Choosing Your Favorite Cheese

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

For hardcore cheese lovers, cheese is more than just cheese; it is one of life’s most indulgent pleasures. And with dozens of varieties of cheese, choosing a favorite is an overwhelming challenge indeed! If you love cheese and you cannot choose a favorite, we can’t blame you! But if you are up for the challenge, we are sharing tips to help you find the right cheese according to your taste and preference:

Learning the Different Types of Cheeses

There are four types of cheese: Hard, Semi-Hard, Soft Cheese and Fresh Cheese. Each one possesses different textures, density, and flavors.

Hard Cheese

Hard cheeses – including parmesan, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino Romano – are aged for long periods of time. The lengthy aging process allows the cheese to achieve a very hard, dense texture, complex flavors, and rich taste.

Semi-Hard Cheese

Semi-hard cheese – such as Monterey Jack, Gouda, and Cheddar – has a softer texture than hard cheese. This type of cheese crumbles easily and comes in either salty or sweet varieties. Semi-hard cheese has a lovely bite and velvety flavor.

Soft Cheese

Soft cheese – such as Brie, Camembert, Neufchâtel and Fromager d’Affinois – are very soft cheese with a density similar to fresh cheese. Usually, soft cheese is aged for only a month or so. This type of cheese has a buttery, creamy flavor and paired best with crackers, dried fruits, and bread.

Fresh Cheese

Fresh cheese – including Ricotta, Mozzarella, and Cottage cheese – are not aged at all. The texture of the fresh cheese is very similar to soft cheese.

How to Choose the Right Cheese for You

Go to a Fine Cheese Store

No, the supermarket is not a great place to find great cheese. You want to go to a good cheese shop and try different types of cheese. We recommend developing an excellent rapport with the cheese vendor so he or she can guide you through the different varieties of cheese.

Start the Cheese Tasting!

Most customers are welcome to try different varieties of cheese in a good cheese store. Do not limit yourself to a popular type of cheese; be open to trying those that you are not familiar with! If say, you liked several types of cheese, buy in small batches and make yourself a cheese plate at home! Complete your cheese plate by adding slivers of cured meats, some dried fruits, and roasted nuts. If you do not know what type of cheese goes well with a certain fruit or cured meats, go online and do your research.

Choose the Best Milk Types

Cheeses are made from three different types of milk: cow, sheep, and goat. We recommend asking your cheese vendor which cheese is made from a certain milk and sampling said cheese. This way, you can taste the subtle differences between different varieties of cheese and find a favorite!

Go for Quality

Not all cheeses are made equal. Cheese is fairly expensive so make sure you are getting your money’s worth. Always check the aroma and taste of every cheese. If there is a distinct ammonia smell or if the milk tastes sour, the quality of the cheese is poor. To avoid wasting money, buy cheese in small batches only!