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Jul 28, 2013 11:05 PM

GRUYERE & GJETOST - Cheese Plate of the Month (August 2013)

Okay, other than having seven letters and beginning with 'G,' these two cheeses could not be more different, IMO.

Gruyère is sweet but slightly salty, with a flavor that varies widely with age. It is often described as creamy and nutty when young, becoming with age more assertive, earthy and complex.

I chose Gruyere because I truly love it and the many ways to enjoy it. I am hoping to get new ideas over the month.ère_...

I love the flavor/type/style of cheese that includes Swiss, Ementhaler, Jarlsberg, Raclette, and Gruyere cheeses. Of those, Gruyere is my favorite which is why I selected it as COTM for August 2013.

I went to Whole Foods today and picked up two different Gruyeres. I plan to stop at Trader Joe's tomorrow to see what they have to offer and then begin tasting away.

As i mentioned on the April-August COTM thread, my sweet mom just passed away. I chose Gjetost in her honor as it was her favorite cheese. She was not a cheese connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination, but Gjetost was her favorite cheese and it would give her joy to have others expand their horizons by giving her beloved 'peanut butter cheese' (as she called it) a try.

Gjetost is a brown Scandinavian goat cheese made from goat's milk. The cooking process turns the milk sugar into caramel, giving it a brown color and sweet flavor. Gjetost is a subtype of Brunost (literally translated, 'brown cheese.'

The brand of Gjetost most commonly sold in the US is Ski Queen. It can be found at Whole Foods and many other grocery stores (middle range to upscale). My favorite brand found in the US is Ekte Gjetost and can be purchased at Scandinavian stores and iGourmet.

Happy tasting!

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  1. I love this choice for COTM! I am quite new the Swiss family of cheeses as it's been one of few cheeses which I generally dislike in all forms. However, when I discovered Raclette cheese which might be my current favorite cheese, the cheesemonger at my local Whole Foods began suggesting other cheeses from the region. My first venture was Comte which I was shocked that I thoroughly enjoyed so it seemed perhaps I don't hate all Swiss cheeses. I had always assumed that Gruyere tasted "swiss-y" but decided to give it a try. the taste I had in the store of a an Emmi reserve was pretty good so I bought some to try at home. It was also very good. I found it to be fairly sharp and for some reason reminded me of Parmesan. I'd love to try more in this family and am interested to read the comments and thoughts posted here, although I still seem to hate anything labeled as "Swiss cheese."

    9 Replies
    1. re: fldhkybnva

      I'm with ya on the hating anything labeled as Swiss cheese! Just not my thing. And tangentially, can you imagine labeling something as French cheese or Italian cheese? But there are Swiss cheeses that are worth seeking out. I enjoy cave aged Gruyere which is much stronger. And on the other end of the spectrum, Jarlsberg is a lovely cheese in sandwiches, sort of a gateway Swiss if you will : -). It's always in our fridge.

      For me the key to enjoying gjetost is a cheese plane. The slices really need to be thin!

      1. re: grayelf

        Great point! I think the Gruyere I bought was the Emmi special reserve which I think might be aged but I'll have to check. Do you find it mellows when melted, when eaten raw I just kept thinking Parm which is odd. I can't remember if it was Jarlsberg, but it sounds familiar as something I've tried and remember a big hit of "Swiss." Now that I've discovered the others maybe I'll give it a try.

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          I'm not a huge fan of "Swiss" cheese, generally, as I find it has an unpleasant lingering sweetness I don't like in cheeses (guess gjetost is out for me).

          BUT, Gruyere's a different animal. If you can get your hands on some Chällerhocker, give it a shot. It is probably my favorite Swiss cheese these days. Very complex.

          1. re: linguafood

            Great, thanks for the recommendation. I'll be on the lookout.

          2. re: fldhkybnva

            I don't think it would mellow much but I don't recall ever melting cave aged gruyere as it gets eaten too fast, especially if my brother is around! I can totally see where you get a parmiggiano feel from it, at least texture wise.

            Jarlsberg is way milder (it's sometimes referred to as baby Swiss) than gruyere so I wouldn't say it's a big hit of Swiss. It has a nutty, sweet taste to it.

            Fun article on the "gruyere war" between Switzerland and France:

            1. re: grayelf

              Thanks, great article. The cheesemonger mentioned this debate but this is a nice article

              1. re: grayelf

                Try Cave Aged Gruyere or Gruyere des Alpages ( From spring milk ) and make fondue from it once, you will never go back.
                More expensive true, butr worth every penny.

                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                  I grabbed some Gruyere des Alpages last week and it's pretty good. It's earthy and has a sharpness that I can't really describe. I keep going back for more so I must enjoy it.

              1. re: jpr54_1

                Oh my gosh, thanks so much for sharing! It has never occurred to me to serve Gjetost any other way than with crackers or a hearty bread. I am sooo going to try this out on my family!

              2. On Thursday I headed over to the Carmel Cheese Shop which has provided some of the best condition cheeses I've enjoyed in this country. I asked if there was any younger Gruyere made from spring time milk. The reply was that Americans prefer older Gruyere (aged 6 months or longer), so no, not at this time.

                I'm wondering if this is generally true.


                2 Replies
                  1. re: jlhinwa

                    No idea. Was hoping somebody else could shed some light on this. Maybe the promotion of cave aged Gruyere has paid off and no one wants young any more.

                1. My Father-in-Law (a cheese maven, and an unexpected plus to my marriage) introduced me to the world of cheeses, including Gjetost. I still remember his advice: Slice the Gjetost really thin!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: DonShirer

                    That is excellent advice indeed. That's how I grew up eating it so it wouldn't occur to me to eat it the way I would other cheeses. But someone new to Gjetost would be in for an interesting mouthful if they ate a thick slice or cube!