Emmentaler is one of the most famous Swiss cheese. Its name comes after the Emme Valley (the canton of Bern), where it has been produced since 13th century. Maria, an ambassador of SUISSEPIC from Geneva, had a look into Emmental’s history and manufacturing traditions.
Emmentaler (or Emmental) cheese is made from fresh raw milk from cows that are fed only with grass and hay, no silage. By the way, it takes about 10-12 liters to make 1 kg of cheese.
Each cheese circle weighs about 75 kilograms (sometimes weighing 130 kg) and has a bright sharp-sweet taste.
By the way, Emmental, like Parmigiano, is of different endurance. It can be 5-10-12-30 months old. The last has a very interesting taste and texture! It is denser, drier, more tart to the taste, when breaking up, fractures characteristic of seasoned cheese appear, but at the same time, the very holes for which everyone loves Emmental so much remain.
A Shepherd’s Cheese
Emmental is Alpine shepherd’s cheese. They invented the original recipe of cheese. The milk is boiled in huge containers until the formation of clots, and then mixed, laid out in fabric bags and pressed under large flat stones. The cheese is kept under pressure for about 2.5 months, not counting the first month of ripening in a cool and damp room. If Emmental is given the status of Grand Cru, it means that he is made from raw cow’s milk (for one cheese circle you need at least 800 liters of milk) and matured in the cellar for a year and a half or more. Only such cheese carries the proud title of Emmental Grand Cru.
For ripening, the heads are stored in such conditions that the temperature in the room is 22-23 degrees. At such a temperature regime, bacteria begin to multiply vigorously, emitting carbon dioxide, which, passing through the thickness of the cheese head, forms “holes”. At the same time, the product is fermented – it acquires certain properties: taste, texture, color.
Emmental is beautifully preserved. In Switzerland, there are still legends about the found 120-year-old heads of this variety. And the cheese found was incredibly tasty due to the long exposure and its price was going through the roof. Finding a treasure in the form of the head of such a cheese is real luck.