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World Cheese Book

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The book is about cheese in all its many glorious varieties. What it looks like, what it tastes like, where it comes from, what you should do with it and why, how to choose a cheese you'll like and how best to enjoy it. It gives you an in-depth understanding of the world of cheese - the science, the smells, the succulence. The core of the book is formed by the Directory Spreads, packed with clear and expert information about each cheese and illustrated with excellent photography. The cheeses are arranged by country, each section written by an expert "cheesie" from that country. For the novice, the intermediate and expert cheese eater, it will become the undisputed best guide to the world's cheeses.
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15 December 2019 (21:18) 

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uliet H

“Brilliant and inspirational—
a must-have for anyone who loves cheese.” Alex James


001_HalfTitle.indd 1 1

26/05/2009 17:38

002-003_Title.indd 2 2

26/05/2009 11:11


juliet harbutt

martin aspinwall • stéphane blohorn • vincenzo bozzetti • kevin john broome
ran buck • sagi cooper • dianne curtin • jim davies • sheana davis • angela gray
rie hijikata • rumiko honma • katie jarvis • monika linton • gurth pretty
hansueli renz • richard sutton • will studd • joe warwick • aad vernooij

002-003_Title.indd 3 3

26/05/2009 15:34

London, new York, MeLbourne,
Munich, and deLhi
Project Editor danielle di Michiel
Senior Art Editor elly king
Editorial Assistants Shashwati Tia Sarkar, erin boeck Motum
Designer william hicks
Managing Editor dawn henderson
Managing Art Editor christine keilty
Senior Jacket Creative nicola Powling
Senior Production Editor Jennifer Murray
Production Controller alice holloway
Creative Technical Support Sonia charbonnier
US Editors rebecca warren, christy Lusiak
DK India
DTP Designers dheeraj arora, Preetam Singh, Jagtar Singh
Senior Designer Tannishtha chakraborty
Design Manager romi chakraborty
Head of Publishing aparna Sharma
First american edition, 2009
Published in the united States by
dk Publishing
375 hudson Street
new York, new York 10014
09 10 11 12 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
wd205—october 2008
copyright © 2009 dorling kindersley Limited
all rights reserved
without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may
be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or
by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the
prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
Published in Great britain by dorling ki; ndersley Limited.
a catalog record for this book is available from the Library of congress.
iSbn 978-0-7566-5442-9
dk books are available at special discounts when purchased in bulk for sales promotions,
premiums, fund-raising, or educational use. For details, contact: dk Publishing Special
Markets, 375 hudson Street, new York, new York 10014 or
Printed and bound in Singapore by Star Standard
Discover more at

004-005_Contents.indd 4 4

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Introduction 6
Understanding Cheese 8
Using this Book 9
Fresh Cheeses 10
Aged Fresh Cheeses 12
Soft White Cheeses 14
Semi-soft Cheeses 16
Hard Cheeses 18
Blue Cheeses 20
Flavor-added Cheeses 22
The Perfect Cheeseboard 24

France 26

Special Features
Beaufort 38
Brie de Meaux 46
Comté 56
Epoisses de Bourgogne 64
Reblochon de Savoie 74
Roquefort 82
Sainte-Maure de Touraine 92

Italy 102

Special Features
Gorgonzola 110
Mozzarella di Bufala 120
Parmigiano-Reggiano 130
Taleggio 138

Spain and Portugal 146
Spain 148
Portugal 167
Special Features
Mahòn 154
Manchego 162

Great Britain and
Ireland 170

England 172
Scotland 207
Wales 213
Ireland 219
Special Features
Cheddar 180
Stilton 192
Yarg Cornish Cheese 200
Caboc 210
Caerphilly 216

Low Countries 226

Germany, Austria,
and Switzerland 234
Germany 235
Austria 238
Switzerland 240
Special Features
Emmentaler 242

Scandinavia 246
Denmark 247
Norway 249
Sweden 250
Finland 253

Eastern Europe and
the Near East 254
Greece 256
Hungary 260
Slovakia 260
Turkey 261
Cyprus 261
Lebanon 264
Israel 264
Special Features
Feta 258
Halloumi 262

The Americas 266
USA 270
Canada 312
Mexico 320
Brazil 321
Argentina 321
Special Features
Monterey Jack 286

Japan 322
Australia and
New Zealand 326
Australia 328
New Zealand 335

Glossary 342
Resources 344
Index 346
Contributors 351
Acknowledgments 352

Belgium 227
The Netherlands 230
Special Features
Gouda 232

004-005_Contents.indd 5 5

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Evidence of cheesemaking has been found dating back to 2800 bce, but the
discovery of cheese would have come about as a happy accident. Any milk left
to warm by a fire or stored in a sack made from the stomach of an animal
would have soured, causing the milk solids (the curds) and liquid (the whey) to
coagulate and separate, allowing humans to learn that their most precious
commodity, milk, could be preserved in the form of cheese and, eventually, that
rennet found in the stomach of the milk-producing animal was the coagulant.


The Story of Cheese


Now, some 5,000 years later, cheese is made all over the
world with all kinds of milk, from reindeer’s milk in
Lapland, to buffalo’s milk in Australia, and yak’s milk in
the Kingdom of Bhutan. The miracle of cheese is that,
although milk tastes virtually the same the world over,
the diversity of textures, tastes, and aromas is almost
infinite, and virtually any cheese can be made anywhere
in the world. The size, shape, and milk of a cheese,
however, has been determined by such diverse external
forces as historical events, centuries of experimentation,
religious orders, and the
terrain, while the nuances
of texture and taste are
influenced by the raw
materials—the type and
breed of animal, the soil,
the grazing, the climate,
microclimate, and ingenuity
of the cheesemaker.
European cheeses owe
much to the Greeks’
knowledge and, later, the
Romans, who built on that
knowledge and took their
recipes for making cheese
across Europe to feed their
legions as their Empire
spread—a legacy clearly seen
throughout Europe to this day.
The Middle Ages saw the
proliferation of monastic
orders across Europe and into
Britain and Ireland, particularly
the Benedictine and, later,
the Cistercian monks, who
developed the cheeses we

006-009_Intro.indd 6 6

know today as Trappist or monastery cheeses, of which
Maroilles of Northern France was probably the first.
Historically, a cheese’s size was determined by the
amount of milk available and the proximity to the
nearest market; hence, mountain cheese tended to be
large, with the farmers combining their milk to make
slow-ripening cheeses they could sell at the end of the
summer months when the cows returned to the valleys.
Those made in the valleys and near large markets would
have been smaller, quicker to ripen, and sold at weekly
markets. Shape was determined
by the sophistication of the
maker and the raw materials
available to make the molds—
whether woven grass, fired
clay, or wood.

The ancient art of cheesemaking is lovingly depicted in
this colorful Swiss wood engraving.

Today, Europe’s traditional
cheeses are typically made
in designated areas by
various artisan producers
whose combined volume is
sufficiently high that the
cheese can be found around
the world. Classic examples
include raw milk Camembert
de Normandie (see p44), made
by only five producers and
Parmigiano-Reggiano (see
p130), made by around 830
small producers. Artisan
cheeses developed in the last
30 years or so, however, tend
to be invented by individual
cheesemakers and are often
hard to find outside their
region or country of origin,
even if made in large volumes.

26/05/2009 15:34

The Raw Materials

The individual identity and personality of a cheese is
determined by a number of facts of nature.
The climate and landscape, including the minerals in
the soil, affect what flora grows, and therefore what a
milk-producing animal eats, thereby influencing the
subtle flavors of the milk. Even the most unobservant
cannot fail to see and smell the difference between fresh
grass, wild clover, and meadow flowers compared with
compacted feed, silage, or turnips. Minerals also affect the
speed of ripening, the texture, and flavor of the cheese.

The microclimate of both the milk and the cheese room
provide the finishing touch. Tiny colorful, wind-born
molds and yeasts treat each new batch of protein-rich
curd as a canvas on which to create their daily masterpiece,
while a multitude of naturally occurring bacteria prefer
the seclusion and warmth of the interior to work their
magic. These convert the sweet milk sugars, or lactose,
into lactic acid and so begins the fermentation process.
Once an accident of nature, most have been harnessed by
cheesemakers to ensure the end result is more predictable.
These microflora, along with the subtleties inherent in
milk, are lost when the milk is pasteurized and must be
re-introduced in the form of a cocktail of bacteria known
as a starter culture. Regrettably, these laboratoryproduced cultures cannot emulate the complexity
provided by Mother Nature.

006-009_Intro.indd 7 7

Cheesemaking equipment and methods vary from
cheesemaker to cheesemaker, but the basic principles
involved have remained unchanged for thousands of years.
1 The milk ideally, milk is pumped straight from the
milking parlor to the dairy where it is checked and tested
to ensure it is pure and clean. it may then be pasteurized,
typically at 165ºF (73ºC) for 15 seconds. The milk is
transferred to a vat and heated until it reaches the
acidity level required for the type of cheese being made.
2 Coagulation or curdling Once the acidity reaches the
desired level, a special cocktail of lactic bacteria or starter
culture is added. This both converts the lactose to lactic acid
and contributes to the flavor, aroma, and texture of the
cheese. (Too much or not enough acidity results in imperfect
cheeses.) Most cheeses are made by adding rennet (derived
from the stomach of a milk-fed animal) or another
coagulant to make sure the protein and fat in the milk bond
and are not lost in the whey.
Curdling is the fundamental step in cheesemaking, as the
degree of coagulation determines the final moisture content
of the cheese, and this in turn affects the speed of the
fermentation process.
3 Separation of curds and whey The freshly formed
curd looks like white jelly, while the whey is a yellow-green
color. Gently separating the curds from the whey creates
soft, high-moisture cheeses, while cutting the curds expels
more whey and produces harder cheeses. The finer the curd
is cut, the harder and finer-grained the final cheese. The
whey is drained off once it reaches the desired acidity.
4 Shaping and salting The curds are then piled into
molds or hoops and may be pressed before being turned out
of their molds. Once out of the mold, the cheese is rubbed or
sprinkled with salt or soaked in brine before being placed
in a cold room or cellar to age.


The animal and its grazing habits add another
dimension. The comfort-loving cow is largely found on rich
plains, lush valleys, and sunny mountain pastures. Goats,
unlike cows and sheep, are browsers, tearing sparse but
aromatic flora from hedges, craggy peaks, rock-strewn
valleys or, when the opportunity arises, from the farmers’
carefully manicured garden. The resulting milk is
herbaceous, like a crisp, white wine infused with herbs,
becoming like marzipan or ground almonds with age.
The sweet, almost caramel, taste of ewe’s milk has been
valued in Europe and the Middle East for thousands of
years. The numerous breeds adapt to almost any climate,
some surviving on seemingly nothing, yielding but a few
liters of milk a day imbued with the essence of the wild,
aromatic herbs, grasses, and flora that form their diet.
The breed of animal can also be a factor. Compared
with the high volume yield of the Friesian, for example,
milk from Jersey or Guernsey cows has large fat globules
that produce a richer, smoother deep Monet-yellow
cheese, and the sweet, mellifluous milk of the Montbéliarde
cow is renowned throughout the Savoy region of France.

How Cheese is Made


5 Aging and the affineur The aging process is the art
and science of cheesemaking, as it brings out the character
of the milk and the unique flavors attributed to the
grazing. A good affineur, someone who ripens cheeses, can
nurture the simplest cheese to yield up every nuance of
flavor. Artisan cheeses vary from day to day, depending on
the grazing, the season, the conditions in the cheese room,
and the cheesemaker; so, unlike wine, cheese has a
vintage every day, which is what makes it so extraordinary
and wonderful.

26/05/2009 15:34

(See pp10–11)

there is no universal system for identifying cheeses. instead,
every cheese-producing country has its own system using
technical terms such as semi-hard, semi-cooked, pressed
uncooked, smear-ripened, or washed-curd that are all but
meaningless, and confusing, to cheese lovers.

