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Gallery: 13 Cheeses Everyone

Should Know
THE SERIOUS EATS TEAM

ROQUEFORT
Country of Origin: France
Type of milk: Sheep
Aging: At least five months.
Tasting Notes: The blue pockets of
mold that dot a chunk of Roquefort are
colonies of the moldPenicillium
roquefort, found naturally in the caves of
Roquefort, France. It has a moist, crumbly paste, and a sharp, sweet and nutty flavor
from the yeast with distinct grassiness from the sheep's milk. It's best eaten in the
fall, when cheese made from early spring milk is just coming to market.
Best Uses: Eaten as is, or with nuts and honey.

CAMEMBERT
Country of Origin: France
(Normandy)
Type of milk: Cow
Aging: At least three weeks
Tasting Notes: The outer rind is a
layer ofpenicillium candidum. Take a
look at this fungus under a
microscope, and it resembles the
tufted head of a dandelion. That's why you'll hear it referred to as a "bloomy rind"
cheese occasionally. As one of the most widely produced French cheeses, its quality
can vary significantly. Some Camemberts are handmade and name-protected (the
raw-milk Camembert de Normandie, for example), while others are mass-produced

from pasteurized milk (like "Le Chtelain" brand pictured). Because of their short
aging period (just over three weeks), you will not find any raw milk Camembert in the
U.S. Rich, buttery, and spreadable, Camembert has a mild, mushroomy aroma.
Best Uses: Eaten as is, on sandwiches, baked in a crust, breaded and deep-fried
(giddy-up!)

COTIJA
Country of Origin:Mexico
Type of milk: Cow
Aging: At least 3 months.
Tasting Notes: Younger cheeeses are mild
and salty, somewhat like a young feta. As the
cheese ages, it acquires nuttier, tangier flavors
and a drier, coarser texture.
Best Uses: On tacos, salads, in soups, over rice, on casseroles, over beans, in
guacamole, etc.

CHVRE
Country of Origin: France
Type of milk: Goat
Aging: Varies
Tasting Notes: The French word chvre literally
translate to "goat," and is used to refer to any
cheese made from goat's milk. Colloquially in America, however, chvre refers
exclusively to fresh goat's milk cheese, it is unaged and eaten almost immediately
after it is made. Fresh chvre tends to be moist, bright and acidic, with a lemony
flavor and slightly chalky finish in the mouth. You'll find it sold in vacuum sealed logs,
sometimes flavored with herbs, spices, or garlic.
Best Uses: Crumbled in salads, breaded and fried, in sandwiches, in macaroni and
cheese.

FETA
Country of Origin: Greece
Type of milk: Sheep and goat
Aging: About 3 months
Tasting Notes: Feta is one of the many cheese
worldwide to be a protected designation of origin product, meaning that a cheese
may only bear the label "feta" in the E.U. if it comes from either mainland Greece or
Lesbos, and is made with at least 70% sheep's milk (the remainder must be goat's
milk). A brined cheese, it is made by soaking freshly pressed curds in salt water.
Tangy and moist, feta can range from completely crumbly to moderately creamy and
pairs well with fresh summer fruit.
Best Uses: Broiled with olive oil. Crumbled in salads. Sandwiches. Use in place of
Cotija in tacos and other Mexican dishes.

MOZZARELLA
Country of Origin: Italy (Campania)
Type of milk: Cow or Water Buffalo
Aging: None
Tasting Notes: Mozzarella is a fresh, pulled-curd
cheese made from the milk of water buffalo (formozzarella di bufala) or cows
(for mozzarella fior di latte). The curds are heated in warm water and stretched by
hand before being rolled into moist balls. The balls of cheese can then either be sold
fresh, or packed in a salty brine to add flavor. Fresh and dairy rich, mozzarella is
prized for its texture and mild creamy flavor.
Best Uses: Fresh with a drizzle of olive oil, coarse salt and pepper. With tomatoes in
a sandwich. Pizza!

EMMENTAL
Country of Origin: Switzerland
Type of milk: Cow
Aging: at least 4 months
Tasting Notes: Emmental is what many people think
of when they hear "Swiss cheese" (yes, holes and all). It's is considered an "AlpineStyle" or "Mountain" cheese, meaning it originated from the milk of cows that are led
up the Alps to graze over multiple seasons, and its curds are cooked and pressed
together firmly. The holes you find are bubbles of carbon dioxide gas created as the
bacterium Propionibacterium freudenreichiiconsumes lactic acid. This cheese has a
certain sweetness with a piquancy that hits the back of the tongue on the finish.
What is more, like all Alpine cheeses, it is a great melter.
Best Uses: Fondue, grilled cheese, casseroles.

