Cheese-o-pedia

  1. Affine

    The French word for "to finish or refine"; also used to describe a perfectly ripe cheese.

  2. Aging

    The process of curing or ripening cheeses in carefully controlled environments to allow the development of microorganisms that accentuate the basic cheese flavors.

  3. American cheese

    American cheese is widely recognized by its mild and creamy flavor, white or orange-yellow coloring and easy-to-melt quality. You can count on this all-time family favorite to be at home everywhere — from the dinner table to the picnic table, and from lunch boxes to luncheon buffets.

    Not only does American cheese make delectable grilled cheese sandwiches and superb chef’s salads, it’s also perfect in cream-based soups. It melts beautifully over vegetables and baked potatoes, and makes a classic topping for cheeseburgers.

    Pair American cheese with red wine, beer, milk, iced tea or soft drinks.

  4. Ammoniated

    A term describing cheese that smells of ammonia as a result of being overripe or improperly ripened. A hint of ammonia is not objectionable with white bloomy rinds after they are first unwrapped, as they should be allowed to breathe.

  5. Annatto

    A natural vegetable dye used to give many cheese varieties—especially New York and Wisconsin Cheddars and many English cheeses—a yellow-orange hue.

  6. Asiago cheese

    Asiago is an Italian cheese with a flavor similar to a blend of aged Cheddar and Parmesan. This cow's milk cheese is named after its point of origin—a quaint village in the Northern part of Italy. Young Asiago has a mild and sweet flavor while aged Asiago is well-loved for its sharp, fruity flavor.

    Young Asiago can be chunked or sliced for sandwiches, wraps or snacking. Aged Asiago is the perfect grating cheese and can be added to soups and salads.

    Pair Asiago with Late Harvest Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Burgundy, Merlot, Dolcetto or Barbera.

  7. Bleu

    The French word for blue.

  8. Bloomy Rind

    The white, sometimes mottled rind that grows on soft-ripened cheeses such as Brie and Camembert.

  9. Blue cheese

    Blue cheese offers flavors ranging from delicate and only slightly tangy to richly earthy and very sharp. Textures can range from crumbly to readily spreadable. This cheese is easily distinguished by the green-gold marbled interiors. The blue streaks are a result of mold from harmless bacteria that is added during manufacturing. Though all blue cheese shares the basic flavor of Penicillium Roquefort, different milks make them individually distinctive.

    Blue cheese can be used to make salad dressing and dips, and works well in pasta dishes, omelets, crepes and soufflés. It can also be served for dessert with fresh fruit. Pair blue cheese with Pinot Noir, Burgundy, Port, Late Harvest Riesling, sweet reds or whites, fruity reds, Amarone or Port.

  10. Brebis

    The French word for cheese made from sheep's milk.

  11. Brick cheese

    Brick cheese is ivory to creamy yellow in color with flavor that ranges from very mild to pungently sharp. The cheese, which originated in Wisconsin, is dotted with small, round openings. When young, brick has a mild and sweet flavor with a touch of nuttiness. It is easy to slice and makes a perfect melting cheese at this stage. The more pungent variety resembles the surface-ripened beer cheese, or beer kase, of Germany with a strong flavor that increases with age.

    Brick cheese is great over casseroles and soups and makes a particularly good sandwich with pumpernickel bread and raw or sautéed onions.

    Pair mild brick cheese with light red wine or beer and aged brick with fruit juices, iced tea or lemonade.

  12. Brie

    Brie is the most popular of all imported French cheeses. This soft-ripened cheese is made with cow's milk and has a white or off-white bloomy rind and a soft and slightly runny interior with a mild glossy paste.

    Brie should be eaten when it is "affine" or fully ripened. The aroma should be reminiscent of fresh mushrooms and always pleasant. A chalky texture is a sure sign that it was cut before its peak. As with most cheese, brie should always be served at room temperature so its full texture and flavor is allowed to develop.

    Brie has its origins in the region of Ile-de-France not far from Paris and can be traced back to the 5th century.

    Serve brie at room temperature with fresh fruits and walnuts or layer with sun-dried tomatoes and bake en croûte for a special treat.

    Pair brie with Bordeaux and Burgundy wines.

  13. Bufala

    The fresh Mozzarella cheese made from the milk of water buffalos in Italy.

