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Graviera, a Greek hard yellow cheese, resembles Swiss Gruyère but uses goat’s and sheep’s milk, known for its rich, sweet, buttery flavor.

Close-up of pieces of Greek ’Graviera’ a hard yellow cheese and a half spherical of it in the background and surrounded by dry branches of oregano

Graviera is a type of hard yellow Greek cheese. Its name is a corruption of the word Gruyère, the Swiss cheese that comes from the town of the same name.

Greek gruyère or graviera was first made in 1914 at Lapa Manoladas in the western Peloponnese by the cheesemaker Zygouris. This graviera was made according to the standards of Swiss gruyère with one major difference: goat’s and sheep’s milk was used instead of the cow’s milk used in Switzerland.

In the years that have passed, and with the intervention of Greek cheesemakers, its metamorphosis has reached completion, resulting in a radically different cheese to that of Switzerland. Today, there are many varieties of graviera coming from different parts of Greece. The major difference between the graviera of Naxos and that of other regions is that it is made from cow’s milk.

It is a cheese with a rich, sweet, slightly salty, buttery taste and has the pleasant aroma of milk. Its color is light yellow towards white with round holes.

Graviera is one of the main cheeses traditionally used for saganaki because it is a hard yellow cheese. The graviera is served plain or used in salads or grated in pasta or accompanying a good wine.

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