(See pp18–19)

By contrast, this book uses the editor-in-chief’s easy-to-grasp
system of identifying cheese types, based on the type of rind a
cheese grows and its texture.

understanding cheese

(See pp12–13)


(See pp14–15)

the way it works is that the amount of moisture, or whey, that
is left in the cheese determines not only the texture of the
interior, or paste as it is often called, but also the type of rind
and molds the cheese will grow. there is the odd exception that
crosses two of these categories, but most are very obvious.

(See pp20–21)

the editor-in-chief’s system (see pp10–23) identifies seven
different types of cheese:
Fresh, Aged Fresh, Soft White, Semi-soft, Hard,
Blue, and Flavor-added.
using this system, with just a glance and a gentle squeeze
you can categorize 99 percent of the cheeses you meet,
whether from a French market, a new York cheese shop, or
elsewhere. With a little practice, you can assess a cheese’s
basic character, strength of flavor, how it will behave when
cooked, and even its ripeness and quality.

CHEESES (See pp22–23)

(See pp16–17)

Denomination and
Designation of Origin
some cheeses have legally protected names linked to their
provenance. certifying the origin of a cheese recognizes its
terroir (French) or tipicità (italian), acknowledging that the
unique character of each traditionally made food is a result of
a complex interaction of soil, plant life, and climate combined
with traditional production methods and raw materials—a
combination that cannot be replicated elsewhere. there are
various national systems, such as the French aOc
(appellation d’Origine contrôlée) and the italian dOc
(denominazione d’Origine controllata), as well as the european
community-created PdO (Protected designation of Origin) for
traditional regional wines and food made throughout the ec.

006-009_Intro.indd 8 8

In 1666, Roquefort was the first cheese to
be protected by law, the forerunner for the
aOc system in France.

26/05/2009 15:34

Using this Book

This book will open up a world of exciting cheeses for cheese fans. The core of the book is formed by chapters
cataloging cheeses from each country, detailing their origins, tasting notes, and how best to enjoy them, with
prominent and important cheeses explored in greater depth. The information box included with each cheese entry,
explained here, contains information that is key to understanding the identity of the cheese.


Some cheeses are made all over a
country, while others are made by
various producers in specific regions.
Where three or fewer producers make
the cheese in a specific location, a city
or town is also listed. The region can
reveal much about the terroir of a
cheese, which dictates the type
of animal found there and its
grazing environment.

Weight and Shape

Some cheeses are made in one weight
and shape only, but most are produced
in a range of sizes, which we have
listed wherever possible.


This gives the dimensions of a cheese,
usually measurements such as
diameter (D), height (h), length (L), or
width (W), depending on its shape.
Where there is a range of sizes, a
range of dimensions is given. in some
cases, where the range is not known,
the dimensions of the pictured cheese
are given.


This gives the type of animal whose
milk is used to make the cheese. in
some cases, a cheese may be made
from a mix of milk from different
animals, depending on the season
and availability.


Each cheese is categorized as one of
the seven types described in the
Editor-in-Chief’s system (see


Up to three producers are listed for
artisan cheesemakers. “Various”
indicates that the cheese is made by
more than three producers.

006-009_Intro.indd 9 9

Pecorino Siciliano PDO
This cheese is documented as far
back as 900 bce, when odysseus
meets the Cyclops Polyphemus in
homer’s Odyssey. As in ancient times,
this cheese is still hand-made using
lamb’s rennet.
Yellow and sometimes
studded with whole black peppercorns,
it is firm and friable with a pungent,
salty, full, and long-lasting flavor.


Serve young cheeses with
vegetables; aged ones with bread and
olives or grated over pasta.

hoW To EnjoY

ITALY Sicily
Age 4–12 months
Weight and Shape 9–261⁄2lb (4–12kg),
Size D. 51⁄2–15in (14–38cm), H. 4–7in
Milk Ewe
Classification Hard
Producer Various

The name of a cheese is always given in
the language of the cheese’s origin,
followed by any designation of origin
status if it applies.


This describes cheese in terms of its
identity, giving useful information about
its makers and origins.

Tasting Notes

These describe the aroma, flavor,
texture, and finish of the cheese.

How to Enjoy

This offers suggestions on how best
to enjoy the cheese, including cooking
ideas and wine accompaniments.

USing ThiS book


This gives the age or range of ages in
which a cheese is at its best.



A quick reference to the country that
produces the cheese. The red dot
indicates the general location or region
of the cheesemaker. Where there is no
red dot, the cheese is produced all over
the country.



For ease of recognition, this shows a
cheese as it is sold. generally, this
shows both the exterior and the interior
of the cheese.


This symbol provides an at-a-glance
visual guide to the approximate size of
the cheese in relation to an averagedsized hand. When a cheese has its size
listed as “various,” the symbol indicates
the size of the cheese photographed.
Where the symbol is missing, the sizing
information was unavailable, or the
cheese is soft and sold in tubs or pots.

26/05/2009 15:34

Fresh Cheeses
Ready to eat within a few days, or even hours, of being made, fresh cheeses are
so young that they barely have time to develop any more than a whisper of the
milk’s potential flavor, so the taste is typically described as lactic or milky,
sweet, lemony, refreshing, citrus, or acidic. This does not mean they are
bland. On the contrary, the skill of the true craftsman can coax the
subtle flavors from the milk; the sweet, grassy notes of cow’s milk; the
aromatic, herbaceous character of goat’s milk, with its hints of white
wine and crushed almonds; the richness of ewe’s milk that suggests
Brazil nuts, caramelized onions, and roast lamb; the leathery, earthy
undertones of buffalo’s milk.



Defining Features


Fresh cheeses are easy to recognize because
they are very white, usually shiny, and have
no rind. Beyond their defining features shown
below, however, there is much variety among
them, particularly in terms of texture (see
Excellent Examples, opposite).

FLAVOR Milky with a

gentle acidity that is
lemony fresh or slightly
sharp like yogurt or
sour cream.


They have the
lowest fat content
of all the cheese
percent per 3.5oz.

MOIST The high moisture content of fresh
cheeses makes them feel soft on the palate.
TEXTURE Types vary
crumbly, spreadable,
mousse-like, creamy,
stringy like Mozzarella,
or firm and sliceable
like Halloumi.

From one to seven
days or up to 12
months pickled in
brine or oil.

RIND No rind, so
there is little difference
between the interior
and exterior.

010-011_Fresh.indd 10 10


COLOR White in color

have the highest
moisture content
of all the cheese
categories, which
means they have a
very short shelf life.

and usually shiny.

26/05/2009 15:34

Excellent Examples

How They’re Made
The most common fresh cheeses
such as fromage frais or cottage
cheese are made by heating the
milk then adding a starter culture
of bacteria that will cause the milk
to curdle. Excess whey is then
drained off and the loose curd
is put into cheesecloth or small
molds for a few hours before being
turned out and salted. A similar
process, shown here, is used to
produce fresh cheeses from whey,
such as Ricotta.


A harder, denser
texture than other
fresh cheeses
because the curd has
been “kneaded”.The
brine it is preserved
in gives it a salty
tang. (See p262–63.)

Firstly, the whey, left over from making hard cheese,
is heated with a little vinegar to raise its acidity and
cause the protein to rise to the surface in tiny lumps.


A soft, moist,
fragile whey
(See p135).



4 The fragile curds are
turned over once in the
basket and when
removed will bear the
imprint of the mold.

How to enjoy
UncookED The microscopic fat globules
trapped in fresh cheeses absorb and
concentrate the flavors of the other
ingredients, transforming the simplest
dishes into classics like Feta in a Greek
salad, cream cheese with smoked salmon or
Mascarpone in tiramasu. consequently,
fresh cheese is used to add texture to a
recipe rather than to give it additional
flavor. Fresh cheeses destined for the
cheeseboard are often decorated, rolled,
or dusted in ash, herbs, or spices to
enhance their appearance and flavor.

010-011_Fresh.indd 11 11

cookED Fresh cheeses are at their best
when melted or baked in classic dishes,
such as Feta in spanokopitta, Ricotta in
ravioli, or Mozzarella on pizza. However,
their high moisture content and loose
texture means they fall apart in sauces
and become tough when broiled too long.
WiTH DRinkS With their high acidity,
fresh cheeses are best with crisp, white
wines or cider. For a non-alcoholic
alternative try apple juice or elderflower
cordial. However, when fresh cheeses are
combined with other ingredients choose a
wine that complements the more
dominant flavors.


Dense, creamy, and crumbly in texture,
it is preserved in brine, giving it a salty
taste and texture. (See pp.258–59).


Once firm, the curd lumps are scooped The curds are left to drain slowly. The yield is very low,
only a few ounces from a gallon of whey.
into open-weave basket molds.


Because the fresh curd is placed in hot
water, this cheese is very elastic and can be
stretched and formed into different shapes.
(See pp120–21).


Sweet in flavor, it
is made by
heating cream
rather than milk.
(See p122).

26/05/2009 15:34

Aged Fresh Cheeses
As the name implies, these are fresh cheeses that have been allowed to age and
dry out in special temperature- and humidity-controlled caves or cellars, where
a multitude of molds and yeasts are encouraged to grow on the rind. The bestknown are made in the Loire in France; they are the small rounds, pyramids,
cones, bells, and logs you see in small, straw-lined, wooden boxes on rickety
tables in French markets, but are increasingly made around the world.
These creamy and aromatic cheeses are mostly goat’s cheeses and often
covered in ash, herbs, or spices, or wrapped in vine or chestnut leaves over
which the molds grow. When made with cow’s or ewe’s milk the texture is
softer, the molds less aggressive, and the taste creamier and sweeter.



Defining Features


Their distinctive thin, wrinkled rinds are coated
with a myriad of molds and yeasts (the most
dominant of which are splashes of steely gray
or blue molds called Penicillium glaucum) and
dusted with a thin layer of Penicillium candidum
or Geometricium candidum. Thinner cheeses develop
a softer rind with less mold and become almost
runny just beneath the rind. As it ages the cheese
develops a texture some call “claggy”, and coats
the roof of the mouth.

WRINKLES As the cheese matures, wrinkles

deepen and the interior becomes flaky.


lose moisture and
shrink as they age.
After about four
weeks 50 percent of
their original weight
is lost.


They have a fat
content of 22–23
percent per 3.5oz.

RIND The thin
wrinkled rind is
dusted with white
mold and blotches of
gray, and blue.
AGE It is

ripe from
10–30 days.

cheeses age, the texture
inside gradually
changes from moist,
and slightly crumbly to
dense, compact, flaky
and brittle.

012-013_AgedFresh.indd 12 12

FLAVOR Creamy when
COLOR Since most are

made with goat’s milk
they have a very pale,
almost white, interior.

young, it becomes nutty
like ground almonds,
and turns intensely
goaty and sharp as the
cheese ages.

26/05/2009 15:35

How They’re Made
When left to age naturally, usually in
cool cellars, the protein-rich surface
of fresh cheese attracts a range of
natural microflora, each contributing
to the ripening process. In the hands
of a competent affineur, they will age
gracefully and be sold at varying stages
of ripeness depending on the tastes of
the clientèle. each will develop its own
individual character that is influenced
by the cheesemaker, animals, grazing,
season, and microclimate in which they
are made and ripened. The following is a
general outline of the stages through
which these cheeses pass.

Excellent Examples

The delicate, pure-white curd is carefully hand
ladled into individual molds and then topped up
until they are almost overflowing. The weight of
the curd gradually forces the expulsion of
the excess whey.


A rind of this truncated pyramid is encrusted
with a dusty blue-gray mold. The goat’s milk
interior is a bright white. (See p97).


This bell-shaped
example from France
has a rind that is
dusted with a fine
white mold.
(See p52).

Once the level of the curd has dropped, the
base of each cheese is sprinkled with salt to
speed up the expulsion of the remaining whey.

Gradually over the next few days the cheese
develops a soft, thin almost opaque rind that
gradually shrinks and becomes wrinkled.

