Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

Comparison of Swiss hard cheese Gruyère-type produced in highland and lowland

This study compares the specificity and characteristics of two Swiss hard (Gruyère) cheese varieties manufactured at different altitudes: i) L’Etivaz cheese manufactured at L’Etivaz with 2 production sites (L’Etivaz 1 & I’Etivaz 2, 1300-2100 m), ii) Gruyère cheese manufactured Montbovon (1000 m) and at Grangeneuve/Posieux (600 m). These four production sites were studied during the summer 1995, from the beginning of June until mid-September. Observations were carried out at each site: botanical composition of the pastures, chemical composition of the grass, chemical composition of milk, cream and cheese which was ripened over 8-9 months, as well as sensory and rheology properties of cheese. The botanical composition was markedly different but the cheese production methods were similar excepted for milk heating (with open log fire producing some smoke in L’Etivaz or in steam heated vats in Montbovon and Posieux). All cheese loaves (n = 49) matured in the same ripening cellar under identical conditions. This study clearly highlights numerous differences of composition (fatty acids, triglycerides, trace elements, volatile components including terpenoids, polyaromatic hydrocarbons) as well as flavour between highland and lowland milk products.

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