Like wine, the best cheese happens with time or age. This means that not all cheese that we buy at the store are created equally. To buy the very best, you need to know a few important things about the main types of cheese.
Becoming a cheese connoisseur is complicated, and it requires time, skill, expertise, and a good instinct to be able to tell the cheeses apart. You will also find that different cheeses come with diverse tastes and flavors. For example, some have a pungent aroma. To understand the different cheeses, start with the basics – the names! You also need to know how the cheeses look, how to eat them and more. Once you master the basics of cheeses, you will be on your way to becoming an expert.
Discover the Must-Know 7 Cheese Varieties
Named after the caves found in Val Taleggio, this soft cheese is covered by a thin crust. It is ripened in wood chambers in the autumn and winter. Sour milk is aged for about ten weeks, and once every week, it is cleaned with a brush dipped in seawater to prevent mold formation. Despite its strong smell, it has a mild and tangy fruity taste, it melts nicely and has a fat content of 48 percent. Raisins, lemon, nuts, and a few spices may be added to the cheese in the factory. It can be served with salads and with Nebbiolo wines from Italy.
Taleggio cheese is a must-know cheese for several compelling reasons:
- Unique Heritage: Taleggio cheese originates from the Lombardy region of Italy, with a history dating back over a thousand years. Understanding its cultural significance provides insight into the traditional culinary heritage of the area.
- Distinctive Flavor Profile: This semi-soft cheese offers a rich, creamy texture with a tangy and slightly sweet taste. Exploring its unique flavor profile allows cheese enthusiasts to experience a delightful range of tastes.
- Versatility in Cuisine: Taleggio cheese’s versatility makes it a staple ingredient in various dishes. From being used as a table cheese to enhancing gourmet recipes, its ability to adapt to different culinary applications adds to its appeal.
- Cheese Appreciation: By learning about Taleggio cheese, one gains a deeper appreciation for the intricate art of cheese-making and the craftsmanship that goes into producing such a fine product.
- Pairing Possibilities: Understanding the best wine and food pairings with Taleggio cheese opens up new gastronomic horizons. It complements a wide array of wines, fruits, and accompaniments, making it an excellent addition to any cheese board.
- Influence on Modern Cuisine: Taleggio cheese has also inspired modern culinary creations. Exploring its impact on contemporary dishes allows food enthusiasts to witness how a traditional cheese can shape the evolution of gastronomy.
- Expanding Cheese Knowledge: As an integral part of the cheese world, knowing about Taleggio cheese contributes to a well-rounded understanding of cheese varieties, and helps foster a deeper appreciation for the diverse world of dairy delights.
In conclusion, Taleggio cheese’s rich history, unique flavors, versatility, and impact on culinary traditions make it an essential cheese to know and appreciate for any cheese lover or food enthusiast.
This is the best cheese from Greece. It is called Feta if it comes from Greece, but if made elsewhere, it is referred to as white cheese.
Feta cheese is a must-know cheese for several compelling reasons:
- Ancient Origins: Feta cheese has a rich history that dates back to ancient Greece, making it one of the oldest types of cheese in the world. Understanding its origins and cultural significance provides a glimpse into the past and the importance of cheese in Mediterranean cuisine.
- Iconic Mediterranean Flavor: Feta cheese boasts a tangy, salty, and briny taste that is characteristic of the Mediterranean region. Exploring its unique flavor profile introduces individuals to a distinctive culinary experience.
- Versatility in Cooking: Feta is a versatile cheese that can be used in a wide range of dishes. From salads and sandwiches to pastries and main courses, its crumbly texture and bold taste add a delightful dimension to various recipes.
- Association with Healthy Eating: Feta cheese is considered a healthier cheese option due to its lower fat content compared to some other types of cheese. It’s often preferred by individuals seeking nutritious choices without compromising on flavor.
- Popular in International Cuisine: Feta cheese has become a global culinary sensation, finding its way into dishes from different countries and cuisines. Learning about its international popularity opens up opportunities to explore and appreciate various food cultures.
- Art of Cheese Preservation: Understanding how feta is traditionally prepared and preserved in brine showcases the art of cheese-making and aging, revealing the time-honored techniques used to create this unique product.
- Cheese Pairing Possibilities: Discovering the ideal wine and food pairings with feta cheese allows individuals to enhance their culinary experiences and savor the complementary flavors between this cheese and other ingredients.
- Culinary Creativity: Feta cheese has inspired countless innovative recipes and culinary creations. Its adaptability in both traditional and modern dishes highlights its ability to continuously influence and elevate the culinary world.
- Widely Available: Feta cheese is widely available in supermarkets and specialty stores worldwide. Familiarity with this cheese allows people from different cultures and regions to connect through a shared appreciation of a beloved cheese.
