With its characteristic cylindrical and rounded wheel, the Emmental of Savoy is undoubtedly the most imposing of French cheeses. Made from the raw milk of breeds of Abondances, Tarines and Montbéliardes cows, this cheese with a great finesse has been recognized since 1996 by a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) guaranteeing its origin, quality and manufacturing process. It keeps its flavors typical of the favorable climate and the richness of the flora of its territory, at the origin of a milk of high quality.
The Emmental of Savoy is part of the great family of Gruyères, in which also counts the Beaufort and the County of the Massif Jurassien. Emmental comes from "Emme", name of a Swiss river, because the origins of this cheese are common to the Swiss and Savoyard territories.
The imposing size of the Emmental of Savoy comes from an ancient conservation tip. Since there were no means of preserving the peasants in the past, in order to conserve milk in large quantities, they had the good idea of making a large cheese. In this way they could add value to and conserve the surplus milk produced in summer, while consuming it in the form of cheese in winter, when milk, on the contrary, was lacking.
As for the typical holes of the Emmental of Savoy, they come from a reaction of refining, initially involuntary, but which was then perfected and cultivated to make this cheese really unique. It is the refinement in the hot cellar that triggers a fermentation process at the origin of the large openings, also called the eyes, in the dough and the bulging shape of the grinding wheel.
The beginning of the manufacture of the Emmental of Savoy goes back to the middle of the 19th century, when the cheese makers from German-speaking Switzerland to the east of France migrated.
The turn of hand of cheese makers of traditional fruit trees is still perpetuated today in small-scale production units.
Impressive, the wheels of Emmental of Savoy require 900 to 1,200 liters of milk for their manufacture and weigh on average 70 kg. The refining, which lasts more than two months, starts in a cold cellar and then continues in a hot cellar. This change of atmosphere allows the paste to take its beautiful yellow color and to adorn itself with its characteristics holes, called the "eyes".
The Emmental of Savoy tends to dry out in the refrigerator, which is why it should be wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in the vegetable bin.
As a great vintage that must be chambered, the Emmental of Savoy needs to be tasted at room temperature: take it out of the refrigerator ½ hour before consuming it.