How to enjoy
Uncooked The texture and rind of the
various aged fresh cheeses do not lend
themselves to spreads or dips but no
cheeseboard is truly complete without one
of these attractive, rustic-looking cheeses.
cooked chèvre Salad is ubiquitous
throughout France, but is not, as so many
chefs think, simply a “goat’s cheese salad”.
In fact it is made with an aged fresh cheese,
typically crottin de chavignol (see p54),

012-013_AgedFresh.indd 13 13

After a few hours, the cheeses are firm enough
to retain their shape and are turned out onto
draining trays. At this stage it is a fresh cheese.

This canadian log has a creamy texture
that is softer and more
yielding just under the
rind. (See p319).

Aged FreSh cheeSeS

Vicky’s Spring Splendour

Within 9–12 days a layer of white Penicillium
candidum develops followed by a pale-blue mold
that darkens and covers the cheese.
sliced, drizzled with olive oil and broiled on
rounds of baguette. To use any other type of
goat’s cheese is a travesty since you will not
get that wonderful nutty, aromatic flavor
characteristic of these cheeses when broiled
or baked.
WITh drInkS A crisp, white Sauvignon
Blanc, Viognier, or rosé is perfect,
especially if it is from the same area as
the cheese. Alternatively, a light ale or
beer brings out the nutty side of the
cheese and the taste of the hops.


Based on French-style
aged fresh cheeses,
Israel’s ketem illustrates the growing
popularity of this cheese type. (See p264).

St. Tola

This Irish cheese is produced in a
large log shape and
has a silky,
creamy texture.
(See p225).

26/05/2009 15:35

Soft White Cheeses
Camembert de Normandie and Brie de Meaux are the best-known examples
and the inspiration behind the variations produced around the world. Soft
white cheeses typically have a white crust, a slightly grainy to almost
runny texture, and a wonderful aroma of mushrooms. The mildest
cheeses hint of sweet hay and button mushrooms; the strongest
taste like creamy, wild mushroom soup and finish with the peppery
bite of dandelions, and have an earthy aroma reminiscent of cool
cellars and mushrooms warmed in butter. Those made with ewe’s
milk have a subtle sweetness with just a hint of roast lamb or lanolin,
while those made with goat’s milk taste of almonds or even marzipan.



Defining Features


Factory-made varieties tend to have a thick,
velvety rind that seems more like a wrapping than
an integral part of the cheese. In contrast, artisan
examples grow a thinner, white crust that can be
stained with reddish pigments or yellow-gray
blotches of mold. The coat protects the cheese from
drying out and speeds up the ripening process; hence,
they are sometimes called mold-ripened cheeses.
RIND Thin and crusty

with a dusting of white
mold to thick and velvety.

MOISTURE They have

a high moisture content,
which keeps fat
content low.

MILK The milk used to make the cheese
determines the color of the interior.


a low fat content of 24–
26 percent per 3.5oz; but
75 percent if made with
extra cream.

COLOR These cheeses can be
made from cow’s, goat’s, ewe’s,
buffalo’s, and even camel’s milks.
The color varies: stark white
when made from goat’s milk,
butter-yellow when made with
Jersey or Guernsey cow’s milk.

AGE It is considered

ripe from 21 days,
depending on the size.

014-015_SoftWhite.indd 14 14

FLAVOR Depending on
the milk used, wild
mushrooms, almonds,
roast lamb, and lanolin
can all be tasted.

TEXTURE Slightly
chalky when young, it
softens and becomes
creamy when mature.

26/05/2009 11:12

How They’re Made
to achieve their almost-liquid texture,
soft white cheeses must retain a high
percentage of whey. this means that the
curds must be scooped gently into the
molds. during this part of the process
only the weight of the curd is used to
lightly press out the excess whey. the
surface of the cheese is then enveloped
in a white, velvety Penicillium
candidum coat that is made up of
millions of microscopic mushrooms of
the penicillin family. this is where the
mushroomy aroma and taste originate.

Excellent Examples

Brie de Melun


Like most Bries, Brie de Melun has a strong
mushroom flavor, but is less well known than
Brie de Meaux. (see p42).

The floppy, jelly-like curd is gently scooped
from the vat and put layer upon layer into the
round, high-sided hoops, or molds, until full.

Camembert de Normandie

France’s other famous soft white comes
packed in wooden boxes. ripe examples
have pink or brown-tinged rinds. (see p44).

After receiving a sprinkling of salt, they are
moved to a room where the white mold, and
sometimes others, is introduced.


its buttercup-yellow interior is a result of
the high carotene content of the Jersey
cow’s milk it is made with. (see p195).

The mold is naturally attracted to the
moist, protein-rich surface, and gradually
spreads over the entire the cheese.

How to Enjoy
UnCooked these wonderful cheeses
are at their very best when served at
room temperature with crusty bread
and a glass of wine.
Cooked A popular recipe involves
baking a small soft white cheese in the
oven for about 15 minutes and scooping
out the molten interior with chunks of
bread or raw vegetables. these cheeses
also broil well; try it on a croissant layered

014-015_SoftWhite.indd 15 15

soFt White Cheeses

Once firm, the cheese is turned out of the
molds and a disc is placed on top of each one,
gently pressing out any remaining whey.


After two weeks its velvety white coat has
formed. Colorful molds may appear but most
cheesemakers encourage only the purest white.
with roasted peppers or sweet chutney, but
cut off the rind around the sides, because
it will become dry and a little bitter.
With drinks the French serve cider or
calvados with Camembert, Chardonnay
with Brie de Meaux, and Champagne
with Chaource. As a general rule, goat’s or
ewe’s milk variations work very well with
similar wines. Alternatively, try a tawny
Port with a strong soft white. A hoppy
pale ale (rather than a bitter beer) works
with the milder, sweeter cheeses.


extra cream added to the milk triples its fat
content to 75 percent per 3.5oz and gives
this cheese a wickedly rich feel. (see p42).

Capricorn Goat
one of england’s
first soft white
goat cheeses,
it has a stark
white interior
typical of
goat’s milk
(see p175).

26/05/2009 11:12

Semi-Soft Cheeses
thin and drY tO Orange and sticKY rind ∙ MiLd tO Pungent ∙ ruBBerY tO runnY
semi-soft cheeses vary in appearance and texture more than any other
cheese type, but can be divided into two styles. dry rind cheeses ripen
slowly and range from springy, mild, sweet, and nutty with barely formed
rinds, to rubbery, floral, and pungent with thick leathery rinds. When
made with goat’s milk, they are mild and nutty, with a hint of marzipan.
those with a sticky orange rind are called washed-rind cheeses and are
softer and have a pungent, savory, farm-yardy, smoky, and even meaty
taste and aroma. they tend to be grainy, with a softening just under
the rind when young, and become soft and supple with age. the
washed-rind type includes those known as trappist or monastery-style.


understanding cheese

Defining Features


all semi-soft cheeses are washed in brine to
discourage unwanted molds. dry rind types
develop anything from a thin, relatively blandlooking rind, to a colorful coat of gray mold
splashed with red, yellow, and white molds, over
a pinkish leathery rind. Washed-rind examples
that are regularly treated with brine have wet,
sticky, pale orange to russet-red rinds. the
more they are washed, the
softer, stickier, and
smellier the rind.

FlavOR Depending on

the rind, some are buttery
and mellow, while others
are smoky and meaty.

They have a fat
content of 22–30
percent per 3.5oz.

lIQUID Some washed-rind cheeses are

almost liquid when ripe.

RIND They vary from barely
formed to a thick, leathery
gray coat, or one that is shiny,
sticky, and orange.

agE It is considered

ripe from three
to three months.


COlOR The interior can vary

from a pale straw color to
creamy yellow in color.

016-017_SemiSoft.indd 16 16

TEXTURE Both dry and
washed-rind cheeses soften
greatly. The texture of semi-soft
cheeses ranges from rubbery and
elastic to supple or even runny.

They retain a lot of
moisture as they are
only lightly pressed,
if at all. Washing
seals the rind and
also locks in moisture.

26/05/2009 11:12

How They’re Made
semi-soft cheeses are washed in
numerous ways, each creating a different
style of rind. those soaked in brine for a
few hours or days and then left to dry
out develop a pale, barely formed to thin
pink-tinged leathery rind. splashing or
spraying the cheese creates a thin, sticky,
pale orange rind, like the stinking Bishop
example shown here, but they become
stickier and brighter with more frequent
washing. those dipped in, or wiped with,
brine by hand are called smear-ripened.

Excellent Examples

the fine, dry rind,
feels gritty and
has patches of
gray and white
molds. A stamp
of quality and
authenticity marks its
rind. (see pp138–39).

Rennet is added to the milk to coagulate it.
Along with the starter culture, this separates the
curds from the whey.

Stinking Bishop

this washed-rind cheese is
splashed or rubbed in
brine mixed with perry.
it is named after the
pear variety
used to make
the perry.
(see p198).

Once removed from its mold, it is bound with
a thin strip of wood and hand washed with a
mix of brine and perry (or fermented pear juice).


frequent washing and ripening in very
humid cellars creates the bright color. the
rind shrinks and wrinkles as it ages, and
can also be finely dusted with mold.
(see p63).

Any white mold that grows is knocked out
by the washing process and, after five to six
weeks, the rind becomes very soft.

How to Enjoy
Uncooked mild semi-soft cheeses such
as edam or havarti are classic breakfast
cheeses, while the stronger varieties are
essential on any cheeseboard.
cooked the dry rind cheeses are
superb when broiled since their rubbery
texture stretches but holds its shape—
but for the same reason they do not work
well in sauces. Washed-rind cheeses,
however, melt superbly in sauces,
although a little goes a long way. When

016-017_SemiSoft.indd 17 17

semi-soft cheeses

Perforated molds let the whey drain from
the curd, although some semi-soft cheeses may
be lightly pressed.

The final cheese develops a thin, sticky golden
rind, and the texture is so soft that it literally
oozes out when it is cut.
they are baked whole, they become
sweeter and more savory, which makes
them an amazing starter.
With drinks the milder cheeses need
a chardonnay, a light red like merlot, or
beer, but more acidic wines will make the
cheese taste sour. the pungent washedrind cheeses are superb with beers, ciders,
and sweeter grape varieties such as
riesling or Gewürztraminer. these wines
highlight the fruity, sweet meadow-flower
character that is usually hidden beneath
their farm-yardy aroma and taste.


edam is a washed-curd cheese (see p19)
and has a sweet flavor, a rubbery texture,
and a very thin, barely formed rind dipped
in a protective coat of red wax. (see p230).

Vacherin Mont d’Or
the thick rind of
this cheese
protects the
moisture in
the interior,
and as a result
the interior is
a runny liquid.
(see p245).

26/05/2009 11:12

Hard Cheeses
rOugh Or POLished rind ∙ cruMBLY tO BrittLe ∙ cOMPLeX FLaVOrs
the large wheels, cylinders, and drums of hard cheese found in all traditional
cheesemaking countries are typically made with cow’s, goat’s, or ewe’s milks.
their rinds range across the spectrum from smooth with polished rinds to
rough and pockmarked like the moon’s surface. Flavors grow complex as
they mature; very old hard cheeses such as Parmigiano-reggiano and
dry Jack become granular, giving the cheese a crunchy feel in the mouth.
classic ewe’s milk hard cheeses, such as Manchego and Pecorino, have a
dense, slightly grainy texture with an oily-yet-dry feel in the mouth, a
characteristic sweet, caramelized onion flavor, and an aroma reminiscent of
roast lamb or wet wool. hard goat’s milk cheeses have a subtle almond taste.


understanding cheese

Defining Features


hard cheeses can vary greatly in appearance.
traditional hard British cheeses are clothbound
drums or tall cylinders. the dutch and swiss tend
to make large boulders or wheels with polished or
waxed rinds. spanish cheeses usually bear the
imprint of plaited reeds or the wooden molds in
which they were drained. Producers in France and
italy make hundreds of different hard cheeses,
from smooth barrel-shaped Pecorino to
enormous wheels of Beaufort,
with its thin, tough rind.

FLAVOR When young
they are slightly sharp or
buttery; with age they
dry out and the intensity
increases, becoming
fruity and tangy.

BUBBLES The holes in Swiss-style cheeses are

formed by gas bubbles created when the
cheese is moved to a warm room for secondary
ripening, activating the starter culture.