In summary, feta cheese’s ancient history, distinctive taste, culinary versatility, and health benefits make it a cheese worth knowing and incorporating into one’s culinary adventures. Whether you are a seasoned food enthusiast or a curious beginner, exploring feta cheese opens up a world of delicious possibilities.
Try it in this Turkey Breakfast Sausage Chilaquiles Recipe
This is one of the most popular cheeses in the UK. It has great flavor; it is very firm, and it is eaten with many foods including salads, soups, fruit and it can also be used in sandwiches. If you like, you can even eat cheddar cheese on its own to experience its robust flavor and silky texture.
Try it in this Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits recipe.
Cheddar cheese is a must-know cheese for several compelling reasons:
- Historical Significance: Cheddar cheese has a long and storied history, dating back to the English village of Cheddar in the 12th century. Understanding its origins provides insight into the development of cheese-making techniques and traditions over centuries.
- Wide Availability: Cheddar cheese is one of the most popular and widely available cheeses globally. Its popularity has led to its production in various countries, each offering unique variations, flavors, and characteristics.
- Versatility in Cooking: Cheddar cheese’s versatility makes it a staple ingredient in countless recipes. Whether melted on burgers, grated over pasta, or enjoyed on its own, its rich and sharp flavor enhances a wide array of dishes.
- Flavor Profile: Cheddar cheese is known for its distinctive taste, which can range from mild and creamy to sharp and aged. Exploring the different varieties allows individuals to discover their preferred flavor profiles.
- Cheese Aging: Learning about the aging process of cheddar cheese introduces enthusiasts to the concept of cheese maturation. From young and mild to extra sharp, understanding the impact of aging on flavor and texture deepens the appreciation for this cheese.
- Iconic Pairings: Cheddar cheese pairs wonderfully with a variety of foods and beverages. Discovering the perfect wine, fruit, and cracker combinations creates delightful gastronomic experiences.
- Cultural Significance: Cheddar cheese holds cultural significance in various countries and regions, often being associated with classic dishes and comfort foods. Exploring its role in different cuisines connects individuals to culinary traditions around the world.
- Artisanal Creations: Beyond the mass-produced versions, cheddar cheese can be found in artisanal and specialty variations. Learning about small-scale producers and their dedication to crafting exceptional cheddar cheese showcases the artistry behind its creation.
- Adaptable Uses: Cheddar cheese is not only a popular table cheese but is also used in cooking, baking, and as an ingredient in many recipes. Its ability to elevate and enhance various dishes makes it a versatile addition to any kitchen.
- Culinary Exploration: Understanding cheddar cheese broadens one’s culinary horizons, encouraging individuals to try new recipes and experiment with different flavor combinations.
In conclusion, cheddar cheese’s historical significance, versatility, wide availability, and distinctive flavor profile make it a cheese worth knowing and appreciating. From its humble beginnings to its global popularity, cheddar cheese has earned its place as a beloved and versatile staple in the world of cheese.
This is a Hispanic cheese that is made in Michoacán in Mexico. When it is aged, it becomes a crumbly cheese used as a garnish for different types of salads and foods. It looks like Feta cheese because it is white and salty when it is not aged. It is made from cow’s milk and an enzyme for ripening. It does not melt; it is primarily used in salads, tacos, casseroles, soups, pasta and many other foods.
Try it in this chopped Mexican Salad Recipe.
Cotija cheese is a must-know cheese for several compelling reasons:
- Mexican Culinary Heritage: Cotija cheese hails from Mexico and has a deep-rooted history in traditional Mexican cuisine. Understanding its cultural significance provides insight into the rich gastronomic heritage of the region.
- Unique Flavor and Texture: Cotija cheese offers a distinctively savory, tangy, and salty taste. Its crumbly texture makes it an excellent cheese for grating or crumbling over dishes, adding a delightful burst of flavor.
- Versatility in Mexican Dishes: Cotija cheese is a key ingredient in many beloved Mexican dishes, such as tacos, enchiladas, salads, and tamales. Learning about its traditional uses allows individuals to appreciate its role in authentic Mexican recipes.
- Cheese Pairing Possibilities: Exploring the best pairings with Cotija cheese, such as salsas, cilantro, lime, and various spices, allows for the creation of harmonious flavor combinations in Mexican-inspired dishes.
- Regional Variations: Cotija cheese comes in two main varieties – Cotija de Montaña and Cotija de Tierra. Each type has unique characteristics influenced by the region of production. Learning about these variations offers a deeper understanding of cheese diversity.
- Influence in Fusion Cuisine: Cotija cheese’s popularity has extended beyond Mexican borders, inspiring fusion cuisine that combines its distinctive flavors with dishes from other culinary traditions.
- Artisanal Production: Traditional Cotija cheese is often made by artisanal producers using time-honored methods. Exploring these traditional production techniques highlights the craftsmanship and dedication that goes into creating this unique cheese.
