Glossary of Popular Cheeses

Listed below is a glossary of popular cheeses by texture (hard, semi-hard, semi-soft, and soft). The glossary is not meant to be inclusive of all cheeses that are currently popular, but it does contain most of the specialty cheeses mentioned in this report. The information was collected from http://www.cheese.com.


HARD CHEESES

Anejo Enchilado:
Country of Origin: Mexico
Milk: Goats Milk
This cheese is not as strongly flavored as Cotija, but can easily be shredded or grated. It is commonly used as a topping or stuffing for enchiladas, burritos, and tacos. Enchilado Anejo has a mild and slightly spicy flavor. It has a red, spicy coating with a white interior. Enchilado Anejo has a hard and dry texture. The cheese softens but does not melt under heat.

Asiago:
Country of Origin: Italy
Milk: Cows Milk
Asiago is made in the region of Vicenza and Trento. It is a traditional, farmhouse and creamery, unpasteurized hard cheese. Originally made of ewes milk, now is made entirely of cows milk. There are two types of Asiago: first one (mistakenly taken for Pressato) is a lightly pressed cheese made from whole milk matured for 20-30 days. Another one (Asiago dAllevo) is the mature cheese made from skimmed milk. Long and slow maturation process creates fruity, slightly sharp cheese with a compact, granular interior full of small holes. Matured over 2 years, becomes intensely flavored. Can be grated and used as a condiment.

Blue:
Country of Origin: USA
Milk: Cows/ Goats Milk
It is a white cheese with blue veins and sometimes-crumbly interior. This cheese usually has tangy, piquant, spicy, and peppery flavor. Use is salad dressings with cream cheese for spreads.

Cotija:
Country of Origin: Mexico
Milk: Cows Milk
It is a Hispanic-style cheese, known as the Parmesan of Mexico. It was originally made with goats milk but today cows milk is preferred. This cheese is strongly flavored, firm and perfect for grating. It is used in Hispanic cooking, in a manner similar to the way Parmesan is used in Italian cooking. Cotija is commonly used to add a lively garnish to common dishes: simply sprinkle on top of refried beans, salads, chili, or lasagna. In Mexico, it is also widely used to enhance the flavor of many savory dishes by mixing directly into the casserole or recipe. In the US, it is increasingly popular on pasta.

Gruyere:
Country of Origin: Switzerland
Milk: Cows Milk
Gruyere is named after a Swiss village. It is a traditional, creamy, unpasteurized, semi-soft cheese. The natural, rusty brown rind is hard, dry, and pitted with tiny holes. The cheese is darker yellow than Emmental but the texture is more dense and compact. Slightly grainy, the cheese has a wonderful complexity of flavors- at first fruity, later becomes more earthy and nutty. To make Gruyere, raw milk is heated to 93 degrees F and liquid rennet is added for curdling. The resulting curd is cut into small pieces, which release whey while being stirred. Curd is cooked at 110 degrees F and raised quickly to 130 degrees F. The pieces become shriveled which is the cue to place the curd in molds for pressing. The cheese is salted in brine for 8 days and ripened for two months at room temperature or a quick method: 10 days at 50 degrees F. Curing lasts from 3 to 10 months (the longer the curing period the better the cheese).

Parmesan (Parmigiano):
Country of Origin: Italy
Milk: Cows Milk
Named after an area in Italy (Parma). Parmesan is one of the worlds most popular and widely enjoyed cheeses. Milk used for Parmesan is heated and curdled in copper containers but not before most of the milks cream has been separated and removed. Curd is cut and then heated to 125 degrees F, all the while stirring the curd to encourage whey runoff. The curd is further cooked at temperatures of up to 131 degrees F, and the pressed in cheesecloth-lined moulds. After two days, the cheeses are removed and salted in brine for a month, then allowed to mature for up to two years in very humid conditions.

Romano:
Country of Origin: Italy
Milk: Cows Milk
Romano is one of the oldest Italian cheeses. It is made by a special method, known as rummaging curd or draining the curd quickly after molding, and then piercing the surfaces slightly before salt is applied. In Europe, Romano is known by its original name Pecorino-Romano. The cheese has a fat content of 27 percent and water content of 32 percent.

Smoked Gouda:
Country of Origin: Holland
Milk: Cows Milk
Smoked slowly in ancient, brick ovens over smoldering hickory chip embers, this sausage shaped cheese is perfect for impromptu picnics, party platters, or midnight snacks. Sensational with beer, this hard cheese as an edible, brown rind and a creamy, yellow interior.

