Lacy swiss cheese is sometimes mistakenly called baby swiss. Both cheeses are marked by smaller and more prevalent holes than the traditional swiss cheeses made in Europe, like Jarlsburg, Emmthaler, and Gruyere. Yet lacy swiss cheese is not a European cheese, and is instead an American product, with significant difference in taste and ingredients.
The number of holes in lacy swiss cheese vary, but overall, when the cheese is sliced its white to ivory slices look like pieces of lace. The main differences between lacy varieties and most other swiss cheese aside from appearance are ingredients. Like many swiss varieties, lacy swiss is made from cow milk. However, instead of being made from whole milk and occasionally cream, lacy varieties are made from lowfat milk.
The taste of lacy swiss differs from especially its European counterparts. Swiss may have mild, creamy and sometimes even sharp notes. You’ll notice this especially with cheeses like Gruyere and Jarlsburg. In contrast, lacy swiss cheese is mild, and bears more resemblance to cheeses like Monterey Jack and Provolone. It can have a very slight taste of nuts, but it won’t resemble the sharpness of the fatter cheeses. It’s a little softer than European swiss cheese, though it still slices well.
If you’re looking for that true swiss flavor in a dish, lacy swiss cheese is not the best choice. Especially if you’re planning to melt swiss in dishes like quiche, you need the sharper notes of Gruyere or Jarlsburg. On the other hand, if you’d like mild cheesy flavor without a lot of calories, lacy swiss may be the perfect choice. Consider using lacy swiss on deli sandwiches, to top hamburgers for patty melts (it melts very well, given its low fat content), or alone for excellent sandwiches.
One of the most popular manufacturers of lacy swiss cheese is Alpine Lace®, a division of the company Land O’Lakes®, which is also known for its butter. They typically make the cheese in loaves instead of rounds, and differences in calories make this a superlative choice if you’re trying to watch your waistline. The average serving of lacy swiss, sometimes sold as lowfat swiss cheese is one ounce (28.35 grams).
In this ounce, you’ll only consume 18% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of saturated fat. Sodium is low, representing only 5% of the RDA. Further, the 90 calories in an ounce give you a nice dose of protein, a whopping eight grams. Additionally, lacy swiss provides you with 25% of your day’s calcium needs.