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Gruyere , French Le Gruyère , in German-speaking Switzerland simply Gruyère is a semi-hard to hard Swiss hard cheese with a protected designation of origin (see the AOP section there ) made from raw milk from cows . In 2016, 29,136 tons of Gruyère were sold, around 14,900 tons of which in Switzerland. The most important export market is Germany (around 3,100 tons). Le Gruyère AOP is produced in Switzerland in a total of 165 cheese dairies and 54 alpine farms (as of 2016).


Cheese production in the Gruyère region can be traced back to 1115. In a document from that year by the first Count of Gruyères , donations of cheese to the abbey of Rougemont are mentioned. It remains to be seen what kind of cheese this was.

The use of the name Gruyère as a name for a type of cheese that may have been similar to today's Gruyère is first documented in 1602 when the government of Friborg offered the delegates of the French embassy fourteen loaves as a gift. This meant the cheese produced around the little Freiburg town of Gruyères .

Today the name Le Gruyère is protected as AOP in Europe. The Le Gruyère Switzerland brand is protected worldwide . The alphorn blower's logo, which is also protected, on a cut wheel of cheese belongs to the Swiss Confederation and is protected worldwide, although it is no longer used today. Le Gruyère AOP can only be produced in the cantons of Friborg , Vaud , Neuchâtel and Jura , the administrative districts of Courtelary , Moutier and La Neuveville and some Bernese municipalities that border the canton of Friborg. There is also a historically justified exception for 17 specific cheese dairies in German-speaking Switzerland.

The "AOP" of Le Gruyère is not recognized in the USA or in other countries. The name is therefore also used by producers in Eastern France, see Gruyère , here without the grammatical article, in Austria and as " Groviera " by producers in Italy. In the USA, the Roth company also produces a copy of the Gruyère; the Swiss major dairy Emmi AG has a stake in this company.


An affineur for quality control during ripening

The cheese loaves with a diameter of 55 to 65 cm and a thickness of 9.5 to 12 cm weigh between 25 and 40 kg (average 35 kg). The rind is slightly smeary-brownish, the dough is supple, medium-firm and not very brittle. Fine holes are desirable, but not essential. With a longer matured Gruyère, fine maturation crystallites can be felt on the tongue. The fat content is 49 to 53% in the dry matter .


The maturation ( affinage ) of Gruyère AOP is an important part of the production process. According to the specifications, a cave-like climate is prescribed for ripening. Ideally, the humidity is 94–98%. If the humidity is lower, the cheese dries out, and if the humidity is higher, the rind becomes greasy and sticky. The temperature is ideally between 13 and 14 degrees. These relatively high temperatures are only possible if the quality of the cheese is very good. Otherwise lower temperatures of 10 to 12 degrees are preferred. The lower the cellar temperature, the harder and more crumbly the cheese will be.


Le Gruyère AOP Bio (twelve months)

Gruyère AOP is available in different stages of maturity as well as in organic quality with the Bud seal and as an alpine milk variant ( Gruyère d'Alpage AIO ). The specification only stipulates a maturation of at least five months.

Maturity levels

The following terms have been used for the maturity levels:

  • mild / doux : at least 5 months
  • ripe / recent / salé : at least 7 months; partial distinction between
    • mi-salé : 7–8 months
    • salé : 9-10 months
  • surchoix / réserve : at least 10 months
  • extra-mature / vieux : at least 15 months

Cave-aged Gruyère

A special variant is the cave-aged Gruyère AOP, which is stored in a stone cave and matures optimally due to the naturally existing high humidity (up to 95%) and the low temperature (just over 10 ° C) (at least twelve months, three of which in the cheese dairy) and nine in the cave).

Le Gruyère Premier Cru

Le Gruyère Premier Cru wedge approx. 2.5 kg

A guaranteed mature Gruyère is Le Gruyère Premier Cru : It has matured for at least 14 months at a humidity of 95% and a temperature of 13.5 degrees. Another special feature is that Le Gruyère Premier Cru can only be produced and refined in the canton of Friborg.

It is the first cheese to win the title of “Best Cheese in the World” four times - in 1992, 2002, 2005 and 2015 - at the World Cheese Awards in London, the winner each time was a Gruyère Premier Cru from the von Mühlenen brand. At the 2006 World Championship Cheese Contest in the USA, a Gruyère AOP won the gold medal, which was made by Franz Jungo in the Struss cheese dairy in St. Ursen .

Individual evidence

  1. Annual report 2016 (PDF) of the variety organization Gruyère AOP, pp. 3, 4, 7.
  2. In the picture: Affineur Walo von Mühlenen
  3. Is this the best cheese in the world? The Telegraph, Nov. 30, 2015.
  4. Awards from the von Mühlenen brand. See English Wikipedia: World Cheese Awards , list of winners since 1988.
  5. Struss cheese dairy in St. Ursen
  6. ^ Gold for Emmentaler and Gruyère, March 24, 2006.

Web links

Commons : Gruyère  - collection of images, videos and audio files