Asiago vs Gruyère: What’s the Difference?

There are many different types of cheese in the world, and it can be hard to know which one is best for your needs. Two popular cheeses are Asiago and Gruyère.

They both have their own unique flavors and textures, but which one is better?

In this article, we will compare Asiago vs Gruyère to help you decide which one is right for you.

Are they the same?

Asiago and Gruyère are both classified under Swiss-style alpine cheese, but they are not the same. Asiago is from Italy, while Gruyère is from Switzerland.

Their textures are also quite similar – both are smooth and semi-hard cheese. But Asiago often has tiny holes or eyes where Gruyère has few of them and is almost “blind”. Their flavors are quite similar as well – both have a nutty and creamy flavor, while asiago is slightly milder or mellower.

Flavor Profile and Feature

Asiago is a semi-hard Italian cheese made from cow’s milk. It has a flavor slightly milder than Parmesan and is often used as a replacement for it.

Gruyère is one of the most popular cheeses in Europe, also made from cow’s milk, but it is a surface-ripened cheese. And because of that, Gruyère can have quite a strong, pungent smell. While Asiago imparts a creamy and nutty fragrance.

Their taste differences are subtle. Gruyère tends to be more complex with an additional earthy and fruity taste. Whereas Asiago is a little mild with a soothing sharpness note.

Gruyère has slightly longer aging than Asiago due to the additional smear-ripened stage. Therefore, it’s usually sold from 6 months up, while Asiago can be sold as young as only 1 month old.

Production

Similar to asiago and Swiss cheese, the production of Asiago and Gruyère is very similar to each other. The raw unpasteurized cow’s milk is first curdled with rennet and starter culture. The coagulated milk is then cut and stirred, where the temperature is heated up gently – to around 47 °C (117 °F) for asiago while 54 °C (129 °F) for Gruyère.

For Asiago, the whey is then drained, curds are dry-salted and molded. Similar for Gruyère, but no whey-draining and dry-salting process.

The molded curds are then pressed under a hydraulic press. Gruyère is pressed for longer for 24 hours under the whey, while asiago is pressed for 4 hours with no whey.

After that, the curds are immersed in a salt bath for 2-6 days for Asiago, while only 1 day for Gruyère.

An additional step for Gruyère is constantly washing with brine and turning the wheel rind every couple of days. This process lasted for 2 months at room temperature (~15 °C).

Finally, the cheeses are moved to the maturation room for aging. You can read the full asiago production here in this article.

The Serve and Use

Asiago and Gruyère are both versatile cheeses that can be used in a variety of dishes. They can both be melted and used in sauces or on top of dishes. Asiago is also a great cheese for grating. Gruyère is a popular cheese for making fondue and Raclette.

Nutrition

Both Asiago and Gruyère are high in calcium and protein. They are also low in carbs (and lactose).

The Price

Asiago generally costs less than Gruyère. The imported Gruyère can be quite expensive where it can cost anywhere from $18 to $40. The high price is due to the extra labor effort in making this washed-rind cheese, longer aging duration, and also the limited supplies. In addition, some varieties are cave-aged.

Alternatively, you can find domestically made Asiago and Gruyère, at a much lower price.

The Verdict

Asiago and Gruyère are both delicious cheeses with a similar styles, flavors, and textures. They are both perfect for melting, grating, and cooking. Overall, Asiago is a little milder and younger than Gruyère.

Reference

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/food-science/surface-ripened-cheese
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gruyère_cheese
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU7ASp5TIGo