COLOR This varies
with the seasons—
pale when animals
are hay-fed in winter,
but brighter yellows
come with fresh
summer grazing.


MOISTURE The amount of whey

expelled determines the texture.
The more moisture removed, the
longer the maturation, and more
complex the final flavors.

018-019_Hard.indd 18 18

category ranges from
textures that are
creamy, to flexible,
through to brittle.

They have a fat
content of 28–34
percent per 3.5oz.


ripe from a
few weeks
old to
three years.

This varies
from thin and
leathery to very
hard and thick.
Some types are
waxed, polished
or bound in cloth.

26/05/2009 11:12

How They’re Made
hard cheeses fall into one of two categories.
Pressed uncooked cheeses are lightly
pressed for a few hours and eaten from
one week old when still mild and springy.
cooked and pressed cheeses are heated
in the whey and then pressed. different
temperatures give various results. other
methods include milling the curds
between cutting and pressing to expel
extra whey and create a finer texture;
soaking in brine to achieve a thick rind;
or washing the curds in hot water to
scald them, creating a supple texture.


Excellent Examples

After the coagulation process, the cheese
curd is sliced using different-sized giant combs
with knife-sharp wires.

the interior has tiny
eyeholes, and an oily
sheen typical of
hard ewe’s milk
cheeses. the
wooden board on
which it is drained
makes the ridges on the
base. (see pp162–63).


the milk is heated
to 129°F (54°c),
a process known
as thermizing,
resulting in sweet,
fruity flavors and
an elastic texture.
(see p242–43).


Grana Padano

curds cut into rice-sized pieces give this
cheese a brittle texture. it has a thick, hard
rind from soaking in brine for 21 days and
tastes sweet, like ripe pineapple. (see p119).

hard cheeses

When making washed-curd cheeses such
Some cheeses, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano,
as Gouda, hot water is added to the vat of curd, are placed in brine baths for up to 21 days,
which gives the cheese a sweeter taste.
where the salt draws out more of the whey.


Pressing is often carried out by hand. The
pressure is gradually increased to avoid
loosing too much whey too quickly.

How to Enjoy
Uncooked the most versatile of any
cheese type, hard cheeses are ideal for
cheeseboards. they can also be shaved or
grated into salads, dips, and dressings, for
instance Parmigiano-reggiano in pesto.
cooked hard cheeses play an integral
role in the culinary history of the country
where they are made. thermized cheeses
(see emmentaler, right) such as Gruyère
and Beaufort become stretchy when
heated, making them perfect for broiling
or fondues rather than in sauces. others

018-019_Hard.indd 19 19

To prevent moisture loss as they ripen, some
cheeses are sealed with wax, wrapped in cloth, or
sometimes rubbed with lard.

cheddar curds are cooked at 104°F (40°c),
then milled before being pressed to create a
smooth, very creamy, texture
and a savory, raw-onion
tang. (see


melt completely, while very hard cheeses
such as Parmigiano-reggiano simply
dissolve, adding a subtle taste but not
texture; both these styles are excellent
when added to sauces, pasta, and soups.
With drinks their high fat content
and stronger, more intense taste marries
best with red wines. they absorb the
rough edges of young wines or soften
the tannin in wines such as cabernet
sauvignon or Barolo. White wines bring
out the fruitier nature of the cheese, while
beer and cider, with their natural acidity,
make equally good companions.


this cheese has a dry crust that is often
attacked by harmless cheese mites, creating
a rind like a rusty cannonball. (see p68).

26/05/2009 17:39

Blue Cheeses
Blue molds are members of the penicillin family but, unlike white molds,
they grow inside a cheese. They create a seemingly endless array of
wonderful cheeses from dense, buttery Stilton to sweet Gorgonzola with
its luscious, gooey texture and spicy tang. Ewe’s milk blue cheeses
such as Roquefort retain the sweet, burnt-caramel taste of the
milk that offsets the sharp, salty, steely blue finish. Most
European blues are wrapped in tin foil, ensuring their rinds
remain damp and sticky and develop a multitude of molds layered
on them, while traditional British blues have rough, dry, crusty,
orange-brown rinds, often splashed with blue and gray molds.



Defining Features


There is extraordinary variety in taste and
texture, but blues all have a spicy, slightly
metallic tang, often taste saltier than other
cheeses, and attract a rainbow of colorful
molds that exude a powerful aroma. The
moist interiors of wet rind blues develop
wide uneven streaks and pockets of blue,
whereas dry rind blues have a dense,
compact texture that develops thinner,
longer streaks and looks like shattered
porcelain when cut. There are also soft
white blues, which have white rinds and
patches of blue.
STREAKS Erratic lines and intense pockets of

mold typify these cheeses.

FLAVOR Some are creamy
and mellow, others are sweeter,
and more herbaceous, while
high acid, high moisture blues
are often gritty and have a
salty finish.

They typically
have a fat
content of 28–34
percent per

COLOR There are
various strains of blue
mold, each of which
give the cheese its own
distinct appearance.

RIND This ranges from
wet with gray, blue, and
white molds, to dry,
rough, and crusty.

TEXTURE Blues vary greatly in
texture; they can range from dense
and compact to creamy and sticky.

020-021_Blue.indd 20 20

MOISTURE Most blues

have a moist interior,
which encourages the mold
to develop.

AGE Usually

considered ripe
from 1–6 months.

26/05/2009 15:35

How They’re Made
Cheeses were once ripened in caves,
stone cellars, or barns, which were
havens for blue molds in particular. they
made their way into the warm interior
through cracks in the rind and grew in
the gaps in the fresh curd. today, the
blue mold is added to the milk in powder
form, then the young cheese is pierced to
allow air to enter and the mold to turn
blue. Soft white cheeses must be injected
with molds, as they are too creamy and
dense for the mold to spread naturally.

Excellent Examples

Along with the starter culture, penicillin mold
is added to the warm milk or sometimes, as
shown here, to the freshly formed curd.


this cheese has the dry rind typical of many
British blue cheeses. the dense buttery
interior forces the blue mold to develop as
thin broken streaks. (See pp192–193).

Blue cheeses are never pressed. The curd
must remain loosely packed, leaving space for
the blue mold to grow and spread.

After two or three weeks, the sides of most
types of blue cheese are scraped smooth to cover
any cracks before being rubbed with salt.



After a few weeks the young cheese is pierced To check the texture and the even spread of
with rods to create tunnels in the curd. Exposed the blue mold, a grader will remove a plug of
cheese with a cheese “iron” and then replace it.
to air, the blue mold flourishes in these gaps.

How to Enjoy
UnCOOkEd Blue cheeses are essential on
any cheese platter and, with the exception
of the brie-style blues, also add another
dimension to salads especially when
crumbled over flageolet beans, walnuts,
and peppery arugula dressed with a honey
vinaigrette. Walnut bread is especially good
with blue cheeses, and a drizzle of honey
brings out the subtlety of the cheese.
COOkEd Stir small amounts into pasta,
soups, and sauces to elevate dishes into

020-021_Blue.indd 21 21


the famous ewe’s milk blue has a loose,
moist interior, allowing Penicillium
roqueforti to grow en masse as thin streaks
and large scattered pockets. (See pp82–83).




thick, blue-green streaks and scattered
patches fill the interior. its thin wet, sticky
rind, finely dusted with mold, typifies
traditional European blues. (See pp110–11).


classics like celery and Stilton soup; pasta
with pinenuts and Gorgonzola; or grilled
steak with blue cheese sauce.
WitH drinkS try a vintage or latebottled-vintage (LBV) Port rather than
the sweeter, less complex tawny or ruby
Ports, as they tend to overpower the
majority of blue cheeses. if Port is not to
your taste, a sweet or dry riesling can
make a perfect partner. Match the dessert
wine Sauternes only with the very sharp,
salty, steely blues, such as roquefort, with
its sweet undertones.

Bavaria Blu

this is a soft white-style blue. Pockets
(rather than streaks) of blue result from
injecting blue mold directly into this
creamy, dense cheese. (See p236).

26/05/2009 15:35

Flavor-added Cheeses
With their bright colors, the vast array of flavor-added cheeses
stands out on deli counters across the world. Smoked cheeses have
existed since humans learned to make hard cheeses and stored them
near their wood fires, while in the 16th century, Dutch cheesemakers
were quick to incorporate the exotic spices brought back from the
East Indies into Edam and Gouda, producing a tantalizing mélange
of flavors. Today, most flavor-added cheeses are well-known hard or
semi-soft cheeses combined with fruit, spices, and herbs.


Defining Features

A fine gray-white mold
grows across the cheese,
emphasizing the nettles.

Flavor-added cheeses can be divided into four
distinct types. Natural smoked cheeses have a
golden brown to caramel-colored rind but the
internal color is not affected. Traditional-style
examples (based on the original Dutch method
where the ingredients are matured with the fresh
curds) absorb and intensify the aroma and essence
of the added ingredients. Rind-flavored cheeses
have various ingredients, such as vine leaves,
toasted hops, or grape-must, pressed into the rind.
The majority, however, are re-formed cheeses,
where a young cheese is broken up, blended with
added ingredients, then re-formed.

Yarg Cornish

Probably the best-known
British example of a
rind-flavored cheese,
its elegant rind of
interwoven forest-green
nettles imparts a subtle
flavor. (See pp200–201).

One of only a
few cheeses with
nuts added.

Wensleydale with Cranberries

The most successful re-formed flavor-added
cheeses blend young, low-acid cheeses with
sweet, dried fruit. Here, the young hard
cheese Wensleydale has been crumbled up
with cranberries. (See Wensleydale, p204).


HEREFORD HOP Its rind is
encrusted with toasted hops


This traditional-style
Spanish cheese has a
semi-soft texture and
is made by adding local
crushed walnuts
and hazelnuts.
(See p164).

After pressing,
the re-formed
cheese is softer than
the original.

022-023_FlavourAdded.indd 22 22

26/05/2009 15:35

How to Enjoy
Uncooked The choice of flavors to
add to cheese is limited only by the
imagination of the cheesemaker.
Flavor-added cheeses with dried fruit are
typical served in place of dessert, while
only those with garlic, herbs, chives or
that are smoked work in salads. Weird
combinations such as those with chocolate,
pickles, or fruitcake are curiosities best
left to those who enjoy experimenting
with unconventional flavors.
cooked Traditionally-made semi-soft
or hard flavored cheeses behave like their

unflavored counterparts when cooked and
can add character to basics like baked
potatoes or pasta—smoked cheeses work
especially well for this. Additional ideas
can be found under the entries for
individual cheeses.
WiTh dRinkS Beers nicely complement
savory-flavored cheeses with onion,
chives, garlic, oak smoke, and chiles,
while the sweet dessert cheeses are
better with cider or chardonnay. The
tannin and red berry flavor of red
wines tends to clash with all but the
hard cheeses like cheddar with garlic
or Gouda with peppercorns.

Nagelkaas means “nail cheese.”
This refers to the shape of the cloves
studded in its interior.


Smoked cheeses are matured over
natural fires. Traditional flavor-added
cheeses are made by adding the flavor
ingredients to the curd of semi-soft and
hard cheeses. Rind-flavored cheeses are
covered with the flavor ingredient after
the cheese has been pressed. Re-formed
cheeses are made by breaking up the
curd of a young hard cheese, blending it
with different flavors, then re-forming
and pressing it.

Herbs & Garlic

Fresh herbs can
deteriorate within
a cheese’s damp
interior, so they
are mostly
used dried.
include sage,
nettles, basil,
rosemary, and
lavender. Garlic and
chives are also popular.


nuts are not commonly
used, but walnuts are
sometimes added to
fresh cheeses because
they have a high acidity
and ripen quickly.

Wonderful smoky
bacon taste, and
nut-brown rind.


A great example of a natural
smoked cheese, idiazabal was
traditionally stored in the rafters
of shepherds’ huts in northern
Spain, where the young cheeses
would absorb the smoke from
the wood fires. Today, they are
cold-smoked in special
rooms over a few days.
(See p157).

