FAQ

Ask The Cheesemonger

  1. What is the best cheese for melting on pizza?
  2. What is the difference between Brie and Camembert?
  3. What is the difference between Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano?
  4. What is the difference between Feta, Fetta and white-cheese-in-Brine?
  5. Can you freeze cheese?
  6. If I have high cholesterol and high blood pressure what cheeses can I still eat?
  7. Can cheese go back into the fridge after considerable periods of time unrefrigerated?
  8. Do I serve cheese before or after dinner?
  9. I’m having a dinner party, what cheese should I serve?
  10. How much cheese do I serve?
  11. What cheese accompaniments should I serve with my cheese platter?
  12. How do I store my cheese?
  13. How do I wrap and handle cheese
  14. How do you know if a cheese is off?
  15. Can I eat the rind?
  16. What are those crunchy, crystalized, sedimenty bits in hard cheeses?
  17. If I am lactose intolerant can I eat cheese?
  18. Can I eat cheese when I am pregnant?
  19. How do they get the holes in Swiss cheese?
  20. Why are some cheeses orange?
  21. What are Raw and Pasteurised Cheeses?
  22. Are all European Cheeses made with Raw Milk?
  23. Can you die from bad cheese?
  24. What is the cheese famous for being maggot infested?
  25. Does cheese give you nightmares?
  26. What are PDO Cheeses
  27. What are AOC Cheeses
  28. What are DO Cheeses
  29. What are DOP Cheeses
  30. Why do the green bay packers’ fans wear cheese on their heads?
  31. What’s in Milk?
  32. How do you make cheese?
  33. Are goat, cow, sheep and buffalo milk all the same composition?
  34. What does a double or triple cream cheese mean?
  35. How do fat content and calcium levels in cheeses compare?
  36. Who invented cheese?
  37. What is the oldest cheese?
  38. Is the moon made of cheese?
  39. What is the best alcoholic accompaniment with cheese?
  40. What does a vegetarian cheese refer to?
  41. What is ‘organic’ cheese?
  42. What is rennet?
  43. How are cheeses smoked?
  44. How many cheese are there in the world?
  45. How much milk does it take to make cheese?
  46. What is welsh rarebit?
  47. What is croque-monsieur?
  48. Is ricotta a cheese?
  49. Does cheddar have to come from Cheddar to be called ‘cheddar’?

Back to top


1. What is the best cheese for melting on pizza?

Mozzarella, gruyere, tilsit, raclette, pasta-fillata or ‘stretched curd cheeses’ are the best for melting on pizza. They stay together and melt evenly when cooked, as opposed to where the milk solids or ‘nutrients’ become compromised by the heat and the separation of the fat molecules from the milk solids leaves an oily layer on top.

Back to top


2. What is the difference between brie and camembert?

Whilst there are obvious similarities in their aesthetics, both are flat, disk shaped, semi-matured curd, covered with penicillin and share similar production and maturation techniques, the impact of geographical differences on the cheese (climate, altitude, soil structure etc.) creates a number of textural and taste variations.

5 points to consider in comparing and contrasting brie and camembert:

1. Comparison of Geographical Origin

Camembert:
Village of Camembert, in the Normandy region of France.

Brie:
Brie originates and is still produced in the Brie region, South and East of Paris

2. Comparison of History

Camembert:
It is claimed that Camembert existed in the Normandy region as early as 1680, however it is argued that it was significantly improved upon to become the cheese we know today around 1791 by Marie Harel, a farmer from Normandy, thanks to advice from a priest who came from Brie.

Brie:
Reportedly, Emperor Charlemagne tried Brie as early as the year 774, later named “Le Roi de Fromages,” ‘The King of Cheeses’, by the Prince de Tallyrand in 1815.

3. Comparison of Size

Camembert:
Classically Camembert is a smaller flat disc about 8 ounces (225g) in weight, 4.5 inches (11.4cm) in diameter, 1.5 inches (3.8cm) thick. This smaller size will affect it in several ways as the surface area to volume ratio means it tends to age slightly more quickly, and the flavor of a true Camembert will be a little stronger than a Brie at exactly the same age.