  14. Butterfat

    The ratio of protein and fat that remains in a cheese after all the water is removed. Cheese is essentially made up of water, fat and protein. 50% butterfat means that half of the dry matter is fat, and the other half is protein and minerals. Butterfat percentage is very different from the percentage of fat in a cheese.

  15. Buttermilk

    The low-fat liquid that is drained off in making butter.

  16. Cabra

    The Spanish word for goat and goat's milk.

  17. Caerphilly

    Caerphilly is a semi-firm cow's milk cheese that is mild and creamy with a buttery flavor that finishes with a hint of lemon. This English cheese originated in Wales in the late 20th century. When demand exceeded Wales' capacity, they persuaded cheesemakers in Somerset, England, to make the product; it has been an English favorite ever since.

    Caerphilly is the perfect snacking cheese and can be served with fruit, bread, chutney or preserves.

    Pair Caerphilly with dry white wines.

  18. Camembert

    A soft-ripened cow's milk cheese with a white bloomy rind and a flavor that ranges from mild to distinctively full depending on its age. Camembert has been exclusively produced in Normandy since the end of the 18th century. Similar to brie in texture, authentic "A.O.C." Camembert's subtle differences of flavor are indicative of the rich milk produced by the cows that graze on the grasses local to the coastal region of Normandy. Camembert is a gorgeous addition to any cheese plate. Packaged for sale both here and in France in small, round wooden boxes, there are actually societies in France dedicated to collecting the colorful and informative Camembert labels.

    Camembert can be served for dessert with apples, grapes and walnuts, or try a classic Parisian fast food lunch— a thin crispy baguette cut in half with ripe Camembert.

    Pair Camembert with white Burgandys, Rhine whites, Pinot Noir or Gamay.

  19. Capra

    The Italian word for goat and goat's milk.

  20. Certified Organic

    Consisting of at least 95% organic product ingredients. Cannot include genetically modified foods (GMO). Animals must be fed 100% organically grown feed and given access to outdoor land and pasture. Antibiotics cannot be used.

  21. Cheddar

    Cheddar is a cow’s milk cheese that is widely regarded for its rich, full flavor.

    As Cheddars age, they become more complex in flavor, appearance, texture and aroma. With each passing year of aging, they gradually change from a fresh milky flavor and soft, almost rubbery, texture to classic cheeses that are rich in flavor, crumbly in texture, pleasantly sharp in taste and acidic in aroma.

    Cheddar’s trademark sharpness develops at about two years into the aging process, and is due to the increasing concentration of salts and acids that begin to build in the cheese. At about this time, the salts begin to bind to themselves and form small crystals. At about three years of aging, the salts begin to form small granules and by five years the salts can form into small, "crunchy" grains. This is a natural and desirable part of the aging process and it adds to the complexity of the cheese and its flavor appreciation.

    Aged Cheddar’s texture should be both dry and crumbly, but still rich, creamy and full bodied. The aroma should be an invitation to the upcoming flavor, but should be clean, pleasant and slightly tingly to the nose.

    Cheddar can be added to cream-based soups or sauces, shredded over baked potatoes or melted over steamed vegetables and baked dishes. It is also great in a traditional toasted cheese sandwich or served with a slice of apple pie. Pair Cheddar with red wines like Zinfandel or Merlot and with pale ales or stout beers.

  22. Cheddaring

    The traditional English way of preparing curds in Cheddar making that enhances its texture, stacking the curds to let the whey drain.

  23. Cheese Dip

    Very soft cheese infused with a wide variety of flavors.

  24. Cheese Spread

    Soft, spreadable, cheese-based products available in a wide variety of flavors.

  25. Chèvre

    The French word for goat and goat's milk. Chèvre is typically used to describe fresh goat cheeses with a snowy white color, mildly tangy flavor, a soft yet slightly crumbly texture and a fresh dairy fragrance. There are literally dozens of different goat cheeses produced in France and the United States today. The range of flavors and textures can vary as much as any of the cheeses made from cow's milk. Goat cheese is relatively low in fat, easily digested and a wonderful source of calcium and protein. Chèvre can be covered in herbs such as thyme or rosemary, spices like black pepper or green peppercorns, a fine vegetable ash or served au naturel. For good reason, it remains one of the fastest growing categories of cheese.

    Serve chèvre as a dessert cheese with fresh fruit or spread on baguettes or bagels.

    Pair chèvre with Rhone reds, Pouilly-Fumé or Sancerre.