Raclette:
Country of Origin: France
Milk: Cows Milk
Raclette is a cows milk cheese that has a light-brown rind and a firm texture. It has a round or square shape with a smooth, pink to deep orange, slightly sticky, natural rind. Although the cheese has a pleasant enough flavor, it is not special until it is heated in front of a fire or under a hot grill. Then the full nutty, sweet and slightly fruity aroma intensifies and the elasticity of the melting cheese makes is truly magnificent. It is used in a dish called raclette, the name derived from the French verb racler (to scrape). Also known as Valais Raclette, the generic class is Walliser. It is a hard cheese with a subtle flavor, good aftertaste and firm texture. Raclette is pale yellow inside. Raclette is famous for a Swiss dish, made by melting this slices over broiled potatoes.

Swiss:
Country of Origin: USA
Milk: Cows Milk
Swiss has firmer texture than baby Swiss, and is known for being shiny, pale yellow with large holes. Flavor is mild, sweet, and nut-like. It is an American imitation of the Swiss Emmental. The process is specifically designed so that no rind forms on the cheese (maturing takes place in a vacuum-packed plastic wrapping) for the mass-production purposes. The taste of the cheese is very mild. It can be eaten with apples, pears, grapes, and thinly-sliced prosciutto ham and salami, fruity white wine, aged red wine, cran-raspberry juice, tomato, or vegetable juice.


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SEMI-HARD CHEESES

Brick:
Country of Origin: USA
Milk: Cows Milk
Bricks roots lie in Wisconsin at the end of the 1800s. Its name perhaps derived from early moulding techniques, the pressing of the cheese with actual bricks. The cheese has a number of small and irregular holes and an open texture. It suggests a mixture of sweet, spicy, and nutty flavor. Brick tastes delicious with any kind of fruit, crackers, wine, beer, or apple juice.

Cheddar:
Country of Origin: England/USA
Milk: Cows Milk
Cheddar is the most widely purchased and eaten cheese in the world. Cheddar cheeses were originally made in England, however today they are manufactured in many countries all over the world. Fully cured Cheddar is a hard, natural cheese. It is shaped like a drum, 15 inches in diameter, with a natural rind bound in cloth. Normally, the color of Cheddar ranges from white to pale yellow. Some cheddars, however, have a color added, giving the cheese a yellow-orange color. Cheddar is always made from cows milk and has a slightly crumbly texture if properly cured. If the cheese is too young, the texture is smooth. Cheddar gets a sharper taste the longer it matures. It is generally matured between 9 and 24 months. The important thing in purchasing Cheddar is to consider the age of the cheese. Milk is heated to 86 degrees F and inoculated with a lactic starter culture. After an hour rennet is added. When the curd is firm, it is ground down to marble-sized bits which are heated to 100 degrees F. The whey is discarded and it is sliced into slabs. The curd is pressed overnight and stands for 4 days in a cool atmosphere. Unlike other well known cheeses, Cheddars name is not protected so it has been used and abused by many producers around the world.

Chevres:
Country of Origin: France
Milk: Goats Milk
These cheeses are made from goats milk. They come in many sizes and shapes, such as round patties, log-shapes, drum-shapes, pyramids, round loaves, etc; their textures vary from soft, but firm like cream cheese to extremely hard. Chevres are excellent dessert cheeses, often served as snacks or before dinner drinks. Goat cheese is often served as an ingredient in many fine dishes.

Edam:
Country of Origin: Holland
Milk: Cows Milk
This is a pressed, semi-hard to hard cheese made from cows milk. It comes in a shape of ball covered with distinctive red wax. Edam is produced from skimmed or semi-skimmed milk. It is usually consumed young, when the texture is elastic and supple and the flavor is smooth, sweet, and nutty. Black-wax coating means that Edam has been matured for at least 17 weeks.

Gouda:
Country of Origin: Holland
Milk: Cows Milk
Named after the Dutch town of Gouda, just outside Rotterdam. It accounts for more than 60 percent of the cheese produced in Holland, and it has a very long history. Gouda is a traditional, creamery, hard cheese. It is round with a very smooth, yellow, waxed rind. The flavor is sweet and fruity. As time passes, the taste intensifies and becomes more complex. Mature Gouda (18 months plus) is coated in a black wax, which provides a stark contrast to the deep yellow interior. Gouda is considered to one of the worlds great cheeses. It is both a table cheese and a dessert cheese, excellent with fruit and wine. Gouda is now made globally in style similar to the creation of Edam.

Monterey Jack:
Country of Origin: USA
Milk: Cows Milk
Monterey Jack was developed by a California Scot, David Jacks in 1882 (some sources state 1916). Monterey Jacks consistency depends on its maturity; mostly softer varieties (common in American supermarkets) is aged for one month, while grating Jack is aged for upwards of 6 months. Older Jacks are smeared with oil and pepper to maintain softer rinds. Monterey Jack has a buttery, bland taste and melts easily.

