Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Trader Joe's Le Gruyere Switzerland Cheese
To be honest, I'm not sure whether I've had this before. As I looked at it in the store, I thought that I had tried TJ's Gruyere, but also that I had not tried any cheese wrapped in paper, as this one is.
When I got home, I looked in my archives and found a 2015 review of a very similarly named cheese: "Raw Milk Le Gruyere Switzerland Cheese." The newer one says "raw milk" on the label, but not in the name of the product, though looking back at the older one, it's not entirely clear whether "raw milk" is intended to be part of the product name as I interpreted it to be at the time. The new one says "cave aged," while the older one said, "aged over 120 days." And, as mentioned, this one is wrapped in paper, not plastic. I suspect it ships packaged as you see it here, while I suspect that the older one was sliced, wrapped, and labeled at the store.
So, are they the same product, just with a different label now? I'm still not sure. What I am sure about is that I didn't like this one as much as I did the one two years ago. But I can't be confident whether that is because it's a different product (perhaps a different supplier to TJ's), or because it's genuinely the same product but with substantial batch-to-batch variation, or because it's really virtually identical to what I ate before, but my tastes have changed.
Compared to my previous description, this one was much harder, drier, harder to slice, with more of a rind at both long sides. And its flavor was less mild and pleasant--stronger and earthier. I didn't mind it (I worked my way through the whole chunk in just four evenings of snacking), but it didn't jump into my list of favorite cheeses.
Will I buy it again?
Maybe. I'm curious to try another sample some day to gauge my reaction to it, and hope it's more like it was in 2015.