Chevre, Ricotta, Cheddar, Brie, Colby, Muenster, Swiss. All of these are names of cheese from around the world. Made from cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, fresh or matured, hard or creamy soft, mild or stinky; the world of cheese is a fascinating place. It is filled with variety in shape, colour, aroma and texture making it an incredibly versatile ingredient in any cook’s pantry. But to respect this diversity and truly savour the complete cheese experience one must use a few thumb rules.
A World Beyond Processed Cheese
All of this choice means that there are so many options to experiment and try out in the kitchen when cooking with cheese. Gone are the days when the only cheese option was a processed block. Now one can joyfully indulge in the stretchy texture of mozzarella when baked or the creamy mouth feel and salty notes of feta or the shards of Parmigiano Reggiano. Make a move to elevate your gastronomic experiences and save the processed cheese for a retro styled chicken salad.
To Melt or Not To Melt
A magical thing happens when cheese comes close to direct heat. It slowly melts down and is gloriously transformed into long, nutty brown strands of gooey cheese. Unfortunately, this process happens only with certain cheese, typically soft varieties like mozzarella and its baby version bocconcini, gruyere cheese, fontina, cheddar to name a few. Hard cheese like Parmesan or creamier cheese like feta, triple creams cannot be heated to get the same result but will be a waste of perfectly good cheese.
Don’t Get Rid of the Rind
Rinds are the outside shell that forms on cheese during the cheese making process. Sometimes, the rind is entirely inedible like when made with leaves, wax or cloth. But when the rind is edible, it’s a good idea to save the rinds of Parmesan or cheddar for adding a punch of savoury, umami flavour to stocks, stews, pasta sauces and soups.
Grate When Cold
Dishes like grilled cheese sandwiches, Mac n’ Cheese, casseroles, mornay sauces call for lots of grated cheese. To ensure all the cheese is properly grated and does not turn into mushy, refrigerate the cheese for an hour and grate it when it’s cold.
So many classic dishes around the world like the croque monsier, French onion soup, soufflé, fondue, mozzarella sticks,, pizza and cheesecake have cheese as a star ingredient. But there are so many ways to enjoy cheese in everyday meals as well. Crumble soft cheese like feta into a salad, layer Gruyere over sliced potatoes into a gratin, melt Swiss and fontina into a decadent cheese dip, grate Cheddar into an apple pie, add herbs like parsley and mint into ricotta to use as a spread in a roasted vegetable sandwich, whisk blue cheese into a homemade saladdressing. We hope this guide and cooking ideas have you excited to try a new cheese today! No matter what way you choose to join in our cheesy celebration, the results are bound to be absolutely delicious!