What does gruyere cheese taste like? Does it taste familiar like most Swiss cheese, or does it have its distinctive flavor?
If you’re on this page, my guess is you’ve never tasted a gruyere cheese before. Or maybe you have but with something else. Maybe with a ham in omelets, fondues, sandwiches, pasta, or any baked dishes.
The point is, you’ve NEVER gotten the naked taste of gruyere cheese, but you’ve been hearing a lot about this cheese. Today puts an end to all of your guesswork because you will know exactly what gruyere cheese tastes like before your first bite.
That said, gruyere cheese has a mild, nutty, and slightly sweet flavor – although the flavor becomes more assertive, earthy, and complex as it ages.
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What Is Gruyere Cheese?
Gruyère cheese is Switzerland’s most popular cheese, originated from Gruyère – a small town located in a French-speaking region of Switzerland called Fribourg.
Gruyere cheese is a Swiss cheese made from whole cow’s milk. And it takes up to six months or longer to cure before distribution.
Unlike most cheese, we can say gruyere is a “semi-soft cheese” or “hard cheese” because it comes in five categories soft, semi-soft, semi-hard, hard, and extra hard.
We’ll discuss that later, but the hard Gruyère cheeses are pressed to remove moisture, preserved and aged. And they are more versatile compared to the softer versions.
But yeah, Gruyère cheeses are pale yellow with a couple of small holes. A natural rind also covers it, and the texture is dense during its youth but becomes flaky and granular during its adult stage.
This characteristic sets it apart from every other Swiss cheese, not to talk of its palate of vast complexity from young to old evolving flavors. And the cheese has made its way to not only the kitchens across Switzerland but beyond the country.
I mean, who doesn’t love Gruyere cheese, especially when grated over salads and pasta, or in Fondues, casseroles, and gratins?
Due to its incomparable versatility and distinct flavors. Anaverage of 30,000 tons are produced each year – you can imagine.
And even if it is the most consumed cheese in Switzerland, the manufacturer never sacrifices quality for quantity.
That is terrific!
Every wheel sold guarantees nothing short of the best-in-class quality.
What Does Gruyere Cheese Taste Like?
If you’re a resident of Switzerland and you’ve never tasted gruyere cheese, you have not truly lived. It is the go-to cheese for fondue but in everyday Swiss cooking.
The cheese has a full-bodied, fruity tone that slowly journeys towards earthy and nutty flavors with a firmer and crumblier finish. As you venture into eating Gruyere cheese, you will stumble across the four types, each with different flavorings.
You will come across the Gruyère Classic, Gruyère Bio, Gruyère Réserve, and Gruyère d’Alpage. Of course, all Gruyère is creamy, nutty, and melts wonderfully well, but depending on the length of the aging period and the climate during production, the flavor could be more or less pronounced.
But each cheese has its unique flavor yet can be used interchangeably in any recipes that call for Gruyere cheese. Although, the most common of them is the Gruyère Classic – the standard form of Gruyère.
It is aged from about six to nine months. The texture is ALWAYS soft with a mild flavor. Meanwhile, Gruyère Réserve is any Gruyere cheese older than on the other ten months. Unlike the classic, this Gruyère has a more intense flavor, and it is firmer and crumblier.
Gruyère Bio, on the other hand, is produced with organic milk. Although it tastes very similar to the classic, it becomes more full-bodied as it grows to maturity. Last but not least, Gruyère damage –the smaller, cloth-pressed Gruyère.
It is usually produced with the milk of mountain cows from mid-May to mid-October.
What Foods Taste Best With Gruyère?
All-day, we’ve been mentioning Gruyère on pasta, salad, sandwich, or Fondues, but that is not all there is. Gruyère is more flexible than you think.
Unlike most hard cheeses like Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano that aren’t considered a great melting option, Gruyère will swoop in and save the day.
Whether for cheese-based dishes, potatoes au gratin, quiche lorraine, and many classic recipes, Gruyère is the make-or-break ingredient.
For my French buddies, Gruyère can also be used for your French onion soup, as well as in croque-monsieur sandwiches or chicken and veal cordon bleu.
I love it grated atop le tourin. Although Gruyère doesn’t always have to be melted or paired, you can eat it raw on its own. But it is mostly paired with bread or on a charcuterie board.
Most cheese lovers prefer it with grapes and grains accompanied by either amber ales or brown ales. If you prefer it on wine, go ahead and through a few chopped Gruyère, as it helps give a fruity flavor.
Lastly, Gruyère Cheese is a true born hero — versatile and delicious enough to take on every meal of the day. But if there is one thing I truly love about this cheese, it does not have an overpowering taste. It just adds savoriness without overshadowing the other ingredients.
You’ve learned what Gruyère Cheese is, its origin, how it tastes like, and the different dishes it pairs with.
But where can you buy Gruyère, though?
I’m talking about a high-quality Gruyère. It is believed you will always get the best Gruyère in Switzerland without fail. But also Gruyère marked with the AOP seal outside of Europe is just as authentic.
Aside from that, you are likely to see wedges of Gruyère in most supermarkets in the gourmet cheese sections. But to get the special kind like the Gruyère classic, the Gruyère Réserve, Gruyère damage, or Gruyère Bio, it is best if you visit a cheesemonger instead.