Think you need to be a connoisseur to appreciate fine cheese? Think again. With Monsieur Gustav, the world of fine cheese is accessible to everyone! Be that as it may, the difference between a soft surface ripened cheese and a firm cheese can be difficult to grasp, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the terms. In the absence of a dictionary, use these tips to brush up on the ABCs of fine cheese.
What are the different types of cheeses?
Cheeses vary in terms of texture, flavour and firmness. Ranging from runny to hard, it’s the texture of a cheese that ultimately determines its taste.
Soft cheeses: these cheeses have an ultra-creamy texture thanks to the addition of cream. Mushroom flavours are also present.
Try Double Crème Bloomy Rind, Double Crème Red Rind or Double Crème Blue Veined.
Semi-soft cheeses: this type of cheese is generally softer than firm cheese but tastier than soft cheese. Fun fact: semi-soft cheeses with rinds continue to ferment throughout their life!
Try Saint-Paulin, Havarti or Raclette Platter.
Firm cheeses: these cheeses present an elastic texture, which can also crumble easily. This characteristic is due to the cheese’s prolonged maturation or age.
Try Cheddar, Gouda or Swiss.
Can you eat the cheese rind?
To the burning question “Is the rind edible?” the answer is probably yes!
The rind of a cheese is made up of milk, bacteria and mold (edible, we promise), which contribute to the taste and preservation of the cheese. Generally speaking, the rind enhances the flavour of a cheese and can thus be eaten without fear. Try it and you’ll see!
Here are different types of cheese rinds to discover and savor:
Double Crème Bloomy Rind owes its name and rich mushroom flavour to its soft white rind.
Double Crème Red Rind features a colourful orange rind, also edible, that gives it a slightly more pronounced taste. To discover!
The bright yellow rind of Saint-Paulin is mild on the palate and a delight for taste buds.
The rind of the semi-soft blue veined Blue cheese is smooth and delicate, with a hint of mushrooms.
Did you know that all cheeses have rinds but not all rinds are visible? Firm cheeses like Cheddar and Swiss include a pressed rind with a smooth texture that melts into the cheese. This means you’re eating the rind without even realizing it!
Note that Gouda is covered with a layer of edible red wax that serves as a protective seal for the cheese
Why do cheeses have different shapes?
Did you know that the shape of a cheese says a lot about its taste? Whether round, triangular or rectangular, cheese reveals some of its secrets through its cut.
Double Crème varieties are round cheeses that are cut into even wedges to make sure everyone gets a taste of the middle!
Saint-Paulin is also a round cheese that comes in a wheel or in pre-cut pieces.
Whether plain, smoked or flavoured, Gouda comes in a rectangular shape with a rounded end because it’s cut directly from the wheel. Simply slice it sideways.
Whether eaten on its own for breakfast, with a bowl of soup for lunch or on a platter for dinner, cheese suits all times and tastes.
Forget the traditional rules of wining and dining! Don’t be afraid to pair Gouda with beer, Saint-Paulin with coffee or the various types of Double Crème with pesto. Your personal tastes will guide you for your next tasting!
See also: 3 trendy cheese and drink pairings
Remember, the more you expose yourself to new tastes and textures, the more you’ll learn to like and recognize fine cheeses. Ready to give them a try?