L’Etivaz is a gruyere style of cheese that rebelled against the restrictions that are in place on gruyere cheesemaking. They believed the restrictions allowed for short cuts in the cheesemaking and in turn, created a compromised quality. So, in 1932 they founded a cooperative called L’Etivaz, a town in which the mountains they made the cheese and in which they all lived.
The charm of this cheese is within its traditions. Each wheel is still made in the alpine and only in the summer months from May-October.
Made in just over 100 dairies through the alpine region, the farmer is also the cheesemaker. Each cow is milked twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening. The morning milk is taken to be immediately turned into cheese; the evening milk is mixed in with the morning milk once the cream has been skimmed. The milk is warmed, set and cut the way it has been for hundreds of years over an open wood fire in large copper cauldrons and completely made by hand. Once made, the cheese is salted and remains in the alpine for up to 7 days before being transferred to a central aging facility in which all l’Etivaz cheese is matured. This communal facility took the pressure off the small producers and allowed them to continue with their craft.
Creamy and slightly milder than a matured gruyere, it has a slight fruity, nutty flavour with hints of butter and grass. Very traditional of this cheese style.
Milk: Raw cow
Region: Vaud, South-western alps
Producer: Cooperative L’Etivaz
Type: Apline-style, hard, artisan
Size: 20-50kg wheel
Maturation:Minimum 135 days
Texture: Firm, creamy and dense
Beverage pairings: A light, crisp red, Chardonnay, Chablis or a cider
Condiment pairings: Keep it simple with some fresh bread.
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