- Global Availability: Cotija cheese’s popularity has spread worldwide, making it accessible in many countries and allowing people from different regions to enjoy its unique taste and culinary applications.
- Impact on Modern Food Culture: Cotija cheese’s versatility and rich taste have influenced modern cooking, finding its way into contemporary recipes and culinary innovations.
- Culinary Exploration: Cotija cheese opens up a world of culinary exploration, inviting individuals to experiment with new flavors, dishes, and cultural traditions.
In conclusion, Cotija cheese’s Mexican heritage, unique taste and texture, versatile uses, and impact on culinary culture make it a must-know cheese for any food enthusiast. Whether you have a passion for Mexican cuisine or enjoy exploring new flavors, Cotija cheese is a delightful addition to your culinary repertoire.
This cheese is centuries old, with the people of Roquefort-Sur-Soulzon having been granted the monopoly for ripening the cheese in 1411 by King Charles VI of France. Today, it takes just five months to age this cheese. It was the most favorite cheese for Emperor Charlemagne and has been appropriately named the cheese for kings and popes. It has a salty, tangy flavor and is used in salads.
Roquefort cheese is a must-know cheese for several compelling reasons:
- French Culinary Heritage: Roquefort cheese originates from France and holds a special place in the country’s culinary history. Understanding its cultural significance provides insights into French cheese-making traditions.
- Protected Designation of Origin (PDO): Roquefort cheese has a PDO status, meaning it must be produced in a specific region of France using traditional methods. Learning about the PDO designation showcases the importance of preserving its authentic production.
- Distinctive Flavor Profile: Roquefort cheese is known for its pungent aroma and bold, tangy taste. The blue-green veins running through its creamy texture create a unique sensory experience for cheese enthusiasts.
- Traditional Aging in Caves: Roquefort cheese undergoes an aging process in natural limestone caves, which contributes to its distinctive flavor. Exploring this traditional aging method sheds light on the artistry of cheese maturation.
- Iconic Blue Cheese: Roquefort is one of the most famous and widely recognized blue cheeses globally. Knowing about this iconic cheese enriches one’s understanding of the diverse world of blue cheeses.
- Versatility in Cuisine: Roquefort cheese is a versatile ingredient used in various culinary applications. From gourmet salads and pasta dishes to dressings and sauces, its robust flavor elevates the taste of numerous recipes.
- Cheese Pairing Possibilities: Roquefort cheese pairs excellently with sweet and savory accompaniments like honey, figs, and walnuts, as well as wines like Sauternes and Port. Exploring these pairings allows for a delightful gastronomic experience.
- Appreciation of Cheese Aging: Understanding the aging process of Roquefort cheese introduces enthusiasts to the intricacies of controlled cheese ripening and how it affects the cheese’s flavor and texture.
- Artisanal Production: Roquefort cheese is often made by artisanal producers using traditional methods passed down through generations. Learning about these dedicated cheese-makers highlights the craftsmanship behind this exceptional cheese.
- Global Culinary Influence: Roquefort cheese’s bold taste and unique qualities have inspired chefs and home cooks worldwide, leading to its incorporation in various contemporary dishes.
In conclusion, Roquefort cheese’s French heritage, distinctive flavor profile, versatile uses, and influence on global culinary culture make it a must-know cheese for cheese lovers and food enthusiasts. Its iconic status in the world of cheese and its role in French gastronomy make Roquefort a delightful and educational addition to any culinary journey.
While the Mozzarella cheese is supposed to be made from the milk of water buffalos, what you buy from the stores today is mostly made from cow’s milk. Water buffalo is reared in just a few countries in the world, Italy and Bulgaria being two. This is one of the most popular cheeses in the world. It is made in Italy, and the one thing that has made it so accessible is that you do not need to age it. You can eat it fresh, as soon as it is produced.
Mozzarella is a must-know cheese for several compelling reasons:
- Italian Culinary Heritage: Mozzarella cheese has deep roots in Italian cuisine, particularly originating from the regions of Campania and Lazio. Understanding its cultural significance provides a glimpse into the traditional cheese-making practices of Italy.
- Widely Popular: Mozzarella is one of the most popular and recognizable cheeses worldwide. Its widespread consumption and use in various cuisines make it an essential cheese to know for any food enthusiast.
- Beloved Pizza Topping: Mozzarella is the classic cheese used as a topping on pizzas. Learning about its unique melting properties and how it contributes to creating that perfect, gooey pizza experience is a must for pizza aficionados.
- Fresh and Creamy Texture: Fresh mozzarella has a delicate, soft, and creamy texture that adds a delightful contrast to many dishes, making it a favorite ingredient in salads, sandwiches, and appetizers.
