Cheese For Dummies

So you’re looking to add a little bit of sophistication and finesse to your culinary style, huh? Well, let us introduce the concept of cheeses. Pretty much any classy adult has to have some basic knowledge of fine cheeses if he truly wants to be an esteemed member of society. There’s just one thing standing in the way of your journey to newfound culinary aristocracy, and that’s actually knowing something about cheeses. Well, rest assured, we’ve written an entry-level, beginner’s guide to cheeses just for you. Prepare to amaze your fancy friends at their high-society dinner events.


Soft and semi-soft cheeses


buratta cheese

unsplash / Alexander Maasch / tiefenscharf


Soft cheeses are produced throughout a relatively short production process and have little to no aging time. This allows them to have a smooth, creamy, gooey texture while boasting mild, non-offensive aromas and flavors. These cheeses are refrigerator staples because they’re just so easy to spread. A few soft cheeses are ricotta, burrata, and fetta. Semi-soft cheeses have had a hefty amount of their water content removed, and they still boast that milky freshness. Some semi-soft cheeses are Mozzarella, Fontina, and Pico.


semi-firm and firm cheeses


cheddar cheese on black table

unsplash / onder ortel / onderortel


Semi-firm cheeses undergo a longer aging process that lets their flavors ripen and intensify. They have lower water content, allowing them to be grated. They tend to be the people-pleasers of the cheeseboard. A few semi-firm cheeses: gouda, muenster, provolone, montorey jack.  Firm cheeses are heated, cooked, and pressed, making for a firmer build. The most popular type of firm cheese is Cheddar.


hard cheeses


parmesan cheese on a plate

Unsplash / Aliona Gumeniuk / agumeniuk


Hard cheeses are cheeses that have had most of their moisture and water content removed throughout the production process. These cheeses are often also aged for long periods of time. These cheeses are often grated upon other dishes, but some of them can be served as standalone cheeses on a cheeseboard. A few examples of hard cheeses are: Manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Pecorino di Romano.


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