Provender Brown Perth Deli

Le Gruyere |The Swiss Tradition

Queen of the fondue pot, champion of the party snacks and the only cheese worth melting into your Croque Monsieur, it has to be Le Gruyere AOC.


Queen of the fondue pot, champion of the party snacks and, in our humble opinion, the only cheese worth melting into your Croque Monsieur and French Onion soup, Le Gruyère is undoubtedly the most delicious and versatile of Switzerland’s cheeses.  

Gruyère is a sweet, nutty flavoured cheese with a firm but supple texture which makes it such an ideal mate for emmental in a true cheese fondue.  In fact, it is delicious in many a sandwiches or toastie, wonderful whisked into mashed potatoes as a pie topping and chopped into small cubes, it makes the most decadent savoury scones and muffins.

What you may not know, is that there are several types of gruyère and all carry an AOP label, guaranteeing both the origin and adherence to strict standards of manufacture - so what makes them different?

The answer, is everything! From the milk producer, to the time of year of production, the cheesemaker, the affineur, the length of maturation, where the cheeses have been matured - caves or not; and which caves? – everything has an influence on the resulting cheese. 

We have chosen four different Gruyeres as our cheeses of the month for April 2023 so that customers can explore the range and discover for themselves the difference that each of these variables can make.

  • Emmi Le Gruyere AOP – a relatively young Gruyere, produced by Emmi (Switzerland’s largest milk processing company) and matured for a minimum of 150 days.  This is a cheese with fruity flavours and a definite tang.

  • Le Cret Gruyere AOP Reserve – Handmade in the mountains of the Fribourg region using fresh milk from eight local farms. Matured for 12 months, this unpasteurised cow’s milk cheese has a very complex flavour, full of sweet caramel notes and a rich nuttiness.

  • Walo Le Gruyere AOP Reserve – matured by renowned affineur Walo for a minimum of 14 months in the caves that have been used by the Von Mühlenen family for decades. The caves are warmer than others used to mature cheese. This ‘warm’ aging is key to achieving a deeper, more rounded flavour. During the maturation, the cheese crystalises to deliver an intense

  • Kaltbach Cave Aged Le Gruyere AOC Reserve - The Kaltbach Cheese Cave is unlike any other place in the world. 15 meters below ground, its horizontal layering allows water to slowly make its way down the walls rather than dripping from the ceiling like other caves. Kaltbach means “cold river”, referring to the river that runs through the cave; this helps maintain a humidity level of about 96% and a temperature of about 12.5 degrees throughout the year. This Gruyère has a floral nuttiness, a smooth yet dense texture with a slight flake and a pronounced crystal crunch.
Le Gruyere

What is AOP / AOC?

The Protected Designation of Origin (AOP) recognises a level of quality granted uniquely to products that are deeply rooted in a specific region. The AOP label guarantees the authenticity of products and the process of traditional know-how. It promises:

  • a tradition
  • a limited production zone
  • a name
  • a know-how and a history
  • a product

Le Gruyère AOP owes its name to the region of Gruyère, in the canton of Fribourg, in Switzerland and is made in the cantons of Fribourg, Vaud, Neuchâtel, and Jura, and in a few municipalities of the canton of Bern.

 It has been produced according to the same traditional recipe since 1115 and was granted its AOP on 6th July 2001 - this designation has been recognized at European level since December 2011.  Several other agreements protect the use of the name "Gruyère" in various countries throughout the world.

How Is It Le Gruyere AOP Made?

As we’ve explained, the production of Gruyère AOP is strictly specified and all milk producers, cheese-makers and affineurs (maturers) respect each of its steps to the letter.  Roughly speaking, there is a 10 step process.

  1. High quality milk - The cows which produce milk for Gruyère AOP are fed on natural, fresh grass in summer and hay in winter, with no additives or ensilage.

  2. Vat curdling - The morning milk is merged in the copper vat with the evening milk, which was left to settle all night. The cheese-maker adds starter cultures, made from whey, to mature the milk.

  3. Curd cutting and mixing - This curd mass is then cut into granules by big knives called “cheese harps” (tranche-caillé) and gradually heated up to 57°.

  4. Texture control - Once the heating temperature is reached and the granules are the size of wheat grains, the cheese-maker takes a handful of grains and carefully kneads them into a mass to check the texture.

  5. Moulds and markings - The contents of the vat are pumped out into round moulds marked on their outer edge with the inscription Le Gruyère AOP, along with the number of the cheese dairy.

  6. Salt bath and initial storage - The following day, the cheese-maker removes each wheel from the mold and puts them in a 22% concentrated salt bath - then begins the maturation at the dairy.

  7. Affinage in cellars - After three months, the wheels leave the cheese dairy to be stored in the caves d’affinage (maturing cellars) for a slow maturation process between 5 and 18 months.

  8. Taxation - At four months, the wheels are checked and taxed by experts of the Interprofession du Gruyère association, according to very precise and rigorous criteria. 

  9. Maturation - Gruyère AOP is a question of taste. Between 6 and 9 months, its soft and refined taste will delight palates in search of sweet pleasures. Starting at 10 months, Gruyère AOP Réserve has a full-flavored and aromatic taste, which will please lovers of aromatic subtlety. Some wheels will be matured up to 18, or even 24 months for lovers of strong sensations.

  10. Delivery - Delivery to Provender Brown for you, our lovely customers to enjoy!

Visit our Cheese Shop for the full range of Gruyere and more > 

Le Gruyere AOP Mac & Cheese

Elevate your mid week dinner with macaroni topped with grilled Le Gruyère AOP. Comfort food doesn’t get better than this. Serves 4.
  • 250 g Gruyère AOP - grated
  • 250 g macaroni
  • 100 g bacon
  • 35 g butter
  • 35 g flour
  • 3.5 ml milk
  • 1.25 ml half-and-half cream


  • In a pan, cook the pasta for a few minutes less than the time indicated on the packet (it will continue to cook in the oven). Drain the pasta and set aside in a large bowl.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • Mix the milk and cream in a bowl. Melt the butter in a large pan. Once melted, add the flour and stir continuously with a whisk. The mixture should be nice and thick.
  • Add the milk/cream mixture little by little, letting the sauce thicken each time. Season well with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat.
  • Add the grated Le Gruyère AOP to the béchamel sauce and stir until the cheese has completely melted.
  • Pour the Le Gruyère AOP mixture into the large bowl of cooked pasta and mix until all the pasta is covered in sauce.
  • Tip the pasta into a large ovenproof dish. Sprinkle the top with grated Le Gruyère AOP.
    Bake in the oven at 180°C (350°F) for 15 to 25 minutes (to your taste). Eat straight away!