Gruyere: Flavor-Full, Smooth & Sweet
Gruyere, is in fact many cheeses! Young and aged Gruyere, mountain Gruyere, summer and winter Gruyere, Gruyere from small village cheesemakers and from large commercial dairies. Depending upon season, source and age, the flavor and texture of each cheese are significantly altered. The rind is paramount in creating texture and flavor.
The basic recipe for Gruyere begins with about 130 gallons of fresh milk. The milk is poured into a large vat. The starter is added, and then the rennet. The milk is left to coagulate, which results in the milk looking like a big bowl of milky-jello, known as curd. The curd is cut into ½ inch pieces, before the cooking stage. As the curd is gently stirred, the temperature is raised by a few degrees every 2 minutes, until it reaches about 113°F. Then the temperature is raised by a few degrees every minute until it reaches 131°F.
At this point, the curd lies in a mass at the bottom of the vat. Cheesecloth is slid under the curd and the corners are tied and attached to a hook. The curd, wrapped in the cheesecloth, is lifted out and drained of whey. Then the wrapped curd is placed in a large wooden mold, which looks like a huge “spring-form” cake pan, and left to settle for up to 2 days. During that time it is turned and pressed frequently, and then rubbed with salt or immersed in a brine bath for a few hours. Salting is necessary for the flavor of the cheese and to create essential molds on the rind. The rind on gruyere style cheeses (as with all cheese) is paramount in creating the texture and flavor of the cheese.
Then as is the way with most European cheese-making, the cheese is handed over to an affineur (aging facility) that is responsible for the maturing of the cheese. During the maturing process each cheese is turned, rubbed and lovingly taken care of until it is sold (anywhere from 8-24 months).
Gruyere is good for cooking. It melts well — best done over low heat. Bu Gruyere is also excellent for just eating. It pares nicely with apples and pears.
Tasting Notes: Gruyere is typically aged for well over a year and gives Alpine Antique cheese an exceptionally full flavor. It’s got an incredible nose, and a dry texture, yet it s creamy on the tongue. Often one can taste hints of fruit and nuts and smell is delicate fruity aroma.
Experts all agree that the best wine paring for all three of these European cheese are red wines. What better way to ensure that you have the finest wines to go with your world-renowned cheeses that to have them shipped right to your door each month by Monthly Clubs. We offer internationally recognized wines — both reds and whites — chosen for its excellence, just as our cheeses are. For more information about our wine clubs (and our other offerings), check out www.monthlyclubs.com.
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