What is the difference between Swiss cheese and Jarlsberg cheese?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

Swiss cheese and Jarlsberg cheese have some similarities in terms of consistency and texture, but there are distinct differences between the two.

1. Flavor: One of the main differences lies in the flavor profile of the cheeses. Swiss cheese, such as Emmental, typically has a mild and nutty flavor. On the other hand, Jarlsberg cheese has a sweeter and more pronounced nut-like taste. This difference in flavor can be attributed to variations in the cheese-making process, including the specific cultures used during fermentation.

2. Hole-formation: Both Swiss cheese and Jarlsberg cheese are known for their characteristic holes or “eyes.” However, the size and distribution of these holes differ between the two cheeses. Swiss cheese tends to have larger holes that are evenly spread throughout the cheese, giving it a more open and porous texture. In contrast, Jarlsberg cheese has smaller and fewer holes, which are often irregularly shaped. This difference in hole-formation can be attributed to variations in the fermentation process and the specific bacterial strains used.

3. Density and weight: When comparing Swiss cheese and Jarlsberg cheese, there are noticeable differences in density and weight. Swiss cheese tends to be denser and heavier, with a firmer texture. Jarlsberg cheese, on the other hand, is slightly less dense and lighter in weight. This variation may be influenced by factors such as the moisture content, aging process, and the specific strains of bacteria used during production.

4. Origin: Swiss cheese, as the name suggests, originates from Switzerland and is closely associated with traditional Swiss cheese-making methods. Emmental is a well-known Swiss cheese variety. In contrast, Jarlsberg cheese has its roots in Norway. It was developed in the mid-20th century as a milder and more versatile alternative to Swiss cheese. While Jarlsberg cheese was inspired by Swiss cheese, it has its own unique characteristics.

Swiss cheese and Jarlsberg cheese share similarities in terms of consistency, texture, and hole-formation. However, Jarlsberg cheese offers a sweeter and nuttier flavor compared to the milder taste of Swiss cheese. Additionally, Swiss cheese tends to have larger, evenly distributed holes, while Jarlsberg cheese has smaller, irregularly shaped holes. The density and weight of the cheeses also differ, with Swiss cheese being denser and heavier. Swiss cheese originates from Switzerland, whereas Jarlsberg cheese has its origins in Norway.