Characteristics

Specifications

Origin of the name: The region of Gruyère, in the canton of Fribourg, Switzerland

 

Thickness: 9,5 to 12 cm. Alpage: 9 to 11cm 

 
Diameter: 55 to 65 cm. Alpage: 50 to 65 cm
 
Weight of a wheel: Between 25 et 40 kg (Ø 35 kg). Alpage: 20 to 35 kg (Ø 25 kg)
 

Eau: 34,5 à 36,9 %

 
A

Affinage (Maturation)

The slow maturation lasts between 5 and 18 months (if not more!) depending on the taste of Gruyère AOP wished. It takes place in a cave d’affinage (maturing cellar). The wheels of cheese are regularly turned over and brushed with salt water. 
 

Ammonia

The cave d’affinage (maturing cellar) gives off a strong smell of ammonia, characteristic of the maturation of Gruyère AOP.
 

Average nutritional value for 100 gr

Water:  36 g
Protein: 27 g
Fat content 32 g
Minerals: 5 g
Calories: 

1645kj/398kcal

Fat in dry mass 4 to 53%
C

Casein marking

This marking, used to identify each wheel of Gruyère AOP, is made with casein, a protein naturally found in milk. This technique gives each cheese wheel its identity and traceability.
 

Cheese dairy

Traditional expertise and craft are the hallmarks of all cheese-makers who produce Gruyère AOP.
 

Cloth

Hemp cloth used to press the cheese in the production of Gruyère d'Alpage AOP.
 

Cultures

Each cheese-maker elaborates his recipe for starter cultures, made from the previous day’s whey.
 

Curd

The cheese-maker pours the rennet into the milk. This makes the milk curdle, and this fine dense mass is called curd.
 
H

Heel marking

A marked steel sheet is inserted into each mold of Gruyère AOP, in order to emboss it with the denomination Le Gruyère AOP as well as with the number of the cheese dairy. This technique gives each cheese wheel its identity and traceability.
 
L

Land

Gruyère AOP has been recognized as AOP since 2001. This denomination is reserved for typical products, deeply rooted in a region, giving it a specific character and an inimitable flavor.
 
M

Maturity

According to the specifications, Gruyère AOP can be sold from 5 months.
 

Milk

Only raw milk from cows fed with natural forage (grass in summer and hay in winter) and without any additives or ensilage. The milk producers are all located close to the cheese dairy where they deliver milk twice a day, morning and evening. 400 liters of milk are required to make one wheel of Gruyère AOP.
 

Mold

A stainless steel or plastic mold is used. The curd is placed in it and pressed for 24 hours so that the cheese take a wheel form. For Gruyère d’Alpage, the curd is first put into a hemp cloth before being pressed. The denomination Le Gruyère AOP, as well as the number of the cheese dairy, is embossed in each mold of Gruyère AOP. The curd, cut into grains, is presented in this mold.
 

Morge (Smear)

Dampness helps this protective rind to form, during the maturation process, from the outside to the inside. 
 
O

Opening

The presence of openings is possible but not essential. The diameters of the holes can range from 4 to 6 mm. Small cracks are allowed if they are closed and isolated.
 
P

Pressed

Gruyère AOP is a pressed cheese, which means that the curd presented in the mold is pressed for almost 24 hours, with an applied force of up to 900 kilos!
 
R

Raw material and composition

Only raw milk from cows fed with natural forage (grass in summer and hay in winter), no additives, free from lactose.
 

Rennet

It is used to curdle milk, and contains an enzyme called chymozin, which is found in the stomach of young calves (rennet stomach).
 
S

Salt bath

As soon as they are out of the molds, the wheels of Gruyère AOP are immersed in a salt bath (called brine) at 22% concentrate, for 24 hours.

 

Shapes and appearances

A wheel of Gruyère AOP is round with a smeared, grainy, uniformly brownish and healthy rind. The outer edge, which is called the “heel”, is slightly convex.
 
T

Taxation

At four months, the wheels of Gruyère AOP are checked and taxed by a neutral commission, made up of experts of the cheese industry. They can display the name Le Gruyère AOP only after this taxation, if they meet certain specific criteria (opening–texture–outer appearance–taste).
 

Texture

The cheese is smooth to the touch with a slightly damp feel. It is soft, moderately firm and not very crumbly. Its solid ivory color varies according to the season.
 

Traceability

Each wheel of Gruyère AOP bears a casein marking with the number of the wheel and of the cheese dairy, as well as the manufacturing date. The marking Le Gruyère AOP, along with number of the cheese dairy, stand out on the outer edge of the wheel, called the “heel”.
 

Tranche-caillé (Cheese harp)

Once the milk has curdled, the cheese-maker cuts it with a cheese harp, until the granules are the size of wheat grains.
 
V

Vat

Gruyère AOP can only be produced in a copper vat.