The term alpage that is used to distinguish this Gruyere is an important word in the world of cheese. As with the terms farmhouse or fermier in France, the term alpage connotes a qualitative difference from other cheeses. Alpage means mountain pasture and when used to describe a cheese, it means that the milk is taken from the cow's only during the warmer months when the herd is able to graze on the wild flowers and grasses of the alpine pastures.
While the term specifically applies to the grazing area of the cows, in this case, it also means that the cheese is hand-made by a small producer in a small burron high up in the mountains. All of these factors come together in this cheese to produce a strong cheese offering a deeper, funkier Gruyere experience than most other Gruyeres sold in the States.
You could use this in your fondue, but we prefer it as the centerpiece of our cheese plate. Pair with toasted nuts and dried fruits.