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2010-07-19 11:24:14

Different Kinds of Cheeses
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  1. Manchego
    • (mon-CHAY-goy) Spain's most famous cheese and most popular, is made from sheep's milk and has a mild salty nutty flavor. It has a characteristic crosshatch pattern on it's rind (inedible) that today comes from plastic molds, but is modeled after the traditional presses made from strands of the native grass esparto.
    • It has a firm texture and comes in wheels that are 4 - 5 inches high and 8 - 9 inches in diameter. Manchego is great to serve alone as an appetizer or with other cheeses and some cured olives. Some people grate it and serve it on vegetarian dishes.
  2. Gorgonzola
    • (gohr-guhn-ZOH-lah) Named for the Italian city where it is made, this cow's milk cheese is rich and creamy with a slightly pungent flavor. When aged over 6 months, both the flavor and the aroma become stronger....much stronger.
    • Some people think its stinky, but if you like strong cheese, you will love gorgonzola. It goes great with the pear in my salad, Seasonal French pears, mesclun, toasted pine nuts & gorgonzola.
  3. Asiago
    • (ah-zee-AH-goh) Although also made in the United States, this cow's milk cheese gets its name from from the village of Asiago in northern Italy. Of the two types, Asiago d'allevo and Asiago pressato, only the d'allevo is available in the United States.
    • The d'allevo is made from partially skimmed cows milk and is beige in color with distinctive tiny holes running throughout the cheese. When ripe, the cheese can be soft and makes for a great table cheese, but when aged for a year or longer, it is used as a grading cheese.
    • The flavor is rich, somewhat nutty, but mild. Often you will find Asiago served in restaurants as a substitute for Parmesan because it's cheaper. If you have a choice, ask for Parmesan. The milder, sweeter Asiago pressato is made from pasteurized whole milk and is aged only for a short time and is not exported to the US.
  4. Mozzarella
    (maht-suh-REHL-lah) is a soft white cheese with a mild flavor typically made from cow’s milk. It came from southern Italy where it was originally made from buffalo milk. If you are lucky enough to find real buffalo mozzarella in your local market, try it. Although expensive, it’s like eating ice cream compared to frozen yogurt.
  5. Pecorino Romano
    • (peh-koh-REE-noh) From the word pecora which means ewe in Italian, cheeses made from sheep's milk in Italy are called pecorino. Although the majority of pecorino is made in southern Italy, especially Sardinia, the best known pecorino is Pecorino Romano. Genuine Romano is only produced in the province of Rome from November to June.
    • My favorite genuine Romano is Locatelli. It's wonderful grated on pasta dishes but I also enjoy eating it plain at the end of a meal with a glass of red wine. Pecorino is straw colored, 36% fat, semi-hard, granular with a smooth rind coated in oil. It comes in a cylindrical shape about 12 inches in diameter, 16 inches tall and although a little sharper than Parmesan, it is often substituted when used in cooking.
    • It has an intensely strong sheepy quality to it. It is to southern Italy what Parmigiano-Reggiano is to the north. Look for the sheep's head logo with Pecorino Romano embossed on the rind to make sure you are getting the real stuff.
  6. Gruyère
    (ɡruːˈjɛər/ or /ɡrɨˈjɛər/) is a hard yellow cheese made from cow's milk, named after the town of Gruyères in Switzerland. Gruyère is sweet but slightly salty, with a flavor that varies widely with age. It is often described as creamy and nutty when young, becoming with age more assertive, earthy, and complex. When fully aged (five months to a year) it tends to have small holes and cracks which impart a slightly grainy mouthfeel. To make an 80 kg (176 lb.) round of Gruyère cheese, about 8000 litres (2110 gallons) of milk are used.