  26. Colby

    Colby is a semi-firm cheese that is produced in the same style as Cheddar, but features a softer, semi-firm texture. Colby comes in a warm, orange color, is peppered with tiny holes and features a rich, welcoming flavor.

    Colby makes the perfect addition to roast beef, turkey and ham sandwiches. It also works well when cubed in macaroni salad or shredded as a topping for chili.

    Pair Colby with red wines, beer, white grape juice or apple cider.

  27. Colby Jack

    Colby Jack (also called Marble Jack or Co-Jack) is the perfect marriage of the flavors, textures and orange and white colors of Colby and Monterey Jack. The cheese is semi-firm with a mild, creamy flavor and distinctive orange and ivory marbling.

    Colby Jack adds wonderful eye-appeal and flavor to cheese platters, pizzas, casseroles and sandwiches. It can also be used for nachos, cut into sticks as a snack and cubed for garden or fruit salads.

    Pair Colby Jack with fruity wine or white grape juice.

  28. Crème

    A classification of cheese derived from the butterfat content. Double crème cheeses contain at least 60% butterfat: Havarti, Gouda or Brie. Triple Crème cheeses contain at least 70% butterfat: Gournay and St. Andre.

  29. Devon Cream

    Devon Cream is a clotted yellowish cream with 55-60% fat content. It is so thick it does not need whipping.

    Serve Devon Cream in tea, over berries, fruit salad, fruit pies or cakes. It can also be served with waffles, crepes and scones for the perfect English Cream Tea. Add it to horseradish to make a delectable sauce for beef, or use in tomato sauce for pasta.

    Pair Devon Cream with Sancere or Semillon.

  30. Dry Matter

    All the components of cheese solids excluding moisture. Dry matter includes proteins, milk fat, milk sugars and minerals.

  31. Edam

    Mild and tangy semi-firm table cheese with a pale yellow interior and a red wax rind. Created over 600 years ago in the town of Edam, Holland. It is second only to Gouda as Holland's most exported cheese. This cow's milk cheese is known for its mild and sometimes salty flavor and makes a good alternative to Gouda.

    Serve Edam with peaches, melons, cherries and apricots, or atop your favorite cracker.

    Pair Edam with beer or American Rieslings.

  32. Emmenthaler

    The Swiss word for Swiss cheese.

  33. Eye

    A hole within cheese that is caused as a result of fermentation during the curing process. Eyes are common in all Swiss-type cheeses.

  34. Farmer’s Cheese

    Similar to a firm cottage cheese with a rich, creamy taste and semi-soft, crumbly texture. Farmer’s cheese is ivory to creamy yellow in color and has a buttery flavor. This traditional favorite is firm enough for cubing, shredding or slicing.

    Farmer’s cheese is ideal for casseroles, dips, au gratin potatoes, macaroni and cheese, blintzes and desserts. It can also be served with pastrami on dark pumpernickel bread or sliced and served with crackers and fresh fruit for snacking.

    Pair farmer’s cheese with fruity white wine, iced tea or coffee.

  35. Farmhouse

    A term referring to artisanal cheeses handmade on farms in England and elsewhere.

  36. Fat

    Many cheeses have 8 grams of fat per ounce (1 ounce = 28 grams). Low fat and reduced fat cheeses have between 3 and 6 grams per ounce. There is little that will be saved in the way of fat and calories by eating a low-fat cheese and much to lose in flavor, texture and quality. Flavor in cheese is greatly due to its fat content.

  37. Feta

    A white, pickled cheese that has considerable salt added to prolong its keeping quality. Feta's manner of curing 4 to 6 weeks in a brine bath distinguishes it from all other cheeses. This brining process gives feta a soft, crumbly texture and a strong, salty flavor.

    The original feta was a sheep's milk cheese made in the Balkans, especially Greece. It is often made from a mixture of sheep's and goat's milk, or goat's and cow's milk and sometimes it is made from cow's milk alone. Imported feta has protected name status and can only come from Greece.

    Feta may be eaten as a table cheese. It also crumbles perfectly onto Mediterranean salads. Because it melts so beautifully, it is used in a wide variety of cooked dishes. Pair feta with Muscat or Beaujolais.

  38. Fondue

    A delicious combination of Gruyere and Emmentaler. Fondue is one of the national foods of Switzerland. It is a communal meal where all the diners use slender forks and immerse bite size portions of toasted bread into a large pot of melted cheese. Fondue is wonderful at festive holiday celebrations or intimate dinners for two. Everyone will love dipping into this luscious and creamy cheese combination!