F L AV o R - A d d e d c h e e S e S

This traditional-style
flavor-added cheese from the
netherlands is based
on a Gouda recipe and uses
cloves. The orange color
comes from adding annatto
(a natural dye derived from
the Bixa orellana seed),
and provides an attractive
contrast to the dark cloves.
(See p231).

How They’re Made


cumin, caraway seeds, black
or red peppercorns, paprika,
and cloves are widely used as
they make natural partners
with the savory tang of
hard cheeses.


Dried Fruit

Adding fruit is a
modern trend. The
most popular are
candied citrus, dried
berries, apple flakes,
figs, and apricots.

022-023_FlavourAdded.indd 23 23

26/05/2009 15:35

The Perfect Cheeseboard
there are no hard and fast rules to determining a cheese category
or type, but some guidance can enable you to create an amazing and
memorable cheeseboard. if you’re having your cheeseboard with a
meal, make sure you enjoy it after the main meal but before dessert.

The baSICS
buy the cheeses as near to the time
you want to eat them as possible—they
will not improve in a refrigerator.

Grilled vegetables, dried fruit, apples,
and toasted walnuts work well with
almost all cheeses.
Celery and grapes can be enjoyed with
blues and strong hard cheeses.
Crusty or fruity bread, rather than
crackers, allow you to experience the texture
and feel of the cheeses in your mouth.

Yarg Cornish Cheese

Shop somewhere that encourages
you to taste before purchasing.
Support your local cheesemakers.


Search for medal winners and
the aOc, dOc, or PdO label on
european cheeses.

Taleggio pp138–139

understanding cheese

remove cheeses from the refrigerator
at least an hour before serving so that
they come to room temperature.
The board
an elegant wooden board, chunk of
driftwood, or wicker basket lined with
linen cloth gives the cheese a fresh and
natural appearance.
Slate looks great; marble or granite is
marvelous, but is often very heavy!
decorate the board with some wild
flowers, herbs, or seasonal leaves.
alternatively, prepare individual
plates with small chunks and wedges
of cheese.

aGed freSh

Sainte-Maure de
Touraine pp92–93

drIed fIGS

024-025_Cheeseboard.indd 24 24

26/05/2009 11:12

One superb large cheese is better than
three or four small wedges, which can be in
danger of drying out quickly.
Color and shape should come from an
interesting combination of cheeses, not from
the garnishes.
Allow around 2oz (55g) of each cheese
per person.

Berkswell p173

Camembert de
Normandie p44

Offer diversity by choosing cheeses with
different textures. Use the classifications on
pages 10–23 to give you an idea of the range
of textures available.
For variety of flavor, provide at least one
goat’s or sheep’s milk cheese, rather than
relying only on cow’s milk cheeses.
Pre-cut a couple of wedges to show guests
how it’s done. You could remove the rind
from blue or hard cheeses to keep anyone
from cutting across the wedge instead of into
smaller wedges.

the union of cheese and wine has
moved writers to fill endless columns
with riveting descriptions of
distinguished or disreputable
marriages, but there really is no right
or wrong. some combinations simply
make the senses buzz while others
definitely do not.


Valdeón p166

the perfect cheeseboard

Fresh, Aged Fresh, and Soft White
cheeses prefer dry, crisp fruity wines
and ciders that won’t dominate.
Semi-soft cheeses, especially washed
rind, need a feisty, aromatic white or
eau de vie to pair with their sweetness.
Hard cheeses pair well with red wines.
the harder and darker the cheese, the
heavier, richer, and redder the wine.
Blue cheeses work superbly with
sweet pudding wines or aromatic
whites. the sweetness cuts through the
sharpness of the cheese.
Flavor-added cheeses work
with different types of wines; it
really depends on what flavor
has been added.



Innes Button p184

024-025_Cheeseboard.indd 25 25

26/05/2009 11:12


Boulette d



★ AOC, DOC, DOP, PGI, or PDO cheeses
Produced only here
Produced throughout the region

Pont-l’Evêque ★

Cœur de Neufchâtel ★

Livarot ★

Camembert de Normandie ★,
Livarot ★,
Pavé d’Auge

north oF France


Pays de La Loire
Buchette Pont d’Yeu,
Curé Nantais ,
Embruns aux Algues,

Brebis du Lochois,

bAy of bISCAy

100 miles
100 km

026-029_FranceIntro.indd 26 26

22/05/2009 15:35

Sablé de Wissant

Abbaye du Mont des Cats ★
Crayeux de Roncq

Boulette d’Avesnes
Bergues ★,
Boulette de Cambrai,
Forme d’Antoine,
Fruité du Boulonnais,
Maroilles ★,
Pavé du Nord,

the history of cheese is entwined with the history of france.
it crosses the path of historical figures, blends with the role of
religion, and participates in the evolution of science. during
the german occupation, Winston churchill emphasized the
importance of cheese in france, stating that, “a country
producing almost 360 varieties of cheese cannot die.”
today, a huge variety of cheeses represent the creativity
of france, which until recently was not matched elsewhere.
following President Nicolas sarkozy’s proposal to award
french cuisine and gastronomy the uNesco “heritage of
humanity” status, the world-famous cheese house, androuët,
argued in support of the cultural value of cheese during June
2008 in the french senate.

Baguette Laonnaise,

hâtel ★


Brie de Meaux ★,
Brie de Melun ★,
Brie de Nangis,

Carré de l’Est,
Munster ★

Carré de l’Est,
Epoisses de Bourgogne ★

Munster ★

Chaource ★

Berrichon ★,
Cœur de Touraine,
Crottin de Chavignol ★,
Feuille de Dreux,
Pavé Blésois,
Pouligny-Saint-Pierre ★,
Sainte-Maure de Touraine ★,
Selles-sur-Cher ★,
Valencay ★

026-029_FranceIntro.indd 27 27

Langres ★

Cendré de Vergy,
Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vire

Cendré de Vergy,
Palet de Bourgogne

Ami du Chambertin,
Plaisir au Chablis,
Dôme de Cabasses,
Epoisses de Bourgogne ★,
Mâconnais ★,

Abbaye de Cîteaux
Bleu de Gex Haut-Jura ★,
Comté ★,
Mont d’Or ★,
Morbier ★

22/05/2009 15:35

Bonde de Gâtine

Capri Lezeen
Chabichou du Poitou ★,
Sainte-Maure de Touraine ★,
Taupinette Charentaise,
Tomme de Chèvre des Charentes,
Trois Cornes de Vendée

Bleu d’Auvergne ★,
Bleu des Causses ★,
Bleu de Chèvre,
Brique du Forez,
Cantal ★,
Crémeux du Puy,
Fourme d’Ambert ★,
Saint-Nectaire ★



bay of biscay

Cendré de Niort

Trappe d’Echourgnac

Laguiole ★

south of fRanCe
Ossau-Iraty ★,
Rocamadour ★

Abbaye Notre-Dame de Belloc

Délice des Cabasses,
Lou Rocaillou,
Lou Sotch,
Bleu de Chèvre,
Petit Fiancé des Pyrénées,
Roquefort ★,
Rouelle du Tarn,
Tomme Caprine des Pyrénées

Bouyguette des Collines,
Lingot de la Ginestarie,
Pavé de la Ginestarie,
Pélardon ★

Cabri Ariégeois


026-029_FranceIntro.indd 28 28

22/05/2009 15:35

south of
Abondance ★,
Arômes au Gêne de Marc,
Tomme de Chartreux
Banon ★,
Banon aux Baies Roses ★,
Banon à la Sarriette,
Beaufort ★,
Emmental de Savoie
Bleu de Chèvre,
Bleu de Termignon,
Bleu du Vercors-Sassenage ★,
Comté ★,
Abbaye de Tamié,
Fourme de Montbrison ★,
Persillé de Tignes,
Picodon ★,
Raclette de Savoie,
Reblochon de Savoie ★,
Rigotte de Condrieu ★,
Saint-Nectaire ★,
Sarments d’Amour,
Tome des Bauges ★,
Tomme aux Herbes,
Tomme de Savoie,
Tommette Brebis de Alpes,
Tommette de Chèvre des Bauges



★ AOC, DOC, DOP, PGI, or PDO cheeses
Produced only here
Produced throughout the region


golfE Du lIoN

U Bel Fiuritu
A Casinca,
A Filetta,
Fleur du
Maquis ★,
Pot Corse,
Tomme de
Brebis Corse,
U Pecurinu,




pRovence-Alpes-cÔte d’AzuR
Rove Cendré,
Roves des Garrigues,
Tétoun de Santa Agata,
Tomme à l’Ancienne,
Truffe de Valensole


100 miles
100 km

026-029_FranceIntro.indd 29 29

22/05/2009 15:35


Abbaye de Cîteaux
The abbey of St. nicolas de citeaux
was founded 900 years ago, but it was
only in 1925 that the resident Trappist
monks began to make this delicious
and exclusive cheese. It is rarely found
outside the region because only 60 tons
of it are made each year from the milk
of 70 Montbéliarde cows.

Abbaye du Mont
des Cats

Abbaye Notre-Dame
de Belloc

Produced since 1890 by monks at the
abbey of Saint-Marie-du-Mont in
northern France, Mont des cats is a
semi-soft, washed cheese made from
the milk of cows from neighboring

This rich, fermier cheese, made from
the milk of a local red-nosed breed of
ewes, is one of the last few “abbaye” or
Trappist cheeses produced by monks at
an abbey in the traditional way.


This sweet, smooth, and
creamy cheese with a grayish-yellow
rind is worth seeking out. It is
relatively mild compared with other
washed rind, Trappist-style cheeses.


It is delicious washed
down with beer or a light, fruity
wine, such as a Loire red or a dry
white cadet.


It is delicious served with
fruity and light red wines, such as a
Beaujolais or a Bourgogne.


FRANCE Dijon, Bourgogne
Age 2 months
Weight and Shape 1lb 10oz (750g), round


Its long aging period
gives it a very rich taste, with a
pronounced caramel-like, fruity flavor.
Beneath its crusty, grayish-brown rind,
the paste is firm yet supple and softer
than most other ewe’s milk Basque
cheeses, with a surprisingly mild scent.


The thin, leathery, orange
rind covers a pale yellow, supple, elastic
interior. The cheese melts in the mouth
with a subtle, yet pronounced, milky
flavor and the rustic aroma of hay.


Size D. 7in (18cm), 11⁄2in (H. 4cm)
Milk Cow
Classification Semi-soft
Producer Abbey of St Nicolas de Cîteaux

030-031_France.indd 30 30

avoid strong red wines
that might mask the flavor; try sweet
whites, such as Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh.


FRANCE Godewaersvelde, Nord

FRANCE Urt, Aquitaine

Age 2 months

Weight and Shape 12lb (5.5kg), round

Weight and Shape 4lb 6oz (2kg), round
Size D. 10in (25cm), 1 ⁄2in (H. 3.5cm)

Milk Cow
Classification Semi-soft
Producer Abbaye du Mont des Cats

Age Best around 6 months
Size D. 10in (25cm), H. 31⁄2in (8.5cm)
Milk Ewe
Classification Hard
Producer Abbaye de Belloc

10/06/2009 16:20

Abbaye de la
This Benedictine abbey in the Yonne
region was founded in 1850 by a priest
named Dom Muard. Since 1920, it has
also become known for its delicious,
semi-soft, washed cheese. It is similar
to epoisses, and is made from the milk
of the monks’ herd of 40 cows.

Abbaye de Tamié

Abondance AOC

at the abbaye of Tamié, in the Savoie
mountains, the incumbent monks
produce a cheese that is similar to the
well-known reblochon but not as
strong. The finished product is sold
wrapped in blue paper decorated with
the white cross of Malta.

aOc-protected since 1990, this
hard cheese is produced by various
cheesemakers using milk from three
breeds of native cows, which are
renowned for their excellent milk:
Montbéliardes, Tarines, and
abondance. To sustain the quality and
flavor of the milk, the cattle are not fed
silage or any other fermented fodder.