Provolone:
Country of Origin: Italy
Milk: Cows Milk
Provolone is an all-purpose cheese used for cooking, dessert purposes, and even grating. It is a traditional, creamery, stretched, curd cheese. This cheese appears in various shapes. The thin, hard rind is golden-yellow and shiny. Sometimes it is waxed. Provolone cheese can be of various types. Dolce (mild Provolone) is aged for two to three months, and it is supple and smooth with a thin waxed rind. It is generally used as table cheese. Aged for six months to two years, is it darker with small holes and a spicy flavor.


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SEMI-SOFT CHEESES

Baby Swiss:
Country of Origin: USA
Milk: Cows Milk
Its appearance and texture is ivory to pale yellow. It is a creamy cheese with small holes and it melts well when shredded. Baby Swiss has a buttery, slightly nutty, and sweet flavor. It goes well with sweet fruits and berries, croissants and muffins, white and red wine, juices, and even ice-cold milk.

Butterkase:
Country of Origin: Germany
Milk: Cows Milk
Butterkase is a loaf or wheel-shaped cheese with golden to red, natural rind. It is a creamery, semi-soft cheese made both in Germany and Austria. As the name says, it has a buttery taste and color. It is very good with a glass of beer. This cheese ripens in one month and has fat content of 50 percent.

Colby:
Country of Origin: USA
Milk: Cows Milk
Traditional, creamery, semi-soft cheese made from cows milk. The sizes vary, but they are generally block-shaped and free of rind. It was named after the town in Wisconsin where it was first made. It is a washed-curd cheese, which means that the curds are thoroughly rinsed in fresh water to remove all excess whey and any stray lactose. This prevents the acidity in the curd from rising, so the cheese remains soft and springy, with a sweet and mild flavor. Colby has a higher moisture content than Cheddar and feels more elastic. It is also sweet, rather than savory. This cheese ripens in four months. It is made with a special procedure: when whey is drained off, cold water is poured on the curd until its temperature dips to 80 degrees F. Colby must be consumed shortly after purchase or it will dry out and lose flavor.

Fontina Val dAosta:
Country of Origin: Italy
Milk: Cows Milk
Genuine Fontina comes from the Val dAosta region of Italy in the Alps near the French and Swiss borders. Fontina is dense, smooth, and slightly elastic. The straw-colored interior with its small round holes has a delicate nuttiness with a hint of mild honey. When melted, as it frequently is, the flavor is earthy with a taste of mushrooms and a fresh acidity. Fontina is the primary ingredient of Italian fonduta and is a pristine table or dessert cheese. Fontina ripens in about three months and has a fat content of 45 percent.

Havarti:
Country of Origin: Denmark
Milk: Cows Milk
Havarti is a traditional, creamy, and semi-soft cheese. It is a simple, washed-rind cheese with irregular holes throughout. There is an enriched version, with added cream, which is softer and feels more luxurious in the mouth. There is also a version with caraway seeds. Havarti is named after the farm in Denmark where Hanne Nielsen first made it.


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SOFT CHEESES

Brie:
Country of Origin: France
Milk: Cows Milk
Brie is the best known French cheese and has a nickname The Queen of Cheeses. In France, Brie is very different from the cheese exported to the United States. Real French Brie is unstabilized and the flavor is complex when the surface turns slightly brown. When the cheese is still pure-white, it is not matured. If the cheese is cut before the maturing process is finished, it will never develop properly. Exported Brie, however, is stabilized and never matures. Stabilized Brie has a much longer shelf life and is not susceptible to bacteriological infections. Brie, one of the great dessert cheeses, comes as either a 1 or 2 kilogram wheel and is packed in a wooden box. In order to enjoy the taste fully, Brie must be served at room temperature.

Camembert de Normandie:
Country of Origin: France
Milk: Cows Milk
A very famous French cheese, Camembert dates back to the 18th century and is named for a Norman village in which there is a statue of the creator of this particular variety (Marie Harel). Originally, this cheese was dry and yellow-brown, but after a few modifications it became softer and more earthy. In 1855 one of Marie Harels daughters presented Napoleon with a piece of that cheese, saying that it came from the village called Camembert. He liked it a lot and from that moment Camembert became known by it contemporary name. At the beginning of its ripening, Camembert is crumbly and soft and gets creamier over time (usually 2-3 weeks). A genuine Camembert has a delicate, salty taste.

