You can have a real future with this cheese.
Bring her home to momma and start shopping for rings.
“Wait, didn’t you talk about that last week?”
“No, that was Comté, and you, sir, are ignorant.”
I’m just kidding, many people don’t know the difference. They come from the same family of cheeses, however, there are certain differences in the terroir and method that result in a distinctly unique product.
Once again, I’m going to express my curd nerd learnings from the Alpine class I attended last week. If it’s TLDR, skip to the paragraph after the last picture.
As their number one exported cheese, Gruyère is a the center of agriculture in Switzerland. Like Comté, the traditional process of making Gruyère is protected by the government. The cheese is made using historic, government-protected practices in the picturesque village of Fribourg.
Because of its wide distribution, Gruyère is a mass-produced product. The AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protegée) is a set of guidelines set up to ensure that if a cheese is labeled as “Le Gruyère,” it will have the same basic characteristics. “This is still Gruyère,” says Jonathan Richardson of Columbia Cheese, “but it’s not at the heart of what alpine cheese making is.”
I’m not highlighting just any simple Gruyére today, I’m talking specifically about the enchanting 1655 Gruyère. Columbia Cheese is an American cheese importer who provides our country with access to 1655 Gruyère, which is the standard for Gruyère cheese. This particular cheese is made using the milk from black and red holstein cows. These gorgeous ladies munch on a historic pasture with a variety of fodder consisting of 27 different species of herbs, grasses, and flowers. Their milk falls into the hands of Jean Marie Dunand, a master second-generation cheese maker. Dunand initiates the cheese making process using real, unadulterated animal rennet and a variety of cultures. The most important step in the making of Gruyère is the manipulation of the curd. It’s cut into a specific grain size that prepares the cheese for a long, stable aging. Once molded and pressed, the cheese is bathed in a salty brine which allows for the salt preservation of cheeses. The producers of 1655 Gruyère use only Sel des Alpes, a pure salt from a 200 million year old source continually rinsed with glacial water.
The resulting cheese is enchantingly addictive. When I worked at Pastoral, I had to slice this cheese for use on the sandwich bar. As I was slicing, the inevitable, unstoppable snacking occurred. I ate myself sick every time. The paste is paler than it’s cousin Comté; it’s like comparing a sexy goth chic who uses SPF 100 to a coconut-oil tanned porn star. They’re both hot, but in their own specific way. 1655 Gruyère has a smooth paste dotted with perfectly crunchy crystals. It’s sweet and nutty like salted caramel and almond toffee with a dirty funk that lingers on the palate. As you inch closer to the rind, the paste gains chew while mossy notes of mushrooms blossom and spread across the tongue.
1655 Gruyère is an exquisitely versatile cheese. It’s incredible for melting onto dishes or snacking on it’s own alongside onion jam, apples, or candied nuts. It brings out the best in a variety of beverages: malty pale ales, bright red wines, or full-bodied whites. Most importantly, it’s quite affordable, making it the perfect mainstay cheese to keep in your fridge for ever.