For the longest time whenever someone asked me what my favorite cheese was, I would deflect back to them just to make sure I got them what they really wanted. Now I take just the opposite approach. I'll scream it from the rooftops - "Gruyere is absolutely to die for!"
FYI - It's also the best cheese in the world! That's not coming from me. So says the World Cheese Awards, an annual event held in London, England where the Cave Aged Gruyere has won four times in the thirty-four years the event has been held. That's more wins than any other cheese has garnered so by that one metric, it is the best!
Our Gruyere is aged for one year in sandstone caves in Kaltbach, Switzerland which is near Lucerne where the Hadron Collider is speeding stuff up in hopes of revealing secrets of the universe. Good for them! At the end of the year I'm betting slow and steady wins the race. When that Gruyere emerges from its cave with its assertive earthy complexity, which would you rather have, secrets of the universe or orgasmic swiss cheese!
In all seriousness...when it's young, Guyere is sweet and salty and creamy and nutty. After a year in the caves the inherent saltiness becomes crystallized just as the creaminess becomes grainier. If you unpack the assertive complexity mentioned above, you may get carmelized apples, hazelnuts and brown butter. Nah, that's too textbooky. This stuff just plain funky. AND it goes with most any red wine worth its weight in Gruyere.
Along with being a perfect accompaniment with serious red (and white) wine, Gruyere is also an intrinsic part of the dinner table. It does well grated on salads, pastas, French Onion Soup, quiche and Chicken/Veal Cordon Bleu. Of course it is also part and parcel of traditional fondue.
Gruyere has been around since the thirteenth century and in 2001 it received its Appellation d'Origine Protegee. This is the European Union legal protection ensuring all steps in the production of Gruyere are consistent with its historic definition. This also defines the cheese geographically so France can no longer call its own version of Gruyere by that name. Gruyere is wholly Swiss!
Please join us here at the store on Saturday the 31st (Halloween) between 1 and 4pm when Dominique Chambon leads us in a tasting of some of his new French wines on the market. Please call 770-287-WINE(9463) to reserve your participation. I'm sure the Gruyere will be on the tasting table also!