "Von Muehlenen". Retrieved Apr 9, 2020.
  14. ^ "von Mühlenen et Cremo SA concluent une alliance - Newsfox". Nov 20, 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-11-20. Retrieved Apr 9, 2020.
  15. ^ "Le Gruyère AOP Premier Cru crowned World Champion Cheese 2015". The Guild of Fine Food. Retrieved Apr 9, 2020.

External linksEdit