Emmental Cheese

By Katrin Koelle
Updated on 01. Jun. 2020

This classic Swiss cheese's mild yet rich taste has been a European favorite since the 1300's.

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Emmental cheese...

  • ...is a good source of vitamin A. 100 grams of Emmental cheese contains around 290 micrograms of vitamin A, which supports healthy vision (especially in the dark!) and skin.
  • ...helps build muscles. Fitness fans should integrate Emmental cheese into their diet, as it contains a whopping 29 grams of muscle-strengthening protein per 100 gram serving.
  • ...helps strengthen bones and teeth. 100 grams of Emmental covers your fully daily requirement of calcium, a mineral integral in keeping bones and teeth strong.
  • ...is not harmful to children and pregnant women. Emmental cheese is stored for a long time before it is ready to sell, during which most germs such as listeria die off.
  • ...is very low in lactose. With only 0.1 grams of lactose per 100 grams, Emmentaler is usually well-tolerated even by people with lactose intolerance.

What You Should Know About Emmental Cheese

When people say Swiss cheese, they mean Emmentaler. This classic cheese comes from Berne, a city in Switzerland where  production can be traced back to the 13th century. Emmental cheese was the first and for a long time the only cheese that the Swiss exported abroad.

Today, Emmentaler is produced outside of Switzerland according to the old original recipe. The feeding and keeping of the cows is strictly controlled and only grass and hay may be fed to them. Additives of any kind are taboo. Every single one of the round loafs, which are about 80 to 100 centimetres in size and weigh up to 120 kilos, is checked individually. And the cheese may only be sold if its aroma, texture, perforations and appearance meet the high standards of the inspectors.

The reward for the effort is an elastic cheese with characteristic large fermentation holes, which are slightly moist on the inside when Emmentaler is just right. Connoisseurs call these small drops of water in the holes "the tear", and know that they stand for the very best quality. 

Origins

Genuine Emmentaler has its original home in the Swiss city of Bern.

Season

You can buy Emmental all year round.

Taste

Emmental cheese tastes slightly sweet and nutty, and are more spicy and piquanter the older they are.

Varieties

Emmental cheese must ripen for three months at minimum, although six months is the norm. The finest varieties can be ripened for more than a year. Genuine Swiss Emmentaler is considered mild when its been ripening for four months, is mature at eight months and labeled fully mature after a year.

Our Favorite Recipes With Emmental Cheese

Find all our recipes with Emmental cheese here.

How Healthy is Emmental Cheese?

Just 100 grams of Emmental cheese covers the daily calcium requirement for an adult, as well as around 290 micrograms of vitamin A, which plays an important role in healthy skin and good vision. Emmentaler can also contribute to a well-functioning nervous system: it contains about 10 percent of your daily requirement of magnesium plus several B vitamins.

Emmental has a very low salt content of 0.5 grams per 100 gram serving, making it a great cheese for those with high blood pressure. It's also extremely low in lactose, so much so that people with lactose intolerances can generally enjoy Emmentaler cheese without issue.

Emmental NUTRITIONAL INFO (40 percent fat)  (100 g)  
Calories 378
Protein 27.6 g
Fat 29.8 g
Carbohydrates 0 g
Fiber 0 g

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Purchasing

The genuine Swiss Emmental will have a Switzerland stamp indicating it was imported from the country. While it's not cheap, it's worth Emmental's delicious flavor is definitely worth indulging in for a special occasion. Traditional imported Emmentaler is available in most supermarkets. , 

Storage

Emmentaler does best in cool conditions, but not freezing cold. Therefore its best to keep it on a higher, warmer shelf in the fridge, preferably wrapped in coated cheese paper or a damp cloth.

Preparation

No preperation is needed when it comes Emmental.

What to Make With Emmental Cheese

Emmental is a classic star of any cheese platter, but also tastes great in cheese fondue, cheese sauces, on top of salads or in a cheesy caserole. Emmental's rich flavor is great on its own as well, enjoyed with a glass of French red wine.

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