Cheese is always in season, but its rich, warm flavors pair especially well with many of the foods traditionally prepared during the fall season. While most cheese is made from cow’s milk, you may be surprised to discover that many cheeses are made from the milk of other mammals as well, including goats, buffaloes, sheep, camels, yaks and reindeer!
Curds n’ Whey
The Basics About Cheese
The milk of each animal provides its own unique flavors and textures to the cheese, but we are most familiar with cheese made from cow’s milk because it is creates a more mild, sweet and buttery flavor which appeals to more people. Sheep’s milk is not as sweet or buttery as cow’s milk and it lends a slight grassy, tangy flavor. Goat’s milk is the gamiest of all and not everyone manages to develop a taste for goat cheeses.
Some cheese names are protected in that they must be produced a certain way in a certain region in order to be classified as a cheese at all. Other cheeses, such as Gouda cheese, may originate from a particular region, but are now produced all over the world, resulting in a much wider variety of quality than the protected cheeses. Additionally, most cheeses go through an aging process in a controlled environment which introduces bacteria that affects both the texture and the flavor of the cheese.
Four Delicious Cheeses
And How to Enjoy Them
Chèvre – This French-originating cheese has the literal name for “goat” and the name is often used to refer to any cheese made from goat’s milk. However, in America, it commonly refers to a goat cheese that has not been aged and is used shortly after formation. Reminiscent of a tangy lemon flavor with a chalky finish, this cheese is best enjoyed crumbled in salads and sandwiches or for macaroni and cheese.
Feta – This protected cheese must be produced in mainland Greece or Lesbos and it must be made from at least 70% sheep’s milk while the remainder must be goat’s milk. The curds are soaked in a salt brine, creating a tangy cheese that is delicious with fresh summer fruit.
Monterey Jack – This cheese from cow’s milk is truly an American cheese that is excellent to use for any kind of melting since it is a young cheese with a high butterfat content. Add it to soups, grilled sandwiches and more for a tasty experience!
Parmigiano-Reggiano – This protected Italian cheese is not to be confused with the many cheeses commonly sold as “parmesan.” Produced in a specific region of Italy with a restricted age range of 12-36 months, this cheese is known for its crumbly texture and nutty taste. It is excellent when grated over salads and pastas and rinds are great for adding flavor to Italian soups.
We wish we could tell you about all the many wonderful varieties of cheese to be enjoyed, but we do hope you enjoy adding these cheeses in new and delightful ways to your fall cooking!