Cheese types, part two – classifying cheese types by texture and flavour

different-types-of-cheeseIn the first blog on classifying cheese types, I concentrated on how it is made (click here to view).  Which is all very technical.  Classifying cheese types by texture and flavour is much more fun!

In general, I find people who come to The Courtyard Dairy are looking for a particular style of cheese or looking to create a cheese-board containing a balance of styles, textures and flavours.  For that reason, to help them select cheeses they will like, I find it more appropriate to classify cheese types by texture and flavour.  This is how I would group them in the shop and when explaining them to customers:

  • Fresh.
    Soft, fresh cheeses like Ricotta, Mozzarella, Cream Cheese…
  • Soft and Smelly (washed-rind).
    In this group I put the natural-rinded lactic cheeses (often goats’), the soft, white, bloomy rinds (like Camembert and Brie), and the washed-rind cheeses (the orange ones that are usually more smelly – created by washing the rind of the cheese).  Texturally-wise they are all similar and you will often find one or two of this cheese type on a good cheese-board.
  • Hard.
    This includes all the cheeses that are semi-hard (like Tommes), hard (like Cheddars and Gruyères) and traditional crumblies (like Wensleydale and Lancashire).  Ranging in strength and texture, they are a favourite of many, and make up the most common cheese type, especially here in the UK (where we find most of the territorial cheeses – Lancashire, Gloucester, red Leicester).
  • Blue.
    All the cheeses that are blue are grouped together.
  • Then, of course, there are flavour added and processed cheeses, which are produced by further processing one of the above styles.

Within each of these sections I will then differentiate by the different milk types (goats’, sheep’s and cows’), the depth of flavour, and I’ll also highlight the more local cheeses.  Cows’ milk cheese is the most common in the UK, but within each cheese selection I encourage people to take home a sheep’s or goats’ milk cheese as well, which helps to add a contrast.

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