A Few Good Cheeses
If you get to know your quality cheeses, eating it can be a wonderful change of pace. Add some good cheese to your pantry for parties, snacking, and pairing with wine. When buying cheese, remember that there’s a big difference between aged cheese and old cheese. Old cheese looks fatigued and discolored, may have a cracked rind, and signs of overdryness.
Here’s a look at some of the more common types of gourmet cheeses available on the market today.
Brie: This soft, creamy cheese is generally mild tasting.
Camembert: A creamy cheese not unlike Brie. When ripe, it oozes luxuriously. (Really! In the world of cheese, oozing is a good thing.)
Cheddar: The flavor of this semifirm cheese ranges from rich and nutty to extremely sharp.
Fontina Val d’Aosta: Italian cow’s milk cheese, semifirm, subtle, nutty, and rich.
Goat cheese (chèvre in France): Goat cheese ranges from mild and tart when young to sharp and crumbly when aged.
Gorgonzola: Gorgonzola is rich and creamy, yet pleasantly pungent. Creamier than Roquefort.
Gruyère: Sort of a more gutsy version of Swiss cheese. Faint nuttiness. The classic fondue cheese.
Mascarpone: An Italian cow’s milk cheese that has the consistency of clotted cream.
Monterey Jack: A California cow’s milk cheese in the cheddar family that’s semisoft, smooth, and very mild when young, and sharper when aged.
Mozzarella: Familiar to all from pizza and lasagna fame. It’s also great in salads or layered with sliced tomatoes and basil.
Pecorino Romano (or Romano): A sheep’s milk Italian cheese, Pecorino Romano is soft and mild when young, with a touch of tartness. Quite tart when older, mostly grated over pasta.
Roquefort: Made from ewe’s milk and aged in the famous caves of Roquefort, France. Roquefort is among the most intense of all blue-veined cheeses. Has a creamy texture at its best.