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STEPHANIE ZONIS focuses on good foods and the people who produce them.



March 2006
Updated July 2008

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Cheese-Butter-Yogurt

Melting Cheeses For Fondue, Cheese Sauce & More

Part 3: Gruyère


  • Click here for other months’ Whey To Go columns

This is Part 3 of a three-part article on melting cheeses. Click on the black links below to read the other parts.

Cheese of the Month: Gruyère

I usually select a company of the month, one that produces fine-quality cheese. But this month, I’ve selected a cheese. It is gruyère, the Swiss raw cow’s milk masterpiece that takes its name from a village in the canton of Fribourg. Gruyère is a firm yet pliable cheese in the semi-hard family. The natural rind gives way to an interior “paste” as it’s called, that is a creamy yellow with a dense texture and very small holes, or “eyes.” The beautifully complex flavor is often described as fruity, toasty, nutty, or even beefy, but this is a relatively strongly-flavored cheese. Although gruyère makes a terrific table cheese, it also holds up beautifully to heat, and is one of the classic cheeses for fondue (did you know that each canton in Switzerland has its own traditional fondue variation?). Gruyère is manufactured in mammoth wheels, sometimes weighing in at 80 pounds each!

Hoch Y Brig
Rolf Beeler is an almost legendary Swiss cheesemaker, and his Hoch Y Brig is the king of Gruyère (Rolf himself is called the Cheese Pope). It is one of the NIBBLE editors’ favorite cheeses.

If you don’t want to serve gruyère in a fondue, serve it with fruit, such as red apples, grapes, or pears, or perhaps with a good whole grain bread (it also makes for a magnificent grilled cheese sandwich). For alcoholic pairings, think about Alsatian wines (red or white) or a good Burgundy. Where can you buy fine gruyère? Murray’s Cheese (, Ideal Cheese (, and Zingerman’s ( are three reliable sources.

See our Cheese Glossary for more information about gruyere, Swiss cheees raw milk cheese, semi-hard cheese and cheese in general.

Gruyère Cheeses For The Table, Fondue & More

Rambol Appenzeller Emmental
Rambol. A creamy textured cheese from Annecy, France. It begins life as Gruyere de Comté, which is de-rinded, cooked, then slowly smoked over hickory coals. The result is a rich, delicate smoky fondue-style cheese that is spreadable at room temperature. Enjoy it melted or served with crackers and raw vegetables. Click here for more information. Appenzeller Reserve. Aged for six months and is treated with a spicy herbal brine. Appreciated by cheese connoisseurs around the world, Appenzeller Reserve is a delicacy on every cheese platter, delicious as a dessert or extra special in a fondue. Click here for more information. Cave Aged Emmental. A special taste experience! Unlike traditional Emmental, this one has a dark brown rind and a unique, nutty, full-flavored taste. Made in massive 200 pound wheels from pure, unpasteurized cow's milk, this special Swiss cheese is aged for at least 12 months in sandstone caves. Click here for more information.

Go To Part 1: Overview & How To Melt Cheese

Go To Article Index Above

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