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How does the cheese get its holes? - Emmentaler AOP Switzerland
Typically Emmentaler AOP

How does the cheese get its holes?

Emmentaler AOP is known not only for its unique taste, but also for its distinctive large holes. But how does the cheese get its holes?

The holes in the cheese are formed as the wheel of cheese matures. Wheels of Emmentaler AOP are first put in a fermentation cellar and are then allowed to mature naturally in a storage cellar for at least 120 days. The fermentation cellar’s temperature of about 19-24°C triggers propionic acid fermentation. This produces carbon dioxide gas that collects at various spots in the curds. The gas cannot escape because it is trapped by the rind, which is already solid. This is what causes the cheese’s distinctive, world-famous holes to form.

Emmentaler AOP owes its characteristic mild and nutty flavour to the propionic acid fermentation and the long maturing period. You can taste the results of the minimum four-month maturing period in many varieties, including Emmentaler AOP Classic, Emmentaler AOP Réserve, Emmentaler AOP Cave-aged and Emmentaler AOP Organic.

TLC for cheese

It takes a lot of tender loving care and many years of experience to perfectly mature our Emmentaler AOP. Once a week, each wheel is taken off its shelf and turned. Until about 50 years ago, the enormous wheels, which can weigh up to 120 kg, were still turned by hand. Today, some cheesemakers still do it that way, but most use a turning machine to help them, or have a fully automated system. Regular checks are carried out to ensure that the maturing in the fermentation cellar is going smoothly, and the cheese is rubbed down if necessary. In the humid cellar, which is where Emmentaler AOP URTYP® matures for seven of its minimum twelve months, each wheel of cheese has salt water rubbed into it every week.

An unmistakable taste

Emmentaler AOP is known the world over for its distinctive taste, its undisputed quality, its famous, characteristic holes and its authenticity.

Cheese aficionados enjoy Emmentaler AOP as a delicacy to add to the cheese platter, as an enriching addition to breakfast and as the perfect way to round off dessert. However, it can also be a tasty base for many hot and cold dishes. Discover the culinary versatility of Emmentaler AOP for yourself by cooking one of the recipes in our comprehensive recipe collection at emmentaler.ch.

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