Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Emmental the familiar Swiss cheese with large holes, takes its name from that of the Emmen valley near Bern. Genuine Swiss Emmental is marked ‘Switzerland’ in red on the rind. French Emmental came into being when some Swiss cheese-makers crossed the border into France, taking their skills with them; it is not the same as the Swiss kind, but closely similar. Imitations of Emmental, which is widely regarded as the archetypal ‘Swiss cheese’, are produced in other countries.

Although cheese was being made in the Emmen valley in the Middle Ages, it is only since the 16th century that Emmental has been made in its present large size: around 84 cm (33") in diameter and weighing up to 90 kg (200 lb) or even more.