Fans of P. G. Wodehouse will recollect a typical breakfast scene in novels featuring Bertie Wooster and his brilliant butler, Jeeves. Bertie extols the virtues of the coffee, attributing it to the fact that the milk came from contented cows. And what cows on earth could be more contented than the Swiss cows? Acre upon acre of rolling farmland,constant heavenly weather, blue skies and cheerful care-givers, their temperament not soured by heat, sweat or dust. Of such cows comes the milk that yields Gruyere cheese, that universally loved pedigree cheese from the Swiss stable. Remember the cartoonist’s typical depiction of a wedge of cheese peppered with holes in, say, Tom and Jerry? The holes, in the cartoonist’s fertile imagination, are usually large enough for Jerry to slip through and away from Tom’s grasping claws. However,the holes of a typical Gruyere rarely exceed the size of a pea, and are widely dispersed within the cheese. The flavor is rich and somewhat nutty. The cheese is also slightly salty, because it is a brined cheese. With its distinctive but not overpowering flavor, it is an excellent addition to quiches, soups, salads, and pastas. It can be sliced or grated, depending on the desired effect. Only cheese made in the Gruyere region of Switzerland can be labelled as such, with French relatives going by other names, including Comté and Beaufort. This region has been known for its cheese production since the 12th century. Down the ages, many wannabe Gruyere cheeses flooded the market. It was only within the last fifteen years that Gruyere cheese was granted both Controlled Designation of Origin (AOC) and Protected Designation Origin (AOP) status. The cows which produce milk for Gruyère AOP are solely fed on natural forage—fresh grass in summer and hay in winter, with no additives or ensilage. It would take a very finicky cow to be discontented, under these excellent conditions.
Le Gruyère Premier Cru is a special variety, produced and matured exclusively in the canton of Fribourg and matured for 14 months in humid caves with a humidity of 95% and a temperature of 13.5 °C (56.3 °F). It is the only cheese that has won the title of best cheese of the world award at the World Cheese Awards in London four times: in 1992, 2002, 2005 and 2006.
We in India are gradually becoming more discerning with regard to cheese. Instead of a brand-based categorisation of all cheeses, we now know our Gruyeres and our Parmesans. Here are some refreshing ways in which we can use Gruyere instead of the ubiquitous Cheese Toast:
1. How to make Gruyere cheese:
A charming video which brings the whole process to life. Unless we know someone who owns a cheese farm,sourcing the culture and other ingredients might be difficult, so this video may be purely of educative value.
2.Quiche with Spinach and Gruyere Cheese:
The health benefits of spinach, combined with the beauty and health benefits of Gruyere, coupled with great taste. Mmmm, Popeye’s coming to dinner.
3. Classic Cheese Fondue:
Fondues are always great conversation starters at parties. Even if there are any awkward moments, you can count on a fondue to tide them over. He who dips into this fondue with me, becomes my friend. And fondues are not at all difficult to put together. A well-made fondue, nestling in a pretty pot, can be the piece de resistance of your table. Watch how this one is made -it’s sure to floor you.
4.Omelette with Mushroom, Sherry and Gruyere Cheese:
Are you giving a bored yawn and saying, “What’s new about an omelette?” Well, the self-styled kitchen witch shows you how to give your everyday omelette a more interesting twist, with the addition of mushrooms basted with sherry and our cheese of the moment.