Swiss cheese the generic name for several varieties of cheese originally made in Switzerland. In the United States "swiss cheese" is an imitation of the Swiss Emmental or Emmentaler. Swiss cheese is a mild cheese made from cow's milk and has a firmer texture than baby Swiss. The flavor is mild, sweet and nut-like. Swiss cheese is known for being shiny, pale yellow, and having large holes (called eyes) resulting from carbon dioxide released during the maturation process. Cheesemakers can control the size of the holes by changing the acidity, temperature, and curing time.
Commonly known as "Swiss" cheese, Emmental originally came from the Emme River Valley near Bern. Emmental is one of the largest cheeses in the world, requiring 262 gallons of cow's milk for one 200-pound wheel of cheese. It is deep yellow in color and has holes the size of cherries, sometimes up to golf ball size. The scent of Emmental suggests meadows, raisins and wood fires. The flavor is strong and fruity with a mature woody finish. French Emmental has a slightly stronger taste that the Swiss variety. Emmental stands well on its own as a snacking cheese. It is fantastic in salads with mushrooms, cornichons, bell peppers and shallots. A Reuben would not be a Reuben without a slice of melting Emmental. Try a slice with apples or pears, rye, pumpernickel or sourdough breads, coarse mustard's, corned beef and sauerkraut. Fruity red wines such as Beaujolais, Merlot, Syrah or Shiraz are all good choices.
Baby Swiss~ pale yellow in color, it has a soft, silky texture with small holes, or eyes and is made from whole cow's milk. The flavor is mild, buttery, creamy and slightly sweet. It makes an excellent melting cheese for egg dishes such as omelets, frittatas and quiches. It complements ham, rye and mustard, as well as apples, pears, grapes cashews and corned beef. White wines such as Chardonnay or Viognier, or a red such as Pinot Noir are good choices.
Blarney~ Blarney Irish Castle Cheese is a natural, semi-soft part-skim cheese rather like a young Gouda. Available in red wax, it is aged for a minimum of 90 days. Smoked Blarney Irish Castle Cheese is a non-waxed variation naturally smoked over oak fires.
Comte~ Actually a member of the Gruyere family, the actual name is Gruyere de Comte. A round cheese with round marble sized holes, it has a tough and darkly colored rind enclosing a yellowish interior. Aged longer than Swiss Gruyere, Comte is a creamy, piquant cheese with a sweet, fruity flavor.
Jarlsberg~ is a cheese from Norway that is often subsituted for Emmental. It is made from full-cream cow's milk and is buttery rich, milk and slightly sweet.
Raclette~ a cow's milk cheese that is fantastic heated under a hot grill. The heat intensifies the full, nutty and slightly fruity aroma of Raclette. When grilled, the rind becomes crunchy and has a wonderfully savory flavor.
Tete de Moine~ Made from rich summer milk, the interior is firm and creamy to straw yellow, darkening as it ages. The flavor is sweet and tangy with hints of musty wood and nuts. It is the strongest of the Swiss Cheeses. A French counterpart is Girollin.
Contributed by DiB's
Season: available year-round
Matches well with: apples, pears, grapes, proscuitto ham, salami, fruity white wine, red wine, cran-raspberry juice, tomato juice, merlot, mustards, walnuts, potato dishes, eggs, cured meats. Breads: Rye, French, Sourdough and rustic crackers.