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Swiss Emmental (Emmentaler)

 

SWISS EMMENTAL (EMMENTALER)

 

Origin:

Switzerland - Bern (valley of the Emme river)

 

Type:

Partially skimmed cow's milk; unpasteurised; semi-firm; pressed cooked curd; brushed, oiled, natural rind - edible or inedible

 

Fat content:

45%

 

History:

There is evidence of Emmentaler being made in the 13th century. Originally it was only made in the high alpines, but because of a shortage of the cheese, during the 19th century, Emmentaler was also allowed to be made in the valleys.  The wheels then became larger. Since the 19th century, it is made in both the higher elevations and in the valleys in most of the German Cantons.  By the treaty of Stresa, of 1953, genuine Emmentaler can only be made in Switzerland. The rinds of Emmentaler made for export have the word "Switzerland" printed thereon.

 

Characteristics:

Smooth, beige to yellowish rind; pale, yellowish-tan paste; random proliferation of large holes formed during the aging process when the Propionibacterium shermanii bacteria previously added to the curd transform the lactic acid into carbon dioxide and cause the cheese to expand; mild, yet full, nutty flavour with characteristic savoury bite at the end.

 

Related Cheeses

French Emmental, Dutch Leerdammer, Maasdam.

 

Appropriate Wines

Light, fruity reds, such as Beaujolais or any Cotes-du-Rhone, light fruity whites such as French Aligote' and Mucadet

 

Bottom line

The world's most recognizable cheese - there are three varieties of Emmentaler:

The Classic, which is aged for between 4 to 8 months. 

The Reserve:  After 4 months of aging, the best wheels are selected for further aging for a minimum of 8 months. 

Des Grottes' or ‘Hohlengereiften', which is aged for a further 14 months in grottos.