HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Swiss or Gruyere?

I'm making a bacon quiche and a ham and mushroom quiche.
What cheese do you recommend for each, and why?

thanks so much, happy holidays!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Anything with ham shouts "Gruyere!" to me -- same with mushrooms. I'd probably go goat cheese on the bacon (and add a little spinach) just for contrast.

    You do realize that there are very few wrong answers to this question, right? You're off to a good start -- Enjoy!

    1. I think Swiss cheese is an American generic for Swiss type cheeses. I had never heard of it in the UK before I moved here. Over the pond you would ask for Emmenthal or Gruyere (which I think might be French but I could be wrong).

      1 Reply
      1. re: smartie

        Swiss cheese in the USA is typically a large-eye Emmenthal like cheese. Gruyere is in the same family, but with small, almost nonexistent eyes. Depending on your store, you can get a variety of 'swiss' cheeses, whether the less expensive jarlsberg, Comte (very close to Gruyere), Emmenthal, etc.

        But beware that a European processed cheese (equivalent to 'american') is often labeled gruyere.

      2. I love swiss but gruyere is the best - go for it! I cook with it all the time

        1. do you want to use the same for both? gruyere is lovely for both.

          for me personally, i'd probably use gruyere for the bacon and jarlsberg for the mushroom. my "why" is simply that i like the pairing of jarlsberg with mushroom very much... gruyere is a little stronger, and i think it gets matched well by the bacon.

          but as chefbeth says, can you really go wrong either way?

          1. Another vote for gruyere, either way.

            Why not go nuts and add gorgonzola to the bacon quiche instead -- save the gruyere for the ham and mushrooms.

              1. I don't know what Americans might call "Swiss" cheese. Here in the UK, cheese would have a proper name rather than just a generic country name.

                I assume you're basing your bacon quiche on a quiche Lorraine - in which case I'd use Gruyere.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Harters

                  In the US, a 'swiss' cheese most likely is produced in Wisconsin or California or etc. Since these places also produce 'cheddar' cheese, etc., the name refers to a style, as opposed to a place of origin. Also the names originated long before the European 'place of origin' rules.

                  I don't recall seeing any domestically produced 'Gruyere'. As I wrote before, Swiss usually has large eyes. The cost of imported Gruyere tends to be twice, or more, than the domestic Swiss.

                  1. re: paulj

                    Thanks for the information.

                    If I've correctly understood the history, you're suggesting that the American reference to a style of cheese as Swiss, predates the UK calling Emmenthal, Emmenthal. You may, of course be right - I've no idea how long we've called cheeses by their proper regional names, although, of course, it is many many years. I've no idea what we might have called the many European cheeses that we import before that - perhaps we just called them all "foreign" :-)

                    1. re: Harters

                      My guess (and it is just that) is that the production of this type of cheese started in the US with German and Swiss immigrants, not the original English colonials. Particularly in the upper Midwest (states like Wisconsin) a large percentage of the population claims German and Scandinavian heritage.

                      There is, for example, a small town in southern Wisconsin called New Glarus, named after a conton in Switzerland, and founded in 1845
                      "Nicklaus Gerber, who moved from New York, started the first cheese factories in New Glarus, beginning with the area's first limburger cheese factory on a farm four miles (6 km) southwest of New Glarus. Later he started the first Swiss cheese factory in Wisconsin between New Glarus and Monticello[8]."

                      1. re: paulj

                        I suspect your guess is right. I would also doubt that the production of Swiss style cheese in America was originally undertaken by English settlers - not least because we have absolutely no tradition, then or now, of producing Swiss style cheese in the UK. I'd also agree production of Swiss style cheese in your country is likely to have been by people with a Swiss heritage.