Not only the name of one of the best known Swiss cheeses in the world but also a general name for large cheeses made in France e.g. Gruyère de Comte, Beaufort, Emmentaler.
Originating in Switzerland, this cheese is traditionally made from unpasteurized cow's milk that is heat-treated. The processed curds are formed in copper pots and after the cheese is produced it is aged into a firm dry cheese that is pale yellow in the center and slightly brown around the edges. Gruyère is usually aged 10 to 12 months before it is sold, providing a strong flavor that is somewhat fruity and nutty tasting. The smooth texture may be cut easily to use on crackers or in sandwiches. It is an excellent cheese for cooking as it melts well for use in a fondue, in mornay sauces, or in cordon bleu. As a dessert cheese it can be served with fruit or in cheese tarts. Gruyère cheese is much like Emmental cheese except that the holes in gruyere are much smaller than the holes found in Emmental and when heated, the density makes it remain formed rather than becoming stringy like Emmental. A few of the different varieties available include Swiss Gruyère, Grand Cru made in the U.S. and Gruyère de Comté made in France.