    Serve fondue with hearty bread cubes, crackers, fresh vegetables and fruits for dipping.

    Pair fondue with Chablis, Pomerol or Chasselas.

  39. Fontina

    The original Fontina is only made in the Aosta Valley of northern Italy from unpasteurized milk. The initials CPF (Consortium of Fontina Producers) appear on each wheel certifying its origin. Fontina has a delicate, nutty, almost honeyed flavor, somewhat like Swiss Gruyere but sweeter and more buttery. It is a medium ripened cheese, with a smooth, elastic, straw-colored paste that has sparse round holes. Techniques used to make Fontina resemble those used for Swiss cheeses however a very different starter culture produces distinctive flavors and only a few tiny holes. Depending on age, Fontina is mild and milky, faintly nutty or memorably complicated in flavor.

    Fontina makes a fine eating cheese when served as an appetizer, snack or dessert. It is also very versatile in cooking.

    Pair Fontina with Gamay Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, light red and fruity white wines or bock beer.

  40. Formaggio

    The Italian word for cheese.

  41. Fromage

    The French word for cheese.

  42. Gorgonzola

    Exceptional flavor with a rich, creamy texture and beautiful, consistent greenish blue veining. It is a cow's milk cheese that is known for its slightly piquant, full, earthy flavor. Gorgonzola gets its name from the town located in the Po Valley near Milan where it has been made since A.D. 879.

    Heat and toss gorgonzola with pasta or stir it into risotto or mashed potatoes. Gorgonzola matches nicely with fish, poultry and beef dishes and makes a nice snack with pears, apples, walnuts, cashews and apricots.

    Pair gorgonzola with red wines like Pinot Noir, Merlot and Zinfandel, or dessert wines like Port and Late Harvest Rieslings.

  43. Gouda

    A semi-soft to hard cheese similar to Edam. Aged one to four months for a mild and buttery flavor.

    Originally from the village of Gouda, northeast of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, Gouda cheese, pronounced "how-da" by the Dutch, was already being exported to other countries as far back as the 13th century. Today, Gouda is the largest selling cheese in Holland representing 60% of all cheese production. It is typically encased in an inedible red wax rind. Made from full cow’s milk it has a semi-firm, straw-colored body scattered with a few small irregular holes. Gouda’s nutty and mellow flavor is also available in a smoked variety.

    This classic snacking cheese is also excellent on sandwiches and burgers, or on a fruit tray.

    Pair Gouda with Beaujolais Villages or lager beer.

  44. Grana

    The Italian term for hard-grating cheese.

  45. Grana Padano

    Hard, straw-colored cow's milk cheese from Northern Italy's Po Valley that is very similar to Parmigiano Reggiano®. Grana Padano has become popular in the states for its mellow, nutty flavor. Grana means "grain" in Italian and originates from the 11th century. Its main differences from Parmigiano Reggiano® are that it is allowed to be handmade year round and can be sold after it has aged a shorter period of time. Its name is legally protected "D.O.C.," and production is strictly controlled. Made from partially skimmed cow's milk, Grana Padano is very high in protein and other nutrients. It has a compact grainy texture and an inedible hard oily rind.

    Grana Padano can be grated and served in pasta dishes, soups and salads, or eaten with dried fruit and nuts.

    Pair Grana Padano with Barolo, Chianti or Brunello.

  46. Gruyère

    An earthy hard cheese with a nutty and fruity flavor. Inedible light brown natural rind is stamped with “Gruyère” and “Switzerland” in blue or red. This cow's milk cheese is aged a minimum of 100 days and is peppered with tiny round holes.

    Gruyère originated before the 12th century and is named after the District of Gruyeres in the canton of Fribourg in French-speaking Switzerland. As with all the other name-controlled Swiss cheeses, always look for the Swiss Seal and Swiss name on the rind of the cheese.

    Gruyère can be mixed with Emmental for fondue, used for making Mornay sauce or melted over vegetables.

    Pair Gruyère with Rhone whites, Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon.

  47. Havarti

    An all-natural cow's milk cheese with small irregular holes, a mild and creamy flavor and tangy, milky aftertaste. This rindless cheese is ivory in color and is available plain or can be infused with a variety of flavors like dill, caraway, jalapeño or herbs and spices.

