How Well Do You Know Your Cheese?
There are more cheese varieties than just cheddar.
Thanks to specialty stores and delicatessens, there are more varieties of cheese available for the cheese fan. Here's an easy guide on the most common kinds of cheese in the market:
Cream cheese is a fresh, soft mild-tasting cheese produced from a combination of cow's milk and cream. This spreadable cheese is typically used in making cheesecake, frosting, and sandwich spreads.
Feta is a soft, brined Greek cheese made from goat's or sheep's milk. It has a salty and tangy taste, and is commonly added to salads or wrapped with spinach in phyllo pastry to make spanakopita.
Originating from Italy, Mozzarella is a semi-soft, brined cheese made from cow's or water buffalo's milk. This mild-tasting cheese easily melts and has a springy, stretchy consistency. Fresh mozzarella is perfect for salads and pasta while the aged, commercial variety is ideal for pizza, sandwiches, and baked pasta.
Named after a Swiss village, Gruyere is a hard cheese made from cow's milk. This dense, slightly grainy cheese has a complex flavor-it's fruity in the beginning then becomes earthy and nutty. It melts beautifully when heated, thus it is often used in grilled sandwiches and in French onion soup.
Blue cheese is a generic term for cheese ripened with cultivated mold. This semi-soft, creamy cheese tends to be sharp and salty in taste, and has a strong aroma. It's usually served with crackers, fruits, and nuts; when crumbled, it can be melted and added to sauces, dips, and salad dressings.
Brie is a soft, white cheese named after a region in France. Made from cow's milk, it has a very soft, creamy texture, and a delicate flavor. Served at room temperature, it's a dessert cheese usually offered after a meal. It can also be used as a filling for puff pastry or as a topping on crostini.
From the Netherlands, Gouda is a semi-hard cheese typically produced from cow's milk. It has a dense, crumbly, and springy texture, and melts easily when heated. It can be enjoyed as is, added in soups and sauces, or used as a filling for sandwiches.
Ricotta is a milky white Italian curd cheese made using whey from cow's or sheep's milk. Soft and rindless with a crumbly texture and a mild flavor, it is often mixed into salads, added to pancakes, or used as a pasta filling.
Photography by Miguel Nacianceno. Original text appeared in the October 2014 issue of Yummy magazine