Gorgonzola:
Country of Origin: Italy
Milk: Cows Milk
Gorgonzola is a traditional, creamery and co-operative, blue cheese. The greenish-blue penicillin mould imparts a sharp, spicy flavor and provides an excellent contrast to the rich, creamy cheese. Gorgonzola is made in the northern Italian village, according to which the cheese has its name, either from unpasteurized or pasteurized milk to which the mould is added. At about four weeks the cheeses are pierced with thick needles to encourage the spread of mould. Gorgonzola ripens in three to six months. The cheese is usually wrapped in foil to keep it moist. Its color ranges from white to straw-yellow with an unmistakable marbled green or bluish-green mould. The taste ranges from mild to sharp, depending on age. Gorgonzola is also excellent in salads and dips.

Limburger:
Country of Origin: Belgium
Milk: Cows Milk
Limburger is creamery, washed-rind cheese. The smooth, sticky, washed-rind is reddish-brown with corrugated ridges. The yellow interior hints at sweetness but the taste is spicy and aromatic, almost meaty. Milk is pasteurized at a temperature of 161 degrees F, the cooled to 86 degrees F. The milk is then inoculated with cultures, and then rennet is added for curdling. Curd is cut up, and then heated to 95 degrees F. The cheese is formed in rectangular moulds, and then it is salted and left to ripen in high-humidity conditions for two weeks. The temperature is lowered to 50 degrees F and the cheese matures for several months. Limburger has a legendary aroma, which is due to enzymes, breaking down proteins on the surface of the cheese. The cheese ripens in 6 to 12 weeks and has a fat content that fluctuates between 20 and 50 percent.

Feta:
Country of Origin: Greece
Milk: Cows, Ewe, and Goats Milk
Feta is one of the most famous cheeses in Greece. It is made various sizes, often as a loaf-shape. Feta is solid, but crumbly with some fissures. Pure white, it has a milky fresh acidity. Feta was originally made with either ewes milk or a mixture of ewes and goats milk but today most feta is made with pasteurized milk and tastes of little besides salt. Some people are put off by the strong salt content but the salt is intended only as a preservative and is not supposed to overpower the taste of the cheese. Feta can be soaked in fresh, cold water or milk for a few minutes or longer, if necessary, to make it less salty.

Mozzarella:
Country of Origin: Italy
Milk: Cows Milk
The plastic, spun-curd buffalo milk cheese Mozzarella, originated from southern Italy. Pasteurized milk is curdled at 90 degrees F and the curd is cut. Extra time in the vat is allowed so that the curd can sink to the bottom so that the lactic acids can soften the curd to make it easier to knead. The curd is treated with extremely hot water (200 degrees F) and is kneaded into a shiny lump. Bits of the mass are taken off, cooled, salted, and are soon ready to be marketed.

Munster:
Country of Origin: France
Milk: Cows Milk
Munster is a creamery, washed-rind cheese made from cows milk. It has a round shape with sticky, orange, washed skin. The cheese is very smooth, fairly soft and has a mildly piquant flavor that can become pungent with regular washings. Munster is dark yellow with a strong flavor. It should be served with dark bread and beer. Munster is made with pasteurized milk, which is cooled to 90 degrees F, inoculated with starter cultures and curdled with rennet. Cut curd is heated in whey for 30 minutes, stirred often to accelerate whey run off. Curd is lightly salted, molded and drained for half a day and soon thereafter is sent to market. French Munster is one of the few cheeses which ripen from the inside out. French Munster has nothing in common with Domestic Munster, which is a white, mild cheese. In the USA, this cheese is known as Muenster.

Neufchatel:
Country of Origin: France
Milk: Cows Milk
Neufchatel is a traditional, soft-white, table cheese originating from northern Normandy. It has aroma and taste of mushrooms. The rind of this cheese is dry and velvety, while the pate is firm but supple. Unlike other soft-white-rinded cheeses, Neufchatel has a grainy texture. Some lovers of this cheese prefer it when it has been kept until rind develops reddish pigmentation and a smell of ammonia. At this stage, the taste is bitter, salty, and acrid. Neufchatel comes in a variety of shapes such as squares, cylinders, and hearts.

Queso Blanco:
Country of Origin: Mexico
Milk: Cows Milk
Traditional, creamery, fresh cheese made from cows milk. The name simply means white cheese. It resembles a cross between mozzarella and salty cottage cheese. Traditionally, it is produced from skimmed milk and whey, coagulated with lemon juice, although recently some creameries have begun making it with full-cream milk, coagulated with rennet. The curd is scaled and pressed to create an elastic texture, which holds it shape when heated. The flavor is milky, creamy, and lemon-fresh. It is wonderful to cook with because unlike American-type cheeses, it will become soft and creamy when heated but will not melt! With this cheese you can make...


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