European Cheese Tips

Cheese is such a versatile food, you see it on sandwiches, in casseroles or other dishes, and it can stand alone as a snack food. If there is one kind of food that you should learn a little more about, its cheese. There are different kinds of cheese that work better with different dishes.

It’s knowledge that you can use to impress your guests or spruce up an otherwise bland meal. Besides, part of learning about cheese is that you get to taste it to see what you like or what you don’t like. It’s a fun way to “become more refined”.

Here are a couple of need to know cheeses for your tasty cheese arsenal. Each of these cheese descriptions will tell you the country of origin, what type of milk, and how long it has to age.

Roquefort

Coming from France this cheese is a little bit different because it is made from sheep milk, not your average dairy. The sheep’s milk provides a definite grassy flavor. You may see this one closer to the fall time, because the early spring milk has to age for at least five months before it is eaten. This cheese is moist and crumbly with a sweet nutty flavor.

Camembert

Another French favorite is called camembert, made from cow’s milk, you may not need to be so adventurous to give this one a try. Aging for this cheese is also a lot shorter than the above mentioned cheese, taking only about three weeks to age. The best place to try this cheese is in it is motherland because of its short aging period. You won’t find raw milk camembert in the U.S. because of that. This cheese is rich and buttery, perfect as a spread.

Cotija

This is a crowd favorite in Mexico, where this cheese originated and resembls feta cheese a little bit. Cow’s milk is where the cheese comes from and this one takes about three months to age before eating. Cheeses like this that are younger are a lot milder and a little saltier, they get tangier as time goes on. This cheese is great on Mexican tacos, salads, rice and beans and dishes of like mind. This kind of cheese is very attractive if you like your food to look nice when prepared, its light flaky appearance adds an appealing look to the meal.

Chèvre

Back to France we go for our next cheese called Chèvre. This cheese is made from goat’s milk which gives it a nice smooth buttery feel. The aging time varies from cheese to cheese because this cheese refers more to a group of cheese because the word chèvre in French literally means goat. This cheese usually is not aged that much and is eaten pretty much right after it is made. Sometimes the cheese is even flavored with herbs, spices, and garlic. Goat cheese like this is great on salads and eaten with crackers or other things like it.

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