Brie:
Customarily larger wheels
1 to 6 pounds (500g to 3kg) in weight
9 to 15 inches (22.9- 38.1cm) in diameter and
1 to 1.5 inches (2.5- 3.8cm) in thickness.
Can also be found in 8-ounce (225g) disks

4. Comparison of Aroma & Flavour Profiles

Camembert:
More vegetal – cauliflower in aroma and flavour with big meaty, mushroomy notes

Brie:
Rich, buttery, lactic, pasture driven flavour profile- Not Cauliflower like

5. Comparison of AOC Status

Camembert:
Camembert Normandie AOC achieved status 1992

Brie:
Brie de Meaux AOC and Brie de Melun AOC achieved AOC status 1980

Back to top


3. What is the difference between Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano?

More often then not the very first difference you will note is the price difference. This is directly related to the more stringent production techniques and accreditation procedures applied to Parmigiano Reggiano, resulting in what is considered to be the bench mark of all hard grating (grana) or grainy styles of Italian cheese. Grana Padano is often considered the poor relation due to the larger scale of production and more commercial production.

7 points to consider in comparing and contrasting Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano:

1. Comparison of rind:

Parmigiano Reggiano:
The dotted inscriptions of ‘Parmigiano Reggiano’ around wheels was introduced in 1964.

Grana Padano:
A clover shaped mark accompanying the words ‘Grana’ or ‘Trentino’ on the rind.

2. Comparison of Name:

Parmigiano Reggiano:
Parmigiano is the Italian adjective for Parma.

Reggiano is the Italian adjective for Reggio Emilia. The name Parmigiano Reggiano was recognised in 2004 as the only cheese that can be called ‘Parmesan’ under EU Legislation.

Grana Padano:
Grana means ‘grainy’ Padano is the adjective for the valley Pianura Padana. The name Grana Padano was establish under DOC regulations in 1955 to prevent confusion with other types of cheese being sold as ‘Parmesan’.

3. Comparison of Regions:

Parmigiano Reggiano:
5 provinces of regions Emilia-Romagna and Lombardia

Grana Padano:
27 provinces of regions; Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna and Trentino

4. Comparison of Season:

Parmigiano Reggiano:
Traditionally only allowed to be made using fresh milk from Spring and Summer (April-Nov); this regulation has recently relaxed

Grana Padano:
Produced all year round

5. Comparison Raw or Pasteurised Milk:

Parmigiano Reggiano:
Produced using Raw Milk that is absolutely fresh and must be poured and not pumped

Grana Padano:
Pasteurised or Raw Milk used for production

6. Comparisons of Milk Composition:

Parmigiano Reggiano:
Produced using a mix of whole and skimmed milk

Grana Padano:
Produced using only partially skimmed milk

7. Comparisons of Standards:

Parmigiano Reggiano:
Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano’ is a regulatory body established and joined by all manufacturers to promote every initiative aimed at safeguarding the typicality and unique features of the product. The Consorzio’z auditing procedures are both expensive and time consuming but highly regarded as an important process in quality production.

Grana Padano:
Whilst all production, maturation and grading of Grana Padano is controlled by a ‘producers association’, the quality of auditing and restrictions imposed on the production process are compromised by the much larger scale of production.

Back to top


4. What is the difference between Feta, Fetta and white-cheese-in-Brine?

In 2002, feta became a protected designation of origin (PDO) product of Greece.

After a long legal battle with Denmark, EU Legislation now ensures that Feta (only one ‘t’) can only be made from Goat or Sheep milk (or a mixture of both) within specific areas in Greece. Anything else can be called Fetta (with two ‘t’s) or simply ‘white cheese in brine’.

Back to top


5. Can you freeze cheese?

Yes. The higher the moisture content the better it will freeze. Do we recommend it? No. We recommend buying less more often and enjoying fresh, as the composition of the cheese is compromised in the process of freezing and then defrosting, and will impact on the aesthetics, flavor, texture and nutrient content.

Back to top


6. If I have high cholesterol and high blood pressure what cheeses can I still eat?

The best options for people with high cholesterol are cheeses with a high moisture content, as they have a smaller concentration of the milk solids that contain the fat and thus the cholesterol.