Emmental takes its name from the Emme valley in the Swiss canton of Bern where cheese has been produced for centuries, traced back to 1450. The cheese is often called "The king of all cheeses", and simply on account of its size it produces a majestic slice.
Over the centuries, Emmentals have been manufactured by the herdsmen in the Senne Valley who spent the summers high up in the Alps with their cattle. They used their huts as dairies and transported the finished cheeses on donkeys down from the mountains to the various market places in the valleys.
Larger sizes to meet a growing demand
Back then the cheeses were not the same size as they are today; in the sixteenth century the herdsmen learnt to produce larger cheeses which could keep longer, allowing them to meet the growing demand for their products. Another reason for the large cheeses was that France imposed a duty per cheese on imported cheeses. There came a point where it became necessary to shift cheese production from the mountains to large and modern dairies in the towns.
Original Emmental cheese is manufactured in Switzerland, and bears the red “Schwitzerland” brand on the rind. Copies of the original Emmental cheeses are manufactured in virtually all cheese-producing countries. The Danish Emmentaler and Svenbo are examples of Emmental imitations.
Arla Emmentaler is made in Allgäu, Southern Germany.
Required characteristics of an Emmentaler Cheese:
- Country of origin: Switzerland
- A round eye cheese. Flat, round cheese with convex sides and a diameter of approx. 70-100 cm and weighing min. 70 kg. If rectangular with a height of 12-30 cm - and weighing min. 30 kg.
- Body and texture: The texture is hard and sliceable. The structure of the cheese is characterised by evenly distributed, smooth-walled, shiny holes 10-30 mm in diameter. It is not permitted to add spices.
- Taste: Aromatic, sweet, pronounced nutty flavour with some residual taste from the propionic acid fermentation. As the cheese matures the flavour becomes more pronounced.
- Maturation time: Min. 7 weeks when despatched from the production site.