    The entire Danish dairy industry owes its present vitality to one very industrious Danish farmer, Hanne Nielsen, a 19th century cheesemaker who traveled throughout Europe in search of new techniques. She created Havarti, named it after her farm, and it became one of the world's most popular cheeses. Havarti is a semi-soft table cheese known for its versatility.

    Serve Havarti on a fruit plate with apples, folded into omelets or added to a sandwich.

    Pair Havarti with American Merlot, Spanish Rioja Crianza or beer.

  48. Iberico

    A hard Spanish cheese made from a mixture of goat, cow and sheep's milk for a sweet, tangy, hearty flavor. Iberico is very similar to Manchego in appearance as it also has the characteristic dark ivory, inedible black rind with an embossed basket-weave pattern as well as a firm, dry textured interior. Its main difference is its sweet tanginess and somewhat milder flavor.

    Serve Iberico with quince paste, Spanish Jamón, chorizos or grated on pasta.

    Pair Iberico with Ribera del Duero or Tawny Port.

  49. Kaas

    The Dutch word for cheese.

  50. Kase

    The German word for cheese.

  51. Lait Cru

    The French term for raw milk.

  52. Leyden

    Hard cheese that features a spicy fragrance, a dense yellow interior and a dry, tangy flavor from the addition of cumin and/or caraway seeds.

    Named after the Dutch city of Leiden, this is one of the most important cheeses of Holland. Its rind is covered in an inedible red wax, or sometimes with mustard yellow, and is always imprinted with the famous crossed keys that are the symbol of its town of origin. Leyden is made using partly skimmed cow’s milk and buttermilk. Legend has it that this flavorful cheese inspired the saying: "Once a Dutchman eats a piece of Leyden, he is spoiled for any other cheese."

    Leyden can be melted over rice and beans or cut and served with salami, ham, pickles and onions.

    Pair Leyden with full-bodied beers, Gin or Zinfandel.

  53. Liederkranz®

    An American replication of Germany’s Limburger cheese that has the same texture and unique aroma, but features a distinctively robust and buttery flavor. Liederkranz® cheese has a moist, edible, golden yellow crust with a pale ivory interior and a heavy, honey-like consistency. It is a time-tested favorite of cheese connoisseurs who appreciate strong aromas and full flavors.

    Liederkranz® cheese is best on sandwiches made with dark bread, but it can also be served as an appetizer, added to salads or served with fruits.

    Pair Liederkranz® cheese with dark beers.

  54. Mahón

    Ripened in underground caves with an almost Parmesan-like flavor with nutty, sharp and rustic overtones. This semi-soft cow's milk cheese is pale amber in color and surrounded by a natural, inedible orange-brown rind that is rubbed with olive oil and paprika.

    Mahón is produced on the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean off the east coast of Spain. One of the few Spanish cheeses made from cow's milk, it is also one of the Denominación de Origen "D.O." protected cheeses. Ripened in underground caves for at least six months, Mahón develops an orange-brown rind from the paprika and olive oil it is brushed with during its aging. It is Spain's most popular cow's milk cheese.

    Place shards of Mahón into extra virgin olive oil with fresh rosemary or slice and serve on tapas with gazpacho.

    Pair Mahón with Priorat white, dry Madeira, Cava and pale ales.

  55. Manchego

    Sheep's milk makes Manchego tangy and hearty. When aged in olive oil it has a warm and rustic flavor. It is surrounded by an inedible hard rind that is pale yellow to gray-green or black in color. This rind presents an unusual basket-like pattern that is embossed into it from the woven straw used to hold the pressed curds. Its interior is a dark ivory to yellow color. Manchego is a firm cheese with a compact, dry texture.

    The most well known of all the Spanish cheeses, Manchego is one of Spain's Denominación de Origen "D.O." cheeses. It is produced in La Mancha in Central Spain. Manchego is one of the great cheeses of the world.

    Manchego can be served with Spanish olives or as a dessert with dried fruit and nuts. It also works well with quince paste and is frequently found in tapas or grated on vegetables.

    Pair Manchego with dry Sherry, Madiera or Tawny Port.

  56. Mascarpone

    Mascarpone is a sweet, creamy cow’s milk cheese that is pale cream in color. It is a major ingredient in Italian tortas.

    Mascarpone can be served as is or combined with other ingredients to make desserts, fillings, toppings, dips and spreads. It can also be stirred into soups and sauces.