This elegant, subtly
flavored cheese stands proudly on a
cheeseboard, served with a light and
fruity red, white or rosé Savoie wine,
such as an apremont or Mondeuse.


as part of a cheeseboard
or mix into mashed potatoes. Serve
with any lively, full-bodied red
Burgundy, such as Beaune.


This strong-smelling
cheese has an immediate subtle taste
that can be light or full flavored,
depending on the season and producer.



This semi-soft, washed
cheese has an orange-coloured, thin
leathery crust, supple, springy texture;
and a mild, sweet, milky taste.


The brick-red rind covers
a soft, smooth, and supple cheese that
has a distinct country taste and
a strong aroma.


Pair this smooth and
supple cheese with a local white wine,
preferably a dry one, or a Beaujolais.


FRANCE Saint-Léger-Vauban, Bourgogne

FRANCE Savoie, Rhône-Alpes

FRANCE Rhône-Alpes

Age 6–10 weeks

Age 1–2 months

Age Best around 2–3 months

Weight and Shape 7oz (200g), round

Weight and Shape 1lb 10oz (750g), round

Size D. 4in (10cm), H. 1in (2.5cm)

Size D. 7in (18cm), H. 2in (4.5cm)

Weight and Shape 11–33lb (5kg–15kg),

Milk Cow

Milk Cow

Classification Semi-soft

Classification Semi-soft

Producer Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vire

Producer Abbaye de Tamié

Size D. 14–18in (40–46cm), H. 3–4in


Milk Cow
Classification Hard
Producer Various

030-031_France.indd 31 31

10/06/2009 16:20

A Casinca

A Filetta

Ami du Chambertin

robust, almost wild, corsican goats
roam freely over vast landscapes,
infusing their milk with various
natural aromas. The hand-moulded
delight a casinca is one of the best
washed-rind cheeses that they produce.

The name reflects the roots of this
artisanal cheese; a filetta means
“fern” in the corsican language. as an
added reminder of its provenance, this
semi-soft cheese is most often produced
decorated with a fern leaf on top.

raymond Gaugry created this artisan
cheese in 1950 as an accompaniment to
the famous wine, Gevry chambertin,
that is made close by. although the
cheese is made in a modern creamery,
much of the work is done by hand.

although it has a
pronounced taste and a rather strong
smell, a casinca is by no means
unrefined. aging and the gentle
climate improve it, creating a unique
nutty flavor.


This truly original taste,
tinged with fern and the smell of a
cellar, which can be a bit strong for
some palates, is definitely worth a try.
The grazing is quasi-wilderness, so this
cheese has more personality and more
natural flavor than many others.





For an exotic taste, serve
a casinca with a white wine, such as
condrieux, which is made from grapes
grown in sunny climates.


Perfect served with a fig
jam, to offset its trademark sharpness,
and with a corsican red or white wine.


The rind is washed with
local Marc de Bourgogne brandy, giving
it an orange color and a powerful taste.
The paste has a mouth-watering,
creamy texture.

ami du chambertin is
best appreciated with a glass of
Gevrey-chambertin or a chassagne
Montrachet—delicious wines that have
a long finish and are very flavorsome.




FRANCE Brochon, Bourgogne

Age 1½–4 months

Age About 6 weeks

Age 2 months

Weight and Shape 14oz (400g), round

Weight and Shape 12oz (350g), round

Weight and Shape 9oz (250g), round

Size D. 6in (15cm), H. 1in (3cm)

Size D. 4in (10cm), H. 1in (3cm)

Size D. 31⁄2in (8.5cm), H. 2in (4.5cm)

Milk Goat

Milk Ewe

Milk Cow

Classification Semi-soft

Classification Semi-soft

Classification Semi-soft

Producer Various

Producer Various

Producer Gaugry dairy

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26/05/2009 11:13

ardi-Gasna means “sheep’s cheese” in
the Basque language, so it’s no surprise
that this hard cheese comes from the
milk of ewes grazing on alpine pastures
high in the Pyrénées. It can be eaten
all year round, but the best cheeses are
made using milk from lush spring or
summer grazing.

This fermier cheese is produced
using an ancient method of curing and
preserving. a ripe cheese is placed in a
barrel of marc—the damp skins, pips,
and stalks of pressed grapes—that
slowly permeate the cheese.

a distinctive creamery or industrially
produced cheese, Baguette Laonnaise
is usually brick shaped but can also be
found resembling a baguette. This
feature, and the fact that it is produced
in the city of Laon, gives the cheese
its name.


It has a strong and
bittersweet flavor that is distinctly
yeasty. as the cheese ages, its texture
evolves from creamy to hard.


This cheese is an ideal
partner to a light Beaujolais-village or
a sweet dessert wine such as Muscat de
Beaumes de Venise.



a fruity red wine is the
perfect match for a young cheese. Pair
sharper ones with full-bodied reds.
Serve with jam, honey, or walnuts.


Baguette Laonnaise

It has a moist, red,
washed rind and a highly pronounced
flavor that is similar to those of the
Maroilles (see p68).

You can eat this semi-soft
cheese alongside all very full-bodied
red wines of substance and character,
and you could even wash it down with
a glass of beer.

FRANCE Aquitaine

FRANCE Rhône-Alpes

FRANCE Picardie

Age 2–24 months, best at 5 months

Age 1 month

Age 2–3 months

Weight and Shape 10lb (5kg), round

Weight and Shape 3–51⁄2oz (85–150g),

Weight and Shape 1lb (450g), brick

Size D. 2 ⁄2–3in (6–7cm), H. ⁄4–1in (2–3cm)

Milk Cow

Size D. 13in (32.5cm), H. 3in (7.5cm)
Milk Ewe
Classification Hard
Producer Various

032-033_France.indd 33 33


Milk Cow
Classification Aged fresh
Producer Various


Size 6in (15cm), H. 2in (4.5cm)


It grows sharper with
age, but even the youngest cheeses
have a sophisticated, nutty taste and a
pleasant aroma.


Arômes au Gêne de


Classification Semi-soft
Producer Various

26/05/2009 16:20

Banon AOC
a speciality of the mountains of
Lure in Provence, this cheese is sold
rustically wrapped in layers of chestnut
leaves and bound with raffia. The
Banon has benefited from aOc status
since 2003.
When young, the flavor
is mild and lactic, becoming slightly
nutty with age. as the leaves dry, molds
develop, the pâte softens and the flavor
becomes more nutty with a distinct
goaty tang.




This cheese is a real
pleasure to share with friends. Serve
with all fruity and lively red, white,
and rosé Provençal wines.

Banon aux Baies
Provence has a history making goat’s
cheese that can be traced back to the
roman times; some even claim that the
“Banon” cheese was enjoyed by the 1st
century roman emperor, antoninus
Pius. This fresh variation is decorated
with pink peppercorns (baies roses), the
dried berries from the Baies rose plant.

Banon à la Sarriette
The Provençal climate provides perfect
growing conditions for some of the most
wonderful aromatic flowers and plants,
such as lavender and thyme, that
subtly flavor the milk of the grazing
goats. In this version of the region’s
Banon, the herb savory creates yet
another layer of flavor.
The herb has a strong
sharp flavor; its pungency adds
a new dimension to this creamy,
slightly nutty cheese.


The mild, nutty flavor
of this cheese is counterpointed by the
sweet, distinct anise character of the
pink peppercorns.



Serve with an aromatic
wine, such as a Gewürztraminer.


This a beautiful-looking
addition to the cheeseboard can be
served with a fresh rose to decorate.


FRANCE Rhône-Alpes

FRANCE Rhône-Alpes

FRANCE Rhône-Alpes

Age 2 weeks–2 months

Age 2–8 weeks

Age 2–8 weeks

Weight and Shape 31⁄2–41⁄2oz
(100–125g), round

Weight and Shape 31⁄2–41⁄2oz
(100–125g), round

Weight and Shape 3.5–4.5oz, round

Size D. 3 ⁄2in (8.5cm), H. 1in (2.5cm)

Size D. 3 ⁄2in (8.5cm), H. 1in (2.5cm)

Milk Goat

Milk Goat

Milk Goat

Classification Aged fresh

Classification Fresh

Producer Various

Producer Various


034-035_France.indd 34 34


Size D. 31⁄2in (8cm), H. 1in (2cm)
Classification Fresh
Producer Various

26/05/2009 16:20




This fermier cheese is named after
the town in which it originated, and is
still produced at Bergues in flandres,
around 8 miles from the Belgian
border. It is a very popular cheese
throughout northern france.

Since the 16th century, the Sancerre
region has been successfully breeding
goats, which has led to the production
of a range of superb goat’s cheeses like
Berrichon (also known as Sancerrois),
a big brother to crottin de chavignol.

During the curing stage,
this semi-soft cheese is repeatedly
washed with brine and beer. This gives
it a sharp, distinctive flavor against its
supple and elastic texture.

Produced in the Pyrenees, Bethmale
is one of the region’s best-known cow’s
milk cheeses and is named after the
village where it is made. It has a royal
seal of approval, too, as it is said to
have been favored by King Louis VI in
the 12th century.



The flavor of Bethmale
differs depending on how it is produced.
Industrial varieties are very mild,
while fermier varieties have a more
pronounced taste.



It is excellent paired with
local dry white wines, such as
Sauvignon or fruity Pinot.


Pair this cheese with all
fruity and robust wines of fitou,
corbières, roussillon, Madiran.


FRANCE Nord-Pas-de-Calais


FRANCE Midi-Pyrénées

Age at least 2 months

Age 3–5 weeks

Age 3–4 months

Weight and Shape 4lb 6oz (2kg), round

Weight and Shape 31⁄2oz (100g), round

Size D. 8in (20cm), H. 2in (4.5cm)

Size D. 21⁄2in (6cm), H. 21⁄2in (6cm)

Weight and Shape 11lb–15lb (5kg–7kg),

Milk Cow

Milk Goat

Classification Semi-soft

Classification Aged fresh

Producer Various

Producer Various

Size D. 12–16in (30–40cm), H. 2–3in


It can be grated, broiled,
or baked with vegetable dishes, soups,
and pasta, and it is best enjoyed when
washed down with a chilled beer.

as it ages the rind
becomes more wrinkled and dusted
with gray and blue molds. The texture
also changes from firm and grainy to
dense and compact, with a pronounced
tang and a light goaty aroma.


Milk Cow
Classification Hard
Producer Various

034-035_France.indd 35 35

26/05/2009 11:13

Bleu d’Auvergne AOC

Bleu des Causses AOC Bleu de Chèvre

named after the province in which it
originated, Bleu d’auvergne has been
aOc protected since 1975. It is similar
to roquefort, but this cheese is made
using cow’s rather than ewe’s milk.

Like roquefort, this cheese is ripened
in natural caves called fleurines in the
limestone plateaus of the causses. Bleu
des causses is made with cow’s milk
and is aged longer than most blues. It
has been aOc protected since 1979.

This blue cheese has a
very sharp, engaging flavor and is best
when made with milk from herds that
have grazed the lush summer and fall
mountain pastures.




This is a delicious addition
to salad dressings or hot pasta dishes,
or served with chicory, nuts, and raw
mushrooms alongside a robust red or
sweet white wine.

The flavor differs
depending on the season in which it
is produced. Ivory-yellow summer
cheeses are milder than the strongertasting, white winter cheeses.



It is excellent in salads
and on cheeseboards, and goes well
with all lively, well-balanced red wines
that have an aromatic note, such as
cornas, Lirac, and Jurançon.


as a blue goat’s cheese, Bleu de chèvre
is a rare thing. Most French blues are
made with cow’s milk and a few, such
as roquefort, are made using ewe’s
milk. This cheese is produced on only
a handful of small farms, mainly in the
mountains, so it is little-known outside
the region.
Bleu de chèvre is dense
with erratic patches of blue. It melts in
the mouth with a subtle but herbaceous
tang from the goat’s milk, but is milder
than cow’s and ewe’s milk blues.


eat with fresh figs and
a glass of sweet Muscat de Beaume
de Venise.


