Once upon a time, there were some men who had understood the inestimable value of their heritage. These men lived in Gruyère. At the beginning of summer, when the snow had melted in the mountains, they took their herds up to the pastures to graze on the rich green grass. They soon learned to turn their milk into cheese, a useful way to conserve the milk during the long winter months. They noticed that these wheels of cheese, referred to as “Gruière”, kept extremely well. As the months went by, and with the appropriate care, a handsome smear would form, acting as a natural protection around each wheel.
In around 1620, as the Thirty Years’ War raged on, France was hungry for cheese. Gruyère found glory in Lyon. Yet there were many obstacles on the path to the capital of Savoy, and many merchants lost their goods, or even their lives. Thanks to these brave men, trade in Gruyère had begun. Since then, merchants from Gruyère have lived on from one generation to the next.
And yet there is no question that they should leave Gruyère country. The wheels of cheese must stay near their place of production, Gruyère, to fully benefit from the ancestral know-how and regional spirit. This has always been quite clear to Fromage Gruyère SA, which was established in 1916. The cellars need to be situated close to the cheesemakers to allow the wheels of cheese to preserve their original character, in line with the tradition that represents the strength of the region. To this day, Fromage Gruyère SA, with more than 100 years of experience in the ripening of Gruyère AOP, continues to ripen Gruyère AOP in Gruyère.
This history is still very much alive in Gruyère. If you pay a visit to Gruyère, perhaps you will come across someone dressed in “bredzon”, the traditional local costume, in the town itself. Annual celebrations still take place when the cows are taken up to the pastures (“poya”) or brought back down again (“désalpe”). Gruyère AOP, ripened in Gruyère, bears witness to this legacy.