    Pair Mascarpone with dry sparkling wines like Champagne.

  57. Monterey Jack

    A creamy white, smooth-textured cheese with a gentle flavor and easy-to-melt quality. Monterey Jack has a semi-soft texture, an off-white color, is peppered with small holes and has a mild to mellow flavor.

    Melt Monterey Jack in quesadillas or on nachos. It can also be baked in quiches and enjoyed on sandwiches.

    Pair Monterey Jack with white wines, iced tea, lemonade or cider.

  58. Mozzarella

    A creamy, semi-firm, white cheese with a smooth texture and a mild flavor. Smooth melting quality and a fresh taste make this a cheese the whole family can enjoy.

    Enjoy Mozzarella on pizza or in lasagna, baked ziti and other Italian dishes. Try it melted on bruschetta or grilled eggplant slices, or serve it with prosciutto and olives on focaccia or with tomatoes and basil in a salad.

    Pair mozzarella with light red wine, beer and fruit juices.

  59. Muenster

    Muenster is a semi-soft cheese with a rich, smooth and creamy texture, a mild, tangy, buttery flavor and a distinctive orange rind.

    Enjoy muenster on sandwiches, burgers and in casseroles. Serve it cubed for cheese platters, or melt on toast for a delicious breakfast.

    Pair muenster with beer, juice, cider or fruity wines.

  60. Mun-chee®

    A very mild, sweet semi-soft processed cheese made from the finest ingredients under the highest quality controls. Sometimes called "Sweet Mun-chee," this rindless cow's milk cheese is a certified OU kosher product. This means the production of the cheese, starting from the manufacturing of every ingredient, is watched over by special rabbinical inspectors to insure the strictest of production standards.

    Mun-chee® cheese is great for snacking on camping trips and picnics and can be added to omelets, sandwiches and wraps, and macaroni and cheese.

    Pair Mun-chee® cheese with soda and iced tea.

  61. Murcia al Vino

    Murcia al Vino is a young, firm, goat's milk cheese that has been bathed in red wine during ripening to give it its extraordinary color and add a hint of flavor. The cheese is made from the milk of Murciano-Granadina goats, widely considered to be the best in all of Spain.

    Murcia al Vino is great on tapas, melted on a hamburger or veggie burger or fried with tomato sauce. It also makes a great snack.

    Pair Murcia al Vino with full-bodied Spanish reds like Rioja or Ribera del Duero.

  62. Myzithra

    Made from the whey of feta and other sheep's milk cheeses creating a high protein, low fat cheese. This traditional Greek cheese has been made in Greece for thousands of years and is considered the ancestor of all whey cheeses. In the early years, balls of Myzithra would be wrapped in small sheets of muslin and hung in trees to dry in the sea air. Myzithra is very white and has a smooth texture and salty flavor.

    There are two types of Myzithra: a young one which is slightly salted and has a texture and flavor similar to Italian Ricotta Salata (another whey cheese), and aged Myzithra which is hard and grainy and is an excellent substitute for Romano for grating on pasta or salads.

    Cube Myzithra and add to ripe tomatoes drizzled with olive oil or serve with dried figs and nuts.

    Pair Myzithra with strong coffee or ouzo.

  63. Parmesan

    A classic Italian hard cheese made with cow's milk. Parmesan is pale yellow with a granular texture and a sweet buttery and nutty flavor that intensifies with age.

    Serve Parmesan as a table cheese shaved over salads and steamed vegetables Add freshly grated Parmesan to casseroles, pizza, pasta, mashed potatoes, risotto, soup or cream and tomato sauces.

    Pair Parmesan with red wines like Barolo or dessert wines like Vin Santo.

  64. Parmigiano Reggiano®

    Among the world's great and versatile cheeses dating back to the 13th century. Parmigiano Reggiano® is handmade exactly the way it was 700 years ago, by men called "casaros" who apprentice their craft for over a decade before they are allowed to make even one wheel on their own.

    Completely natural, very high in protein and easily digested, Parmigiano Reggiano® continues to grow in popularity around the world. One of the name controlled cheeses of Italy, Denominazione Di Origine Controllata or "D.O.C.", there are many imitators that call themselves Parmesan, but the real one is easily spotted by its name Parmigiano Reggiano® etched around the sides of every 75 lb. wheel.