FRANCE Cantal, Auvergne

FRANCE Midi-Pyrénées

Age 2–3 months

Age 3–6 months

FRANCE Auvergne, Rhône-Alpes,

Weight and Shape 51⁄2lb (2.5kg), drum

Weight and Shape 5lb 3oz–5lb 13oz
(2.3kg–2.6kg), drum

Weight and Shape 8lb (3.6kg), round

Size D. 8in (20cm), H. 4in (10cm)
Milk Cow
Classification Blue
Producer Various

Size D. 7–8in (18–20cm), H. 3–4in
Milk Cow
Classification Blue
Producer Various

036-037_France.indd 36 36

Age 2 months
Size D. 71⁄2in (19cm), H. 4in (10cm)
Milk Goat
Classification Blue
Producer Various

10/06/2009 15:36

Bleu de Gex HautJura AOC
Granted aOc status in 1977, this
unusually dense, almost hard, blue
cheese is produced in small, traditional
dairies using milk from cows grazing
the pastures of the Jura mountains.

This blue cheese is produced to very
precise specifications. Just four
producers make it in summer using the
milk of cows that graze 4300ft up the
mountain pastures of the french alps.
The spare, irregular bluing is not the
result of piercing, but of wild molds
entering through cracks in the rind.
Beneath the rough,
crusty, brown-gold rind is a dense, yet
crumbly interior with a strong, almost
spicy, tang and earthy, refined flavor.


Team this tasty blue
cheese with a glass of chignin
Bergerson or a mellow wine, such as
a Tokay.

Bleu du VercorsSassenage AOC
aOc protected since 1998, this cheese
is named after the town of Sassenage
where, in the 14th century, subjects
were ordered to pay their taxes in
cheese. Unlike most traditional blues, it
is lightly pressed and thinner, which
gives it a more supple texture.
The rind is thin, leathery,
and brown; the paste pale yellow, dense
yet soft, marked with irregular thick
streaks and blue patches. Delicate for a
blue, it has a slightly bitter aftertaste.



Serve as the locals do with
boiled potatoes and a fruity, regional
red wine—a Beaujolais or Burgundy.


eat alongside a glass of
robust, lively, Beaujolais-Villages and


FRANCE Franche-Comté

FRANCE Rhône-Alpes

FRANCE Rhône-Alpes

Age Around 2–3 months

Age 4–5 months

Age 2–3 months

Weight and Shape 11lb–13lb 3oz
(5–6kg). wheel

Weight and Shape 151⁄2lb (7kg), drum

Weight and Shape 11lb–13lb 4oz
(5–6kg), wheel

Size D. 12in (30cm), H. 3–4in (7.5–10cm)
Milk Cow
Classification Blue
Producer Various

036-037_France.indd 37 37

Size D. 11.8in (29cm), H. 6in (15cm)
Milk Cow
Classification Blue
Producer Various


The yeasts and molds in
the mountain grasses and flowers pass
through the milk into the cheese,
giving the soft interior a speckled blue
appearance and a slightly bitter, savory
flavor. eat it after wiping off the white
powdery mold covering it.


Bleu de Termignon

Size D. 12in (15cm), H. 3in (7.5cm)


Milk Cow
Classification Blue
Producer Various

26/05/2009 12:22

Beaufort AOC

A ClOser lOOk


Of all the great cheeses of the world, Beaufort encapsulates
everything that is magical, traditional, and truly awesome about
cheese, and demonstrates how, in a harsh and rugged terrain,
humans have worked alongside Mother nature and adapted to
the rhythm and demands of the seasons.
In the 14th and 15th centuries, the
local church and landowners of the
Savoie-Beaufortain in the french
alps, instigated a widespread
program to remove much of the
woodlands to create mountain
pastures. These pastures—as colorful
and spectacular as a Monet
painting—are unploughed and
unfenced, and contain the thousands
of different species of wild herbs,
meadow flowers, and grasses that
provide the native abondance, and
Tarine cows with fresh grazing in
summer, and aromatic hay in winter.
The resulting milk is sweet, nutty,
aromatic, and complex.
It takes the milk of about 35 cows
to make one Beaufort cheese.
Because of this, herdsmen have,
since ancient times, combined their
milk, forming cooperatives, and


The milk only comes from the Tarentaise and
Abondance cows, whose diet is strictly controlled.
FRANCE Rhône-Alpes
Age 5–18 months
Weight and Shape 44lb–154lb 3oz
(20–70kg), round
Size D. 14–271⁄2in (35–75cm)
H. 41⁄2–6in (11–16cm)
Milk Cow
Classification Hard
Producer Various

038-039_Beaufort.indd 38 38

Beaufort has been protected by
the aOc label since 1968, resulting in
strict control of each stage of
production. This includes the milk
used, which is never pasteurized, the
distinct concave shape, and every
aspect of its maturation.

shared the tasks of herding, milking,
cheesemaking, and maturing.
cheese produced in the lush
summer pastures is known as
Beaufort d’Alpage; those produced
from a single herd that graze above
4,921ft (1,500m) are called chalet
d’Alpage, and are some of the largest
artisan cheeses in the world. Winter
cheeses, known as Beaufort d’Hiver,
are paler as they are made when the
cows enjoy a more concentrated diet
of hay cut from the mountain pasture.
Beaufort is another cheese that is
protected by the aOc label, and can
only be made in an area covering
approximately 1,112 acres in the
rhône-alpes’ Beaufortain,
Tarentaise, and Maurienne valleys,
as well as a section of the Val d’arly.
TAsTing nOTes Young Beaufort
is firm but not hard. It melts in the
mouth, and has a rich, sweet,
complex flavor. The chalet d’Alpage
is aged longer and has more honeyed,
aromatic notes and a long, savory
tang that hints of meadow flowers.
HOw TO enjOy This is not a
cheese to melt over bread or put in a
sandwich (although both would be
heaven), and certainly not to be
bought in miserable thin slices!
It should be eaten in generous
mouthfuls accompanied by a bottle
of the best Pinot noir you can afford.
fresh walnuts, grown throughout the
Savoy, also make a great partner.
Beaufort’s rich sweetness is also
excellent with champagne, as well as
chardonnay and riesling, but avoid
dry whites that take away its flavor.

A few tiny holes are
formed during the
fermentation of the curd.

26/05/2009 15:36

The inward curving sides
are a result of the
beechwood belt that circles
each cheese as it matures.

The cloth rind is rubbed with brine
enriched with scrapings from old cheeses
and whey, creating a grainy, russet crust
that protects the cheese from drying out.

Coagulation This process
only takes 20–30 minutes. The curds
are then cut and the temperature
raised to both scald the milk and to
squeeze out moisture from the curd.
The curd is piled into cloth and
carefully removed from the cauldron.



Pressing The curd is encircled
with a cercle, a belt made of beech,
and pressed for 20 hours. It is turned
regularly during this time.


During its long maturation,
small horizontal cracks appear
near the edge, because the rind
dries faster than the interior.


038-039_Beaufort.indd 39 39

26/05/2009 11:13

Bonde de Gâtine

Boulette d’Avesnes

Boulette de Cambrai

Produced in the marshy Gâtine area
of Poitou, the Bonde de Gâtine is
a high-quality fermier goat’s cheese
that requires two liters of milk to make
just one 14oz cheese. It has a thin
wrinkled rind, which is dusted with
blue, gray, and white molds.

In the past, this fermier cheese was
made exclusively from buttermilk;
nowadays, it is made with the fresh
curds of Maroilles and mashed with
parsley, tarragon, cloves, and pepper. It
is shaped by hand, dyed with peppery
annatto, and dusted with paprika.

The paste has a
pronounced acidity and saltiness that
melts in the mouth, leaving behind it a
rich aftertaste.

Made by hand in cambrai, near the
Belgium border where it has long been
popular, this cow’s milk cheese is
a delicious combination of fromage
frais, tarragon, parsley, chives, and
seasoning. Unlike Boulette d’avesnes,
Boulette de cambrai is always
consumed fresh.


Team it with a dry and
fruity wine, such as a Sancerre Blanc,
which complements the creamy, acidic,
and fruity flavors.





FRANCE Gâtine, Poitou-Charentes
Age 6–10 weeks
Weight and Shape 14oz (400g), drum


Size D. 2in (4.5cm), H. 3in (7cm)
Milk Goat
Classification Aged fresh
Producer Patrick Cantet

040-041_France.indd 40 40

The paprika from the rind
gives it a hot peppery bite, while the
semi-soft, ivory-colored paste adds
a spicy, herbaceous, and sharp flavor.

Pair with all strong, very
full-bodied red wines, such as cahors.
a shot of gin will also bring out its
unusual combination of flavors.

This fresh rindless cheese
is mildly aromatic and has a deliciously
herby flavor, but it will become bitter if
allowed to age for too long.


Spread on crusty bread
and pair with a light and fruity red
wine, such as Beaujolais.


FRANCE Flandre-Hainaut, Nord-Pas-deCalais

FRANCE Nord-Pas-de-Calais

Age 3 months

Weight and Shape 10oz (280g), cone

Weight and Shape 7oz (200g), cone
Size D. 3in (7.5cm), H. 4in (10cm)
Milk Cow
Classification Fresh
Producer Pont du Loup, Fauquet, and Leduc

Age 1–5 days
Size D. 3in (7.5cm), H. 4in (10cm)
Milk Cow
Classification Fresh
Producer Various

26/05/2009 16:20

Bouton-de-culotte, or trouser buttons,
are small Mâconnais that are stored
during the fall for winter use. By
winter, the rind becomes dark brown
and hard and this goat’s cheese can be
grated into the local fromage fort.

enjoy this cheese with all
the powerful full-bodied vintages of
Mâconnais and côte chalonnaise.


The pale ivory, soft, wrinkled rind of
this hand-formed goat’s cheese is
decorated with a sprig of rosemary,
making it a very attractive addition to
a cheeseboard. Its thin rind means the
paste breaks down very quickly and
becomes soft and creamy.
Bouyguette des collines
has a slight taste of thyme and
rosemary. Initially the cheese is smooth,
then, after 20 days of maturing, its
flavor becomes more pronounced.


It is best paired with a dry
white wine, such as Sancerre, riesling
or chinon, but is also good with a rosé.


Brebis du Lochois
This modern, french ewe’s milk cheese,
comes from central france (a region
traditionally associated with goats),
where the flock grazes on very good
pastures. cheeses that are dusted with
ash are called cendré Lochois.
Lochois has a tender and
generous paste, as well as a smooth
buttery flavor and herby aromas. The
beech ashes give it a somewhat smoky
and woody character.


It tastes delicious served
with figs and jam, and goes well when
paired with white wines from Touraine,
such as Sancerre or Montlouis.


FRANCE Bourgogne

FRANCE Tarn, Midi-Pyrénées

FRANCE Touraine, Centre

Age 2 months

Age 2–3 weeks

Age 2 weeks

Weight and Shape 2oz (60g), tiny drum

Weight and Shape 51⁄2oz (150g), oval

Weight and Shape 4oz (110g), round

Size D. 2in (5cm) base, 11⁄2in (4cm) top,
H. 1.5in (3.5cm)

Size L. 8in (20cm), H. 11⁄2in (4cm)

Size D. 3in (7.5cm), H. 1in (2.5cm)

Milk Goat

Milk Ewe

Classification Aged fresh

Classification Aged fresh

Producer Segalafrom

Producer Brebis du Lochois

Milk Goat
Classification Aged fresh
Producer Various

040-041_France.indd 41 41


It has a very distinct
goaty taste that hints of ground nuts,
feels dry in the mouth, and has a sharp,
tongue-tingling finish.


Bouyguette des


10/06/2009 15:36


Brie de Melun AOC

Brie de Nangis


Unlike other Bries, the coagulation of
the curd in this cow’s milk cheese is
very slow, since it relies mainly on
lactic fermentation rather than rennet.
This produces a very thick curd, and
eventually, a thick, crusty white rind
with red, yellow, and brown pigments
and molds.

