Varieties of Cheese
Wondering what some of the thousands of varieties of cheese out there are? Here’s a closer look at common and easily accessible cheeses, with examples from each category.
Blue cheeses, like blue and gorgonzola, are known for the blue and green streaks that are swirled throughout. Fun fact: This unique coloring and appearance comes from the harmless, flavor-producing mold used to make it. Blue cheeses have a texture that ranges from creamy to crumbly.
Hard and semi-hard cheeses, a group that includes cheddar, Parmesan, Gouda, and Gruyère, vary from semi-firm to very firm in texture and are aged anywhere from a few weeks to several months or more. The dry texture and low moisture content of hard cheeses helps them retain their shape for easy slicing.
These cheeses, such as Brie and Havarti, often have a soft texture and high moisture content with a flavor profile that ranges from mild to full, based on how long they have aged.
The cheeses in this group are typically by adding lactic acid cultures to milk. They have a soft texture, high moisture content, and a shorter shelf life. Ricotta and cottage cheese are examples of fresh cheese that can be eaten alone but are often added to recipes.
Pasta filata cheeses, like mozzarella and string cheese, are named for the unique process of pulling the curds while they are dipped in hot water. Once the curd has been heated and stretched, it is molded. In the case of mozzarella-style cheese, the molded cheese is immersed in cold water, cooled in brine, and packaged.
Now that you know more about cheese, have fun experimenting with the unique flavors and textures of any new-to-you types to identify your favorites. Perhaps you want to create a vibrant cheese board and invite some friends over to partake in the fun!