Emmental Cheese: Origin, Flavor, Wine Pairing & Usage Tips


Popularly and commonly referred to as Swiss cheese in the US, Emmental cheese is a hard cheese that originated around Bern in Switzerland.

A traditional and unpasteurized cheese made from cows’ milk, this cheese is known for its mild taste, exquisite fruity aroma, and thin rind. 

Let us dive right into all that you need to know about Emmental cheese!

Overview and History of Emmental Cheese

The name of the Emmental Cheese comes from the Emme Valley, where it was produced for the first time, as early as 13th century, as claimed by several sources. While it started in the alpine pastures originally, it moved down to the valley and can be made anytime throughout the year.

Emmental cheese has come to be a staple in several different recipes, including sandwiches and fondue.

Emmental cheese is known for its walnut-sized holes.

It is considered one of the most difficult cheeses to produce, owing to the decidedly complicated hole-forming fermentation process. 

Is Emmental Cheese Gluten-Free?

Yes! Emmental cheese is non-GMO, lactose-free, and very much gluten-free as well. 

The original Emmental cheese is produced, usually in rural settings and small dairies, using raw cows’ milk. Only natural ingredients, such as natural starter cultures, salt and water, and so on, are used.

Note that animal rennet is also used, making Emmental cheese unsuitable for vegetarians. 

What are the Calories in Emmental Cheese?

For every 100 grams of Emmental cheese, there are approximately 383 calories.

Like all foods, and specifically cheeses, consumption in moderation is always strongly advised. While Emmental cheese is known for helping in the prevention of anemia, too much of it can also have negative effects such as inflammation, diarrhea, and migraines.

Enjoy, but in moderation!

Can You Freeze Emmental Cheese?

Yes, absolutely! Owing to being a semi-hard cheese, Emmental cheese actually holds up very well in the freezer, especially in comparison to softer cheeses such as Brie.

Just make sure to wrap the Emmental cheese very tightly and securely in either cling film or aluminum foil before you freeze.

Make it completely airtight. You can also use properly sealed airtight containers to store Emmental cheese in the freezer. 

Here is a helpful and thorough video guide to show you the basics of freezing cheese –

How Long Does Emmental Cheese Last?

If stored properly and carefully, Emmental cheese will last in the refrigerator for a good 3 to 4 weeks. 

Do know that with most cheeses, including Emmental cheese, the sooner you eat and/or cook it, the better. If the cheese develops an odd flavor, taste, or appearance, it is best to discard it as it may have possibly gone bad.

How to Store Emmental Cheese?

To make the most of the shelf life of Emmental cheese after being opened, wrap the original packaging securely with cling film, plastic wrap or foil. For even better results, you should wrap it first in parchment paper or wax paper and then cover it with plastic wrap before refrigerating.

For freezing purposes, be sure to use good quality airtight resealable bags after having wrapped the cheese very tightly.

It is also recommended to use airtight containers. 

Can Pets Eat Emmental Cheese?

Yes, most pets, especially dogs, can be given Emmental cheese, provided that it is in moderation. Also, make sure that your dog is not lactose intolerant. 

Emmental is a semi-hard and nutty cheese, which is usually filled with holes made by gas bubbles that are formed during the fermentation process.

As a ripened cheese, Emmental is known to have a low lactose content, and so is relatively safe to feed to dogs, but always in moderate amounts.

Best Substitutes for Emmental Cheese

A really good substitute for Emmental cheese is Gruyere cheese, which is also of Swiss origin and hence has a lot in common with Emmental cheese. Popularly used in fondue, sandwiches, and other such recipes, Gruyere cheese is also extremely versatile.

Here’s an excellent video guide on Gruyere cheese with all the reasons why not only is it an excellent substitute but also gives Emmental cheese a run for its money:

Best Wine Pairing with Emmental Cheese

Semi-hard cheeses such as Emmental go very nicely when paired with light red wines. Popular favorites include a Pinot Noir, a Beaujolais, a Lambrusco or a Barbera. Emmental cheese also pairs beautifully with a Chardonnay. 

Here is a video guide that tells you everything you need to know about how to best pair different kinds of cheeses with wines, especially those like the Emmental:

Best Recipes to Prepare with Emmental Cheese

The versatility of the Emmental cheese makes it an excellent addition to several different recipes, including sandwiches, quiches, fondue, casseroles, lasagna, and so on. Its delicious savory taste is a hit and goes well with so many dishes!

Here is an excellent recipe guide on making a delicious sandwich with Emmental cheese in all its glory.

Wow your loved ones with this easy-to-prepare and savory dish, a very popular favorite as the Swiss-style open sandwich:


Are there different varieties of Emmental cheese?

Yes, Emmental cheese is available in lots of varieties. For example, while the classic Emmental cheese is aged for at least four months, the Reserve Emmental is aged for close to eight months or more. There are also varieties aged for 14 months or more, all with their unique properties. 

In which other countries is the Emmental cheese made and popularized?

The basic process for the production of Emmental cheese is followed in most other countries and their dairy industries. Most notably, the Jarlsberg variety of the Emmental cheese is extremely popular, and of course, it is also popular in America as ‘Swiss’ cheese. 

Does Emmental cheese have any health benefits?

Yes! Studies have shown that the bacteria in Emmental cheese is really good for reducing inflammation to help with muscle aches and joint pain; it also helps in strengthening the body’s immune system so as to help fight infection and different diseases.

That said, always enjoy in moderation!

Summing Up

I hope this article gave you the information you needed to know about Emmental cheese! If you think you have anything to add to this, go ahead and drop a comment and get in touch with us! 

Do share this article with other cheese enthusiasts, and spread the cheese – I mean, cheer! 

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About Barbara Foster

Barbara is a traveler who has traveled to more than 25 countries. She loves the variety of food she gets to experience on her trips and maintains detailed journals of her travels which she plans to publish as a book someday. She loves to bake. Her favorite cuisines are Italian, French, and Mexican.