Unfolding the Secrets of Gourmet Cheese

by WriterArtist

Gourmet Cheese is the secret weapon of the chef and it is an excellent companion food for many culinary recipes, beverages and desserts.

If there’s an ingredient that can make delicious dish any time, any season on any occasion and any setting, it is cheese (of course). You can either eat cheese alone or wrap it with potato, herbs and veggies. Either way it is utterly delicious.

It is a key item to any staple cuisine and meals without it will be bland, plain and without zest. From cheese sauces or Mornay, cheese soufflés, fondues and cheese salads, you will find this beautiful ingredient anywhere and everywhere.

Cheese is made in farms, homes and commercially in factories. It has a humble origin and is enjoyed by everybody, rich and poor alike. Cheese making is evolving, from simple methods to the complex techniques and methods that were kept secret with families.

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Pairing Cheese with Sweet and Savoury Food

For those who enjoy your bowl of spaghetti with the delicious parmigiana-reggiano and the flavoured virgin olive oil, you know what it means to garnish with cheese. A dark rusted piece of country bread daubed with cultured butter and a thick slice of extra aged mountain Gruyere cheese, is the ultimate simple yet tasty breakfast.

With the array of grape-wines to choose from, it makes a delicious companion to wines too. Accompanied with fruit or wine it is an essential separate course in dinner at France. Some of the luscious, delicate flavour packed cheese are dessert in itself often paired with a sweet French wine.








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How is Cheese made?

It is amazing to see the entire process where the milk gets transformed to the delicious cheese by several different processes each unique to the location, climate and availability. It is also due to the coagulating curds that it makes such a yummy food.

 

 

 

Cheese is a much savoured milk product loved and consumed all over the planet. In the early 1940s, cheese was made from raw milk. In small scale at farmhouses using raw milk is convenient and safe but on a large scale, the milk has to be pasteurized for cheese making. As the demand for cheese grew, it was no longer safe to use raw milk for factory and mass production because raw milk gets spoiled by bacteria.

 

 

 

The connoisseurs of cheese however can make out the distinct difference from a cheese made of pasteurized milk. Pasteurized milk tends to destroy many organisms that contribute to the wonderful flavour of cheese that is easily gained from using raw milk.

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Main Source for Making Cheese

 


 

Milk from various animals is used for cheese making in the world. Main sources of milk are bovine, ovine and caprine. Bovine species consists of cow, buffalo and the likes, ovine animal species is the sheep and caprine is the goat. Milk from all these animals come in different taste, constituents and colour; hence the cheese made from it varies highly. Other species of animals used for milk could be yak, zebu, ass, llama, reindeer, camel and mare.

 

Out of the 3 types, bovine is of utmost importance because it is produced in high volumes. The composition of cheese also depends on factors such as the breed, its diet, age, lactation stage and the season of the year. Climate and temperature also make significant difference in forming cheese.

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Getting to Know the Cheese

The main constituents of cheese are fat, calcium and casein. Ovine milk contains the biggest percentage of these elements and hence is the richest source of these elements. Caprine and ovine milk are rich in potassium too. Cheese also contains vitamins although most of them get lost in wheying stage. 

How healthy is Cheese?

   

 

 

All cheese products made from natural milk contain proteins, nutrients and minerals such as calcium, zinc, magnesium, selenium and pholate. Naturally produced cheese from raw milk also has the key 4 fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, E, K and D.

Types of Cheese

 

It is complicated to define types of cheese because there are various factors of judging the characteristics and there is more than single manner in which its internal and external characteristics can be defined.

One way of classifying types of cheese other than the flavour is by the calcium content and pH value. Another way would be the method of preparation, way of coagulating curds, adding brine or any other optional ingredients, its acidity and ageing factor.

Which is your favourite cheese?

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Cheesy Facts

 

  • France is doing the job of cheese making for a long time and it produces some of the best cheeses in the world.

 

  • France has 22 provinces and they all make great cheese. The varieties of cheese ranges from 400 exotic to more than 750 unique ones which all taste unique and delicious.

 

  • Italians love their cheese and produce it in highly controlled environments. Due to this reason you will have to travel to Italy to taste their great varieties of cheese that are produced locally in certain regions and at certain times only.

 

  • In India, cheese is enjoyed in paneer form which can be made even by housewives at home. It is a soft and fresh, white textured cheese that is used in curries.

 

  • You know that Japanese love tea, but they want to do their bit to these yummy milk product too. Northern island of Hokkaido produces most of Japanese cheese and dairy products. Native Japanese cheese is called Sakura cheese. It is soft and creamy flavoured with cherry leaves.

 

  • Many countries celebrate cheese festivals where top brands showcase their masterpiece cheese produce. You get a chance of cheese tasting with varieties of cheese you would have ever imagined.

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Updated: 07/26/2015, WriterArtist
 
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Do you include cheese in your meals?


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lovebuglena on 10/23/2015

Interesting article. I love cheese! The stinkier the better...

MBC on 10/17/2015

I love cheeses and they make a great holiday gift!

frankbeswick on 09/10/2015

Smoked cheeses are tasty. I like Austrian smoked. I did eat a sausage in Norway that contained shredded meat and cheese. It was pleasant to taste, but very filling, and I think that it was created for people who expended much energy in a cold climate, such as Norway.

jptanabe on 09/10/2015

Yes! I'm a cheese lover and of course my "go to" cheese is the simple tasty cheddar. I have to admit I love a good brie too. And like @Mira I enjoy cheese with fruit and feta cheese in salad. I used to enjoy herb flavored cheeses too, have to get back to eating them!

Mira on 08/24/2015

I love cheese and cheesy dishes :) I try not to eat a lot of cheese though, for cholesterol reasons. But I love cheese with fruit (grapes, apples), on pizza and in pasta dishes, and with butter on a slice of tasty bread, as you say. I also love cheese in salads, of course. I often think a salad is not complete unless it has some cheese in it.

Veronica on 08/24/2015

A marvellous post . Thank you for writing it. There is so much information.

My family love cheese in all forms . My favourites are obviously Cheshire which comes in 3 colours red white and blue and also Lancashire.

In my fridge at the moment, I have Greek Feta cheese for cooking, Italian soft Marscapone and Italian Parmesan and then I have Cheddar, Lancashire and cottage cheese. I have a French Reblochon for cooking

I use Italian marscapone for my unbaked sweet cheesecakes and also for my smoked mackeral pate.

I do like regional cheeses though. Garstang Blue, Shropshire Blue and Somerset Brie are my favourites.

Lovely photos and ideas ty

WriterArtist on 08/24/2015

@davehearn0159 - The sheep cheese from Poland must be quite rare, especially in the East. The way you are describing the pairing, I can understand how delicious it must be.

WriterArtist on 08/24/2015

@blackspanielgallery - I think there is a world full of cheese - soft and hard, fresh and aged that needs to be explored. I haven't got a chance to taste the finer delicacies but I agree nobody can deny the deliciousness of soft spreadable cheese on a fresh loaf of bread.

davehearn9159 on 08/18/2015

I like cheese especially if it's ingredient traditional dishes for example 'oscypek' I was eating this sheep cheese in Zakopane in Polend,
was delicious especially with cranberry!

blackspanielgallery on 08/16/2015

I really like cheese, and in many of its varieties. I like soft, spreadable cheese less than harder cheeses.


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