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Types of Cheese

Cheese can be grouped in a variety of different ways and with many overlaps. We decided to break down these groups into the following types based on how cheeses are described:

Fresh Cheese
Fresh cheeses are unripened cheeses that typically have short shelf lives (1-3 weeks), do not have a rind, and are high in moisture. While many cheeses improve with age, the opposite is true with fresh cheeses since these cheeses have flavor components that most resemble fresh milk and any sort of aging will only sour its flavor. These cheeses are typically bright white in color, smooth and creamy in texture, and possess flavor components that are tangy, milky, tart, and buttery. Examples of fresh cheeses include Burrata, Ricotta, Mozzarella, and Petit Billy.

Soft Cheese
Soft cheeses are typically young cheeses that have been aged two months or less. In the United States, they are almost all pasteurized because they are normally aged less than the required time to allow unpasteurized cheeses (60 days). The flavors of soft cheeses are typically mild and tangy. Examples of soft cheeses include yogurt cheeses and Bel Paese.

Semi-Soft Cheese
There is a fine line describing cheeses as soft or semi-soft. Typically semi-soft cheeses have been aged a little bit more than soft cheese and have less moisture. As a cheese ages, its moisture level decreases and the cheeses become more firm. Examples of semi-soft cheeses include Raclette, Garroxta, and younger versions of Asiago.

Smoked Cheese
Smoked cheeses are those that have been exposed to smoke for a period of time. The smoky flavor permeates throughout the cheese giving it a unique flavor. The smoke generated could be made from a variety of types of wood, which also affect the cheeses flavor. Examples of this cheese include Brezain, Smoked Mozzarella, and Pavarti.

Soft Ripened or Bloomy Rind Cheese
These types of cheese are sprayed with a type of Penicillium mold that creates a velvety, pillowy and fluffy rind. Most soft ripened cheese have creamy pate. Examples of these cheeses include Brie, Camembert, and Fromage D'Affinois.

Firm Cheese
Firm cheeses are aged cheeses that still have some moisture that adds to the cheeses flavor. The rinds of these cheeses are typically not eaten and these cheeses have dense flavors. Examples of these cheeses include Manchego, Comte, and Cheddar.

Hard Cheese
Hard cheeses are the most aged cheeses that are rich in flavor and dry in texture. These are the cheeses that are firm enough to grate. Examples of these cheeses include Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, and Old Amsterdam.

Alpine Cheese
Also known as mountain cheeses, alpine cheese are those that have been produced from the milk of animals from typically high altitude herds but also from herds in a cold climate. These cheeses are typically cows milk cheeses that are made in large wheels and aged for a significant period of time. The majority of these cheeses come from in and around the Alps and are produced primarily in Switzerland, France, and Italy although versions in other regions of the world are produced. These cheeses are traditionally firm although there are some soft versions, with flavor components that are nutty and herbaceous. Examples of these cheese include Appenzeller, Comte, Gruyere, Beaufort, and Fontina Val d'Aosta.

Blue Cheese
The term blue cheese is a classification describing a cheese that has been injected with a type Penicillium culture to create the spread of blueish green mold veins throughout the pate of a cheese. These cheeses are typically aged in caves and the blue mold inside the cheese creates a rather sharp and salty flavor to these cheeses. The cheeses texture can range from soft to semi-firm. Examples of these cheeses include Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and Fourm d'Ambert.

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