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Named after the town of Gruyères in the Fribourg canton (similar to a district) of Switzerland, the Gruyère cheese is an Alpine cheese made with unpasteurized milk from cows fed only on natural forage. It’s pronounced “groo-YAIR,” and has been produced with the same recipe since the year 1115.
Gruyère is a hard cheese with an edible rind, and a pale-yellow interior. It has a smooth, creamy texture, and melts easily. It has a generally sweet and slightly salty taste, but its depth depends on its age. While young, it has a creamy, nutty flavor. As it gets older, its flavor becomes earthy, complex, and more assertive.
Because it’s an easy melting cheese, it’s perfect for cheeseburgers, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Use it for breakfast and make Gruyère waffles. It’s also wonderful grated over salads and pastas, and classically, it’s used in fondues.
You can also make a delicious Croque Monsieur:
Both Gruyère and Gouda are named for their place of origin— Gruyère in Switzerland, and Gouda in Netherlands. They look similar, and both are made with cow’s milk. They also taste similar—nutty, creamy and sweet. Although Gruyère is less overpowering when used in dishes.
Both are also great melting cheeses, but as Gouda ages, it gets better for grating instead. And Gruyère is gooier than Gouda. In fact, Gruyère is the gooiest cheese when melted, owing to the way it’s made.
Cheeses (except brined ones in jars) should be stored in the crisper or the butter drawer of a refrigerator, not on the shelves themselves. This is to help regulate their temperature and humidity levels—and prevents the formation of mold. Once opened, they should not be kept in their original packaging. Hard cheeses should ideally be wrapped in cheese paper after opening. An alternative is to wrap them tightly in parchment paper to allow them to breathe. Moisture is not as big a problem for hard cheeses as it is for other kinds, but don’t forget to write up a label with the date you first opened the package and to replace the parchment paper every time you open the cheese. Kindly pay attention to the best before date label when you receive your cheese. Consume prior to date indicated.