It’s nutty, pale yellow and firm… but does it have holes? That’s the searing issue in the Crikey bunker this morning.

It all started when Peter Beattie claimed our story about him planning to leave politics “has got more holes in it than five kilos of gruyere!” A Crikey reader who’s lived in Switzerland pointed out Beattie’s slip-up – gruyere doesn’t have holes. Well, maybe very, very small, pin pricks. We thought that was the end of it.

But then another reader who’s also lived in Switzerland claims that Beattie is right. So what’s going on?

A Google search by a helpful Crikey subscriber then informed us that, like many things, it’s not as straightforward as we first thought. Gruyere is actually made in both Switzerland and France, and despite sharing the same name, the cheeses are made differently. The confusing part is which one has holes – some websites say the Swiss version does, while others say the French one does. Encarta describes gruyere as “a hard Swiss cheese with occasional holes in it that has a mild nutty slightly sweet flavour,” while Wikipedia says: “When fully aged (three to twelve months) it tends to have small holes and cracks.” But take a look at, which shows more photos of gruyere than you can shake a cow’s tail at. We can’t see any holes worth mentioning.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey