For all of the Cheese lovers out there, this is for you!
We did some research on Cheese…Yep, that’s right Cheese.
The information that we came across about this yummy dairy product (or is it?) is fascinating. Did you know that for every letter of the alphabet there is a type of cheese? No, well neither did we until we came across the very informative cheese.com, an entire website dedicated to cheese. In fact, they have listed over 1750 types of cheese from 74 different countries around the world. Who knew that there was that much cheese out there!!
On this site, you can sort your cheese by country, milk, colour, and more. There are even tips on how to best store and cut the cheese (pardon me), and of course, the all-important which wine pairs best with which cheese. This is what we know so far…
Types of Cheese
Thousands of cheeses are readily available for purchase. You can purchase gourmet cheese from your local farmers market…our personal favourite. Also, available at specialty deli’s and grocery stores. You can even buy some decent quality cheeses from some local gas stations.
Usually divided into the following categories
This cheese is made in a short time and hasn’t been matured. The texture is soft, creamy and sometimes even somewhat runny. This type of cheese is often referred to as cream cheese but also include Brie, feta, Mozzarella, and more in this category.
Semi-Soft is a group of cheeses that have a higher moisture content. These cheeses are often mild in flavour and consist of cheeses such as Colby, Havarti, Morbier amongst others.
Hard cheese is firmly packed and is aged for long periods of time, months, or years. These are sometimes referred to as “grating cheese” and consist of cheeses such as Parmesan, Gruyere, Haloumi-style, Reggiano, and so many more.
Semi-Hard cheese is lower in moisture content than their softer counterparts. These are generally packed into moulds under pressure and is aged longer than the soft cheeses. These are some of the more common cheeses, such as cheddar (another story on its own), Edam, Gouda, with a huge list of others.
It is important to know that not all cheeses belong to just one category. There are variations of some cheeses that fall into more than one of these categories. Another thing to mention about the categories is that there are also categories such as medium, medium-soft, and medium-hard…. that is for the true cheese fanatics.
So, How is Cheese made?
We know that cheese starts its life as milk…cows milk, goats milk, sheep’s milk, just great quality milk.
Then you need to do things like Standardisation and Pasteurisation. Add cultures, coagulation (I can’t even say that) of the milk, cut and stir the curd. You then heat, hoop, press, turn, and salt. I’m exhausted now, but we are not finished yet.
Now we need to mature our cheese, this can take a while so grab yourself a cup of tea.
After waiting anywhere from 8 days to 24 months of maturing, our cheese is now ready to wrap…Finally!!!
This all sounds pretty intense, but in fact, is just the easy steps you need to take to create amazing cheese.
The Benefits of Cheese
Aside from tasting delicious, cheese is also good for us. Bones, teeth, hair, and fingernails, all benefit from eating cheese, that is all cheeses by the way. So the next time you are sitting down to a cheese platter and a glass of wine, the 206 bones in our body will be reaping the rewards. Aside from calcium cheese also offers your body good stuff like Vitamins A, B2, B12, Protein, Zinc, and Phosphorus.
So eaten with a balanced diet and some exercise, cheese can help meet your daily intake requirements.
Combining Cheese with Wine
In my opinion, I think a delicious cheese should be accompanied by some good quality water crackers or freshly baked crusty bread, soft plump fresh figs, sweet seedless green grapes, and a handful of slightly salted nuts. Yes, I am drooling a little at the moment…
Could the most important part of cheese be the wine??
Pairing cheese with wine comes with trial and error. Whilst there are plenty of cheat sheets online available, I think it all comes down to personal preference. Now don’t get me wrong, you can’t just willy-nilly go and purchase any type of nasty wine. There are some “rules” if you will around making your choices.
Salty cheese (feta, blue) marries up perfectly with a sweet wine.
Dry reds are amazing with a mature cheese (Grana Padano, Manchego).
Creamy Cheeses (Rigotte, Panela ) are enhanced by an oaky white wine.
There is so much advice on pairing these two, that it would be almost impossible to go wrong.
What We Learned About Cheese…
Well, we learned a lot of new stuff about cheese. There is heaps of stuff that we still don’t know (another blog perhaps?) What we know for sure is that there is so many varieties of cheese out there, all dairy!
We also learned that in order to appreciate these beautiful cheeses we require some great accompaniments such as wine (der!), fresh fruits, bread, nuts, and most importantly great company.