Our shop-friendly cheese case was designed to systematically organize every cheese into eight traditional cheese families. These families are grouped according to the 8 major methods of cheese production...families thus range from Fresh (milkiest in texture) to Pressed-Cooked (driest in texture).
About cheese production...Cheese is essentially concentrated milk. The milk can be from cows, goats, buffalo, or sheep. A coagulant or starter is added to the milk to solidify and separate the milk and to keep intact the traditional taste and texture of the particular cheese. The result is curds (milk solids) and whey (liquid). The curd solids then undergo further steps in production that ultimately give us the variety we enjoy today. These steps may include soft ripening, washing in brine, stretching, adding various Penicillium, pressing, cooking, smoking, ageing and the addition of ingredients such as herbs, spices, peppers, and fruit.
The Specialty Cheese Case clearly labels each of the Eight Families...explore the case and find new varieties within the family of your favorites.
The Eight Cheese Families
is essentially the quickest to produce, as it requires the least amount of production steps. The milk can be partially or totally skimmed, whole or enriched with heavy cream. The curds are uncooked and un-ripened or slightly ripened; the curds are merely drained. Example cheeses are Mascarpone and Boursin.
Soft Ripened Cheeses
are neither pressed or cooked and made primarily of cow’s milk. Warm curd is poured into a mold and drained. This cheese family has a smooth, supply paste.
The Stretched Curd Cheese
- Bloomy Rind: These soft ripened cheeses have a downy white and totally edible bloomy rind. Example cheeses are Brie and Camembert.
- Washed Rind: These soft ripened cheeses are washed or brushed in brine or wine, beer, brandy or cider. This gives them a colorful rind from a straw yellow to a brick red and makes them characteristically aromatic. These cheeses have a soft and creamy interior with an assertive flavor. Examples are Port Salut, Taleggio and Limburger.
family of cheeses is also referred to by its Italian term, Pasta Filata, because the curd is pulled and twisted, giving an elastic quality. When young, their texture is velvety soft and pliable; when ripened, it is firm and hard. Examples are Mozzarella and Provolone.
The Blue Cheese
family of cheese has a stronger, more pronounced flavor and aroma with apparent blue/green veining. Characteristically soft or crumbly and usually sharp when young, the flavor becomes sweeter and mellower as the cheese matures. In production, a variety of Penicillium is added depending upon the cheese being made. While ripening, needles injected into the cheese create holes that allow air to enter so that mold can grow. Ageing varies from cheese to cheese. Examples are Gorgonzola, Roquefort and Stilton.
The Goat Cheese
family of cheese is made solely from goat’s milk. This affords the opportunity to enjoy every family of cheese all made with goat’s milk. Example cheeses are Laura Chenel Traditional Goat Logs, Woolwich Goat Brie and Meyenberg Goat Cheddar and Jacks.
The Pressed Cheese
family, the most versatile cheese family, offers a variety of textures, from mid-soft - to supple – to firm. Pressing the curds into different molds produces pressed cheese. The strength and length of the pressing process determines the level of moisture in the paste. Examples are Cheddar, Havarti and Manchego.
The Pressed-Cooked Cheese
family falls into two distinct groupings: hard table or grating cheeses and mountain-style cheeses which have the characteristic “eyes” or holes. Pressed-cooked cheeses are made by pressing the curds into different molds, then heating them to release excess moisture and solidify them further. Examples include Hard Table/Grating Cheeses: Asiago, Pecorino, Romano, Reggiano and Parmigiano; and Mountain-Style Cheeses: Jarlsberg, Gruyere and Emmenthal.
family is the most creative due to the inventiveness of the cheese maker. Cheese specialties are created by blending one or more cheeses together and by smoking and/or by adding additional ingredients. Examples include Heart of England, Black Diamond Cheddar with Merlot, White Stilton with Apricots.