Originally made in nangis, south east
of Paris, this Brie almost disappeared
when superseded by Brie de Melun.
However, it has since been revived by a
single producer in Tournan-en-Brie and
remains true to the original. It is at its
best when made from milk from cows
grazed on spring and summer grass.

although named after a renowned
18th-century gourmand and food
writer, Brillat-Savarin was in fact
created in the 1930s by Henri
androuët, a famous cheesemaker and
affineur. This triple-cream cheese, with
a fat content of 75 percent for every
3.5oz, is not for the dieter

TaSTInG nOTe It can be sold fresh, when
it is sour yet sweet, or when fully
mature, when it has a very fruity flavor
and a strong scent of fermentation.

TaSTInG nOTe Like Brie de Melun, this
Brie has a white mold rind and a soft,
creamy paste. Unlike Brie de Melun, it
has a very fruity, rather than more
savory or meaty flavor.

TaSTInG nOTe When young, it has no rind
and a texture like thick crème fraîche;
if eaten once it has developed its thin
white coat, the paste will have softened
to become luscious, creamy, and soft.

Pair this Brie with a glass
of lively, full-bodied Bourgogne,
Bordeaux or côtes-du-rhône.


It can be enjoyed with all
red wines of Burgundy, Bordeaux, and
côtes-Du-rhône that are lively,
full-bodied, and have bouquet.



It goes well with all light
fruity wines, in particular champagnes
with some character.

FRANCE Ile-de-France

FRANCE Ile-de-France

FRANCE Basse-Normandie, Bourgogne

Age Best around 2 months

Age 4–5 weeks

Age 2–4 weeks

Weight and Shape 3lb 5oz (1.5kg), wheel

Weight and Shape 21⁄4lb (1kg), round

Weight and Shape 1lb 2oz (500g), round

Size D. 91⁄2in (24cm), H. 11⁄2in (3.5cm)

Size D. 9in (23cm), H. 2in (5cm)

Size D. 5in (12cm), H. 11⁄2in (3.5cm)

Milk Cow

Milk Cow

Milk Cow

Classification Soft white

Classification Soft white

Classification Soft white

Producer Various

Producer Rouzaire

Producer Lincet

042-043_France.indd 42 42

10/06/2009 11:13

Brocciu AOC


This traditional cheese from the
auvergne region takes its name from
its brick-like shape. It is characterised
by a thin white rind that develops a
blue-gray hue. It used to be made using
a mixture of cow’s and goat’s milk, but
now it is made solely with cow’s milk.

This famous corsican fresh cheese is
made by unusual production processes:
whey is added, rather than discarded,
during the process, giving it a unique
taste in addition to some precious
nutrients. It is then drained in small
rush baskets (canestres).

This is a unique cheese, because it is
thought to be the only ewe’s cheese
produced in the Loire region. flavored
with thyme, it has a natural rind and
oval shape, and it makes a decorative
addition to any cheeseboard.

The white mantle
smells mushroomy and sharp, while
the interior is creamy and almost
runny, with a nutty flavor and a long
finish in the mouth.

fresh Brocciu is mild
tasting and creamy; however, ripened
Brocciu (also referred to as Brocciu
Pasu) is strong and a little spicy.



Brocciu can be used in
many recipes, including salads, omelets
and cheesecakes. It is delicious served
with just salt, sugar, rosemary, or
honey, and a light wine.


Team this creamy cheese
with light and fruity white, rosé and
red wines of auvergne, roanne,
and Beaujolais.


TaSTInG nOTe This fresh cheese is tasty,
thyme-flavored and has a mellow,
melt-in-the-mouth finish.

Serve with aromatic red
wines, such as a well-structured ajaccio
or a full-bodied Patrimonio.


FRANCE Auvergne (Livradois)


FRANCE Touraine, Centre

Age 2–3 months

Age 2–3 days

Age 1 month

Weight and Shape 12–14oz (350–400g),

Weight and Shape 11⁄2–3lbs
(675g–1.3kg), basket

Weight and Shape 8oz (225g), oval

Size L. 5–5 ⁄2in (12–13cm), W. 1 ⁄2–2.5in
(31⁄2–51⁄2cm), H. 1in (2.5cm)

Size Various

Milk Ewe

Milk Cow

Classification Fresh


Classification Soft white
Producer Various

042-043_France.indd 43 43


Milk Ewe
Producer Various

Size L. 41⁄2in (11cm), H. 2in (4.5cm)


Brique du Forez


Classification Aged fresh
Producer M. Froideveaux

26/05/2009 11:13

Buchette Pont d’Yeu

Cabri Ariégeois

This log-shaped goat’s cheese takes
its name from the island of Yeu in
the Vendée region of France. It has
a natural rind that is sprinkled with
wood ash.

The passionate farmers in ariège
have created this modern French
cheese, which has become one of the
best goat’s cheeses on the market.
Based on the famous Mont d’Or cheese,
cabri ariégeois is bound up in a strip
of spruce bark.

The flavor of the thick
paste varies depending on the level
of maturation of the cheese. When it
is young (at about three weeks), it is
nutty, but as it ages, it develops
a peppery taste.




Serve on a cheeseboard
alongside crusty bread, berries, and
jam. The Buchette is best enjoyed with
a fruity white wine, such as Lillet.


Very smooth and creamy,
this washed cheese has a pronounced,
sharp flavor and a hint of pine that
comes from the bark.


This cheese is best
appreciated alongside a full-bodied and
structured red wine with a strong berry
flavor, such as a côte de roussillon.


Camembert de
Normandie AOC
This, one of the most famous French
cheeses, is said to have been created in
1791 by Marie Harel, a farmer’s wife in
camembert. The most important
invention, though, was its wooden box,
which enabled it to be shipped around
the world. The aOc granted in 1983
states it must be made with raw milk.
Its flavor is fruity, with
a slight aroma of mushrooms and mold.
Locals prefer camembert when the
heart is white and not yet creamy.


Serve with fruity, elegant
red wines of Burgundy and côtes-durhône, or a traditional normandy cider.


FRANCE Pays de la Loire

FRANCE Ariège, Midi-Pyrénées

FRANCE Basse-Normandie

Age 3–8 weeks

Age From 4–6 weeks

Age Best around 1 month

Weight and Shape 7oz (200g), log

Weight and Shape 11lb 2oz (500g), round

Weight and Shape 9oz (250g), round

Size L. 4in (10cm), H. 2in (5cm)

Size D. 10in (25cm), H. 21⁄2in (6cm)

Milk Goat

Milk Goat

Size D. 41⁄2in (11cm), H. 11⁄2in

Classification Aged fresh

Classification Semi-soft

Producer Various

Producer Fromagerie Fermier Cabrioulet

044-045_France.indd 44 44

Milk Cow
Classification Soft white
Producer Various

10/06/2009 11:13

Cantal AOC

Capri Lezeen

Carré de l’Est

aOc protected since 1956, cantal is
the forefather of all cheeses from the
auvergne region. It is made using the
cheddaring process typical of many
english traditional hard cheeses, and is
unique in being the only french cheese
produced this way.

These farmhouse goat’s cheeses are
produced by the Gaec du capri
Lezéen in the marshy part of Poitou.
They have quite a sticky yellow rind,
with traces of light blue mold, and are
sold wrapped in a signature chestnut
leaf, packaged up in a wooden box.

as its name suggests (it means
“square of the east”), this co-operative
or industrial washed-rind cheese is
square in shape and is most famous in
the eastern regions of france (Lorraine,
the ardennes, and champagne).

The flavor differs
depending on the age of the cheese:
a well-ripened cantal is strong in taste,
while a young cheese has a mild, nutty
and milky flavor.


Soft and grainy when
young, this cheese becomes almost
liquid when mature. It has a salty
flavor and the orange, sticky rind that
gives it a smokey bacon tang. Those
covered with white mold are milder.


Pair capri Lezeen with
a dry white wine, such as a Sancerre or
Viognier. It tastes delicious served
alongside fresh figs or berries.


Spread this semi-soft
cheese on bread for a delicious snack
and team with light fruity wines, such
as châteauneuf-du-Pâpe or Gigondas.


FRANCE Auvergne

FRANCE Lezay, Poitou-Charentes

FRANCE Champagne, Ardennes and Lorraine

Age Best around 3–6 months

Age 2–3 weeks

Age About 3 weeks

Weight and Shape 77–99lb, cylinder

Weight and Shape 6oz (175g), round

Size D. 14–18in (35–46cm), H. 14–16in

Size D. 4in (10cm), H. 1⁄2in (1.5cm)

Weight and Shape 41⁄2–9oz (125–250g),

Milk Cow
Classification Hard
Producer Various

044-045_France.indd 45 45

Milk Goat

Size D. 4in (10cm), H. 11⁄2in (3.5cm)

Classification Aged fresh

Milk Cow

Producer GAEC du Capri Lezéen Patrick

Producer Various


Pair cantal with
a light fruity wine, such as a côtes
d’auvergne, côtes roannaises, or


The creamy, runny paste
and soft rind has a slightly nutty taste
and only a subtle goaty flavor.


Classification Semi-soft

26/05/2009 11:13

Brie de Meaux AOC
Made just 31 miles (50km) east of Paris in the region of
Ile-de-France, Brie de Meaux can trace its history back to
Emperor Charlemagne who, in 774ce, extolled the virtues of
Brie in his Chronicles.

From Paris to Peru, Brie de Meaux is
enjoyed the world over. Surprisingly,
there are only a handful of producers,
and most cheeses are then matured
and aged by special affineurs, each
creating their own unique style.

they each have their own distinct
character influenced by size,
microflora, unique climate,
and grazing.


At the Congress of Vienna, 1814, Brie de
Meaux was declared the “King of Cheeses.”


The worldwide reputation of Brie
de Meaux was established in 1814,
when it was declared Le Roi des
Fromages, “The King of Cheeses”
at a culinary tournament during the
Congress of Vienna. The close
proximity of Ile-de-France to the
markets of Paris and the charming
wooden box in which it is sold have
also contributed to its rise to fame.
Brie de Meaux is one of only 40
French cheeses protected by the AOC
label, which guarantees the quality
of a cheese as well as where and how
it is made (see p8). To qualify, Brie
must be made in specific areas with
calf rennet and 6.6 gallons (25 litres)
of unpasteurized milk. The curd
must be ladled by hand into the
molds and each cheese must be dry
salted then ripened slowly at a
specific temperature and humidity.
Brie de Meaux and Camembert
de Normandie (see p44) are often
considered similar, but in fact
FRANCE Ile de France
Age 6–8 weeks

TAsTINg NOTEs Brie de Meaux is
probably the strongest of all the soft
white cheeses. The aroma should be of
mold, damp leaves, and mushrooms,
becoming more intense with age.
At its peak, it has a glossy pale straw
to butter-yellow colored soft interior
that oozes irresistibly toward you,
and a characteristic rich taste like wild,
smoky mushroom soup made with beef
consommé. If it smells strongly of
ammonia, then it will deliver a vicious
bite. However, one man’s meat is
another man’s poison.
If you prefer Brie that is runny
rather than with a chalky band of
immature curd through the center,
buy it near its “best by” date. Don’t be
alarmed by any white mold that
grows down the cut surface, this just
tells you the cheese is alive and well,
and merely trying to protect its soft
interior from drying out. It’s best
kept in its original paper or wax
paper. Plastic wrap prevents the
cheese from breathing and the
ammonia, released during ripening,
will be trapped and, within a day or
so, the cheese will start to sweat.

THE LADLE To achieve the smooth,
voluptuous custardlike interior and to
prevent the fat and protein from being lost in
the whey, cheesemakers must handle the
fragile, floppy curd by hand, using a
perforated ladle known as a pelle à brie,
first used in the 12th century.

HOw TO ENjOy It would almost
be a crime to do anything with Brie de
Meaux except allow it to reach room
temperature and enjoy it with a red
Côte-du-Rhône, Bordeaux, or Burgundy
or, as befits the Cheese of Kings, a glass
of vintage Champagne.

Weight and Shape 61⁄2lb (3kg), wheel
Size D. 10in (25cm), H. 31⁄4in (8cm)
Milk Cow
Classification Soft white
Producer Various

046-047_Brie.indd 46 46

RIND The cheese is softest under
the rind where the mold is working
to ripen the curd.

26/05/2009 15:36