    Parmigiano Reggiano® is a hard straw-colored cheese that is made with partly skimmed cow's milk. It has a compact grainy texture and an inedible natural dark oily rind. It is aged from 22-24 months up to three years.

    Grate Parmigiano Reggian®o onto pasta, soup and salad or serve as a dessert with dried fruits and nuts.

    Pair Parmigiano Reggiano® with Chianti, Barolo or Brunelo.

  65. Pasta Filata

    Cheeses whose curds are heated and then kneaded and stretched to become elastic. The Italian term for plastic-curd type cheeses.

  66. PDO

    Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) symbols were created by the European Union (EU) to protect the names and reputation of specific regional foods from misuse and imitation. The legislation for these seals was formed in 1992 and is enforced by the EU to ensure that foods such as Fontina and Asiago can only be labeled as such if they come from the designated region.

    This official labeling process has helped to eliminate unfair competition and protects consumers from misleading, non-genuine products which may be of inferior quality.

    To qualify for a PDO seal, a product must be produced, processed and prepared in a given geographical area using recognized know-how.

  67. Pencillium

    The molds in or on certain cheeses for the purpose of ripening. Penicillium Candidum is used to develop soft-ripened cheeses such as brie; Penicillium Glaucum is used for gorgonzola and Penicillium Roqueforti is used for Roquefort and Danish Blue cheese.

  68. Pepper Jack

    A creamy, semi-firm Jack cheese embedded with peppers for a tangy, sharp taste. A zesty offshoot of Monterey Jack flavored with spicy peppers.

    Use Pepper Jack in quesadillas, nachos and casseroles for a distinctive taste. Pepper Jack can also be added to omelets, cubed in salads and melted over burgers.

    Pair Pepper Jack with beer or iced tea.

  69. PGI

    Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) symbols were created by the European Union (EU) to protect the names and reputation of specific regional foods from misuse and imitation. The legislation for these seals was formed in 1992 and is enforced by the EU to ensure that foods such as Fontina and Asiago can only be labeled as such if they come from the designated region.

    This official labeling process has helped to eliminate unfair competition and protects consumers from misleading, non-genuine products which may be of inferior quality.

    To qualify for a PGI seal, a product must be closely linked to a given geographical area meaning that at least one of the stages of production, processing or preparation takes place in the area.

  70. Plastic Curd

    Cheeses whose curds are heated and then kneaded and stretched to become elastic. The Italian term for these cheese varieties is "pasta filata." Mozzarella, Provolone and string cheese are plastic-curd type cheeses.

  71. Provolone

    Richly flavored, all-purpose cheese with a mild flavor that sharpens with age. Ivory to pale beige in color.

    Serve Provolone with Antipasto platters or dessert platters featuring fresh and dried fruits, or broil a slice over a crock of soup.

    Pair Provolone with fruity white wines, coffee and fruit juices.

  72. Queijo

    The Portuguese word for cheese.

  73. Queso

    The Spanish word for cheese.

  74. Raw Milk

    Milk that has not undergone pasteurization. All raw milk cheeses sold in the U.S. are aged over 90 days and safe to eat.

  75. Rennet

    An enzyme that coagulates milk and separates the curds from the whey. Rennet can come from animal, vegetable or microbial sources.

  76. Ricotta Salata

    A firm sheep's milk cheese from Southern Italy or Sicily that is slightly sweet and salty. Ricotta Salata is very different from cow's milk Italian Ricotta. This pristine white cheese is made from slightly salted curd, and can be aged from three months to a year or more. Ricotta Salata is used for grating and has a milder, less salty flavor than Pecorino Romano.

    Enjoy Ricotta Salata cubed on salads or serve with a variety of Italian meats and crusty breads.

    Pair Ricotta Salata with Pinot Grigio or Asti Spumante.

  77. Rind

    The outer surface of cheese that can vary in texture, thickness and color. Cheeses may be rindless, have natural rinds or be covered in wax.

  78. Ripe

    A descriptive term for cheese when it has arrived at its peak flavor through aging. The optimum period of aging varies widely among cheese varieties.

  79. Romano

    A top-quality classic Italian cheese with a sharp, tangy and assertive flavor. Romano is a cow’s milk, creamy white cheese that is hard and dense. It has a sharp piquant flavor and is surrounded by an inedible off-white, natural or black rind.

    Grate Romano into pasta, steamed vegetables, soups, salads and pizzas. Sprinkle it over quiches or frittatas, or use it with breading to coat chicken, fish or vegetables.