- Mozzarella di Bufala: Mozzarella made from buffalo milk, known as Mozzarella di Bufala, is a gourmet variety highly prized for its rich, distinctive taste. Exploring this specialty cheese offers a unique and elevated cheese experience.
- Versatility in Cooking: Mozzarella is incredibly versatile and can be used in various hot and cold dishes. From caprese salads to lasagnas, calzones, and paninis, mozzarella’s adaptability makes it a go-to cheese for cooks of all levels.
- Cheese-Pulling Experience: The famous “cheese-pulling” effect when melted mozzarella is showcased in dishes like cheesy pasta or baked dishes is a delightful visual and gustatory experience that many cheese enthusiasts cherish.
- Mozzarella Sticks and Fried Mozzarella: Mozzarella sticks and fried mozzarella balls are beloved snacks and appetizers. Discovering how to achieve that perfect crispy coating while maintaining the gooey cheese center adds to the appreciation of this cheese.
- Burrata: Burrata, a luxurious cheese made from mozzarella and cream, is a luscious, creamy delight. Understanding the process of making burrata and savoring its indulgent flavor is a memorable experience.
- Homemade Mozzarella: Learning how to make mozzarella cheese at home allows cheese enthusiasts to connect with the art of cheese-making and experiment with different flavors and textures.
In conclusion, mozzarella’s Italian heritage, widespread popularity, versatility, and unique characteristics in various dishes make it a must-know cheese for anyone interested in exploring the diverse world of cheese and culinary delights. Whether you enjoy it fresh, melted, or as a gourmet specialty, mozzarella offers a delightful and delicious journey into the world of cheese.
This is another of the great Italian cheeses that are aged to the tune of 3 years, but you can also eat it anywhere between 18 months and three years. The reason why many people love this cheese is that it can be applied in many ways. It is a versatile cheese. It is suitable for weight watchers because of its low-calorie content and high calcium and other minerals content.
Try it in this Tomato, Potato and Leek Gratin Recipe.
Parmigiano-Reggiano is a must-know cheese for several compelling reasons:
- Italian Excellence: Parmigiano-Reggiano, also known as the “King of Cheeses,” is a true representation of Italian cheese-making excellence. It originates from the Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy regions in Italy and is made following strict traditional methods that have been preserved for centuries.
- PDO Protection: Parmigiano-Reggiano has a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status, which means it can only be produced in specific regions using specific methods. Understanding the PDO protection highlights the importance of preserving the authenticity and quality of this cheese.
- Nutty and Savory Flavor: Parmigiano-Reggiano offers a rich, nutty, and savory flavor that intensifies with age. The cheese’s taste profile evolves throughout its aging process, making each stage a unique culinary experience.
- Versatility in Cooking: Parmigiano-Reggiano is incredibly versatile and can be grated, shaved, or eaten in chunks. Its robust flavor enhances pasta dishes, risottos, salads, soups, and countless other recipes, making it a staple in Italian and global cuisine.
- Age-Grading System: Parmigiano-Reggiano is classified based on its age, ranging from young (over 12 months) to extra-aged (over 36 months). Exploring the nuances of flavor and texture in each aging category deepens the appreciation for this cheese.
- Nutritional Benefits: Parmigiano-Reggiano is a protein-rich cheese that is also naturally low in lactose. It provides essential vitamins and minerals, making it a nutritious addition to a balanced diet.
- Grana vs. Parmesan: Understanding the differences between Parmigiano-Reggiano and other similar cheeses often labeled as “Parmesan” sheds light on the distinct qualities and authenticity of this celebrated Italian cheese.
- Aging in Aging Rooms: Parmigiano-Reggiano wheels are aged for extended periods, sometimes up to several years, in special aging rooms. Learning about these aging practices reveals the care and precision that goes into producing this exceptional cheese.
- Artisanal Production: Parmigiano-Reggiano is traditionally made by skilled artisans using time-honored techniques. Appreciating the craftsmanship and dedication involved in its production enhances the cheese’s value and allure.
- Global Acclaim: Parmigiano-Reggiano has gained international acclaim and is cherished by chefs, gourmands, and food enthusiasts worldwide. Knowing about its esteemed reputation connects individuals to a shared appreciation for culinary excellence.
In conclusion, Parmigiano-Reggiano’s Italian heritage, unique flavor, culinary versatility, and global reputation make it a must-know cheese for any cheese lover or food enthusiast. Exploring the intricacies of this revered cheese opens up a world of gourmet experiences and allows individuals to savor the essence of Italian cheese-making tradition.
Any of these popular cheeses at home. Start with Rennet for making cheese, an all-natural, organic dry powder used to set milk to make any cheese at home. Also recommended are cheese cloth bags, or this cheese making kit. If nothing else, try the cheeses mentioned above in your recipes and enjoy delicious flavors.