What do the Swiss call Swiss Cheese?

I was just wondering if the Swiss call it Swiss cheese, too? If not, what do they call it? By the way, while we’re talking cheese, what is meant by domestic Swiss vs. imported Swiss? Or, are the terms simply self-explanatory?

  • Jinx


Okay, I think it’s actually “Swiss cheese”, even among the Swiss. Some subvarieties also have their own names, like “Gruyere”. I think.

What we call Swiss cheese is very similar to what is called Emmentaler in Switzerland. The U.S. government considers “Swiss cheese” and “emmentaler cheese” to be the same thing, but the Swiss may not agree. Gruyère is similar and also originally from Switzerland, but has smaller holes and usually a higher butterfat content.

Of course, the U.S. Government considers ketchup to be a vegetable for school lunches nutrition. I’d only like to see the White House follow that same practice… :smiley:

  • Jinx

Domestic Swiss is just Swiss cheese that was processed in the U.S., isn’t it? And imported is the so-called real stuff.

Off hand I’d say they don’t call it Swiss Cheese. The few times I’ve been there I’ve never seen it named as that in a supermarket. Also in many European countries, cheese is named byt it’s ‘preper’ name I guess. In France for example when you buy Swiss cheese when you buy Gruyere or Emmentaler and ask for it by thoise names.

Emmentaler is the variety commonly thought of as Swiss cheese, and the model for “domestic Swiss.” Gruyere is made in Switzerland, but just as when people say “American cheese” they are referring to a variety of cheese rather than its country of origin, Gruyere is normally not what is meant by “Swiss cheese.”

In America, is a cheese called Swiss cheese if it has holes in it?

Maybe by default (I can’t think of any cheese with holes other than Swiss and Baby Swiss), but having holes in and of itself does not define Swiss cheese.

Not quite, back in 1981 this was a proposed change. It never went anywhere.

Cite? Or are you just spewing typical ignorant garbage?

Hmmm… how old are you, Dogface? I only ask because the “Ketchup = a vegetable for school lunches” issue was one of the most memorable proposals to come out of Reaganomics.

It was proposed and then withdrawn. It was one of those silly things that the opponents picked on and made it into a banner issue.

Laws do that all the time. For the purposes of this act X is defined in a way which serves the purposes of what we want to do and nobody thinks the legislators are stupid. But they picked on that proposal like it was something out of the ordinary. The law is full of such things and that is one reason we need lawyers.

So the answer is that it did not happen but it almost did and in either case it was nothing out of the ordinary. Only people completely ignorant of how laws and regulations work would criticise it on the grounds that “everybody knows ketchup isn’t a vegetable”.

Well off the cheese topic, but note that ketchup actually has much higher levels of healthy antioxidants etc than your typical boiled-to-death school vegetables. Maybe Reagan wasn’t as dumb as he… oh, never mind.

Just to clarify. What we call “Swiss cheese” is clearly modeled on Emmenthaler, which from its name is probably made in a valley called Emmen. It has large holes and a characteristic flavor, which I have to admit I don’t much care for. Gruyere is made in the town of the same name, maybe 50 km SE of Bern and there is a demonstration factory in which you can watch the entire process. Anyway, it has small holes (sometimes almost none at all) and has a very different characteristic flavor and is my very favorite hard cheese. Not to be confused with processed Gruyere, which is… well, this is not the place for opinions, but it is more properly called a cheese product. Fondue is usually made with 50-50 Emmentaler and Gruyere, plus some white wine and maybe Kirschwasser.

I see. I had thought Emmenthaler and Gruyere were both subvarieties of what is commonly called “Swiss Cheese”, i.e. hard cheeses from Switzerland with holes.

I don’t know what the Swiss call it, but here’s how the US government defines it:


We usually call it by name, that means there is no “swiss cheese” per se here. As some have pointed out, Gruyere and Emmentaler are the most known variants. There exists an abundance of other sorts ,e.g. Appenzeller, Vacherin Fribourgois, Tilsiter… to name a few of the more important ones. Unfortunately most of these cheeses are consumed domestically and not much, if any at all is exported to the USA.

Many cheeses don’t even have a name as they are produced on small farms which do not output enough to warrant marketing. Those cheeses are mostly sold on markets or directly from the farm. For example my brothers girlfriends father has a farm and produces his own cheese. Hmm … delicious raclette cheese.

Unfortunately most cheeses labeled “swiss cheese” that you find are definitely just cheese flavoured chewing gum compared to the real deal. This is also true for non-original Emmentaler. Stupid as they were they didn’t protect the name for a long time so everyone could produce Swiss Emmentaler (Germany produces twice as much Emmentaler as Switzerland) and most of it is produced with pasteurized milk instead of fresh one.