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FRENCH SWITZERLAND


Right: Outside La Maison du Gruyère cheese factory. Middle: Aged gruyère cheese being cut into pieces before being packaged and sold.


Bottom and far right: Worker in the La Maison du Gruyère cheese factory preparing the cheese in their molds.


SWISS CHEESE beyond the holes Story and photos by Alison Smith Swiss cheese is widely known in the United States as a


holey, strongly-odored sandwich topper or cartoon mouse- trap bait, but the story of Switzerland’s cheese and the people who make it is much more complex than many people realize. Gruyère is just one of the many types of cheese produced


in Switzerland and is named after the region from which it originally came. La Maison du Gruyère is just one of the 178 dairies in Switzerland that produces Gruyère cheese. The demonstration dairy, which sees 140,000 visitors a


year, is also home to an exhibition about the cheese-making process, a restaurant and a gift shop and is located right across the street from the main train station in Gruyère. The first demonstration dairy was built in the same


location in 1969, and the new building was opened in 2000. La Maison du Gruyères started in the early 1920s in another area in Gruyère. Once inside, visitors can take a tour and view the cheese-


making process from above. The exhibition, which started with the opening of the


new building in 2000, teaches visitors the process of cheese making, from what the cow eats to what a person tastes when they eat Gruyère cheese with all their senses. Visitors can smell everything from the fire crackling in the


barn to the clover the cows eat in the Alps every summer. Tourists can watch the cheesemakers working and taste samples of cheese at three stages of maturity. Each morning around 7 a.m. or 8 a.m., fresh milk from local farmers is added to the large copper pans in the factory.


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