    Pair Romano with red wines such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel or Chianti as well as beer.

  80. Room Temperature

    Almost all cheeses could benefit from being left out about one to two hours at room temperature, between 65° F and 75° F, before serving so their textures and flavors are allowed to develop.

  81. Runny

    Soft-ripened cheese varieties often become runny at the peak of ripeness or if placed at room temperature for at least one hour.

  82. Sage Derby

    Pronounced "darby," this is a gorgeous, firm table cheese that is flavored with sage. Sage leaves are soaked in water and chlorophyll and then the bright green liquid is added to the cheese curds producing a gorgeous grass green with pale yellow marbling effect and subtly tangy herb flavor. Because of its festive green color, many have taken to using Sage Derby for holiday presentations on Christmas and St. Patrick's Day. Made with cow’s milk.

    Sage Derby makes great sandwiches with ham and sweet onion relish. It also works well in a traditional grilled cheese.

    Pair Sage Derby with beer or hard cider.

  83. Shropshire

    This creamy blue cheese is similar to Stilton, but is much sharper and colored with annatto to give it a bright orange hue. Shropshire is made with cow’s milk and has pronounced veining surrounded by an inedible brown rind. Shropshire is originally from Scotland and marketed in England and is now only produced by several creameries in Shropshire, England.

    Shropshire is traditionally served after the meal with sweet fruits or crusty breads. It also works well in salad dressings and sauces.

    Pair Shropshire with Port wine and robust reds.

  84. Sodium/Salt

    Salt is used in the cheese production process to prevent the cheese from spoiling as it cures. Some authentic cheeses are naturally high in salt (Feta, Pecorino Romano), while many others are naturally low in salt (Mozzarella, Swiss Emmenthaler).

  85. Stilton

    A full, rich and creamy Cheddar-like cheese that is carefully aged to create its distinctive blue veins. This cow's milk cheese is crumbly, smooth and dense. It’s dark ivory in color with dark blue veining and has a natural crusty brown inedible rind.

    Discovered in the early 18th century, when the owner of the Bell Inn in the town of Stilton in Leicestershire, England, tried a Blue cheese made by Elizabeth Scarbrow while visiting a small farm she worked on nearby. The Bell Inn soon had exclusive marketing rights and wagons full of Stilton cheese were regularly delivered to the Inn.

    Today, Stilton is England's only name-protected cheese and is considered the "King of English Cheeses."

    Top sirloin steaks or burgers with Stilton, or use it to make a savory dip or salad dressing. Stilton can also be served with fruit for dessert.

    Pair Stilton with robust red wines or Port.

  86. String cheese

    A cousin to Mozzarella with a mild flavor and a fun shape with strands that kids love to pull apart. Made from part skimmed cow’s milk, it is a healthy, between-meal snack and a great addition to a lunch box. Creamy white in color with a smooth texture and a mild flavor.

    String cheese is a popular kids' snack that can also be used as a topping on pizza, bagels and macaroni and cheese.

    Pair string cheese with fruit juices and milk.

  87. Surface Ripened

    A term referring to cheese that ripens from the exterior. Bloomy-rind, washed-rind and some blue cheeses are surface-ripened; also referred to as soft-ripened.

  88. Swiss

    This is a classic favorite for the whole family, with a flavor described as mild, mellow, buttery, nutty and rich. Ivory in color with a firm, smooth texture and signature holes.

    Use Swiss cheese in casseroles, classic fondues, quiches and classic Reuben sandwiches. It can also be melted over toast or used to top soups.

    Pair Swiss cheese with fruity red or white wine, ale or fruit juice.

  89. Tomme

    The French word for a wheel of cheese made in the mountainous regions of France such as Tomme de Pyrenees and Tomme de Savoie.

  90. Vaca

    The Spanish word for cow and cow's milk.

  91. Wensleydale

    A cylindrical cow's milk cheese with an inedible natural rind. Wensleydale is moist, creamy and crumbly in texture, with a mild but tangy-tart flavor. The recipe for this cheese dates back to Cistercian monks from the 11th century, during the period of William the Conqueror.

    Wensleydale is traditionally served with apple pie, but it can also be used for snacking with chutney and crusty bread.

    Pair Wensleydale with dry white wines, beer or cider.

  92. Whey

    The watery part of milk that is separated from the curds during cheesemaking. There are cheeses made predominantly from whey such as Ricotta.