CHEDDAR
Country of Origin: England
Type of milk: Cow
Aging: No minimum, but good ones are generally aged
at least one year
Tasting Notes: Cheddar is a cow's milk cheese that originated in Somerset,
England. Cheddar is not only a noun, but it's also a verb; "to cheddar" refers to a
cheesemaking process whereby the curds of the cow's milk are cooked and then
milled into rice-size pieces. The pieces are then pressed into large blocks, and the
blocks are stacked one on top of another to press out any remaining moisture.
Cheddar cheese made in this traditional fashion are dry and crumbly in texture, with
a deep, tangy, nutty flavor. A far cry from the smooth mild American-style cheddars
you might find on top of a burger. Cheddar-style cheeses vary dramatically in quality,
so it's a good idea to talk to your cheesemonger about them. The color ranges from
ivory to straw to deep yellow in color, depending on the season and the feed of the
cattle.
Best Uses: As is, in sandwiches, grilled cheese, casseroles.

GOUDA
Country of Origin: Netherlands
Type of milk: Cow
Aging: At least 4 weeks, but better ones are aged at
least a year
Tasting Notes: Gouda is a semi-hard to hard cow's milk cheese from Holland. Like
Cheddar, its quality and flavor can vary wildly from the mild, creamy wax-coated
lunchbox versions of our youth to those specimens that are hard, crumbly, and
deeply flavorful. Long-aged goudas will have a crunchy texture due to crystals of
concentrated calcium lactate or and the amino acid tyrosine that form as the cheese
loses moisture, just like a good parmesan.
Best Uses: Young they can be melted. Aged cheeses are best as-is or grated into
salads or over casseroles.

TALEGGIO
Country of Origin: Italy (Lombardy)
Type of milk: Cow
Aging: Six to ten weeks
Tasting Notes: At over a thousand years old, Taleggio
is one of the world's oldest soft cheeses. The washed rind cheese is in a family of
cheeses created by monks who made cheese from the milk of their grazing cows in
order to eliminate waste. The story is that the monks repeatedly washed the wheels
clean of any mold that began to grow on their surfaces. Little did they know, they
were actually fostering the growth of a slew of new bacteria on the inside and outside
of the cheeses, contributing to pungent flavors and even more pungent surface
smells. Taleggio smells sort of like... feet. Rich, buttery, meaty, feet. Its soft rind is
edible, though it acquires a grainy texture from its repeated wash with salty brine.
Best Uses: As is.

PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO
Country of Origin: Italy
Type of milk: Cow
Aging: At least 12 months
Tasting Notes: There are a number of hard cheeses on the market that are sold
under the name "parmesan." These are not to be confused with true ParmigianoReggiano, a protected cheese that can only be produced in Emilia-Romagna and
Lombardia in Italy. Aged for a minimum of 12 months and a maximum of 36, it's a
hard, dry, crumbly cheese that has great crunch and deep caramel-y, nutty flavors.
Best Uses: Grated on salads and pastas. The harder, saltier rinds are perfect for
adding flavor to many Italian soups.

MANCHEGO
Country of Origin: Spain
Type of milk: Sheep
Aging: 60 days to 2 years
Tasting Notes: Made from the milk of Manchega
sheep, it's a firm, compact cheese that ranges in color from ivory to straw yellow.
Younger manchegos have a buttery, rich texture that borders on creamy, while the
aged version develops a deeply salty flavor and crunchy tyrosine crystals as it
dehydrates.
Best Uses: As is. Spanish membrillo (quince paste) is the ideal accompaniment for
it.

MONTEREY JACK
Country of Origin: United States of America
(California)
Type of milk: Cow
Aging: About one month
Tasting Notes: Very mild and buttery in flavor with a bit of tang, Monterey Jack is
one of the few all-American cheeses. Because of its young age and relatively high
butterfat content, it's a great melter. It often comes mixed with hot pickled peppers to
make Pepper Jack cheese.
Best Uses: Melted in casseroles, grilled cheese, over chili, cheese dip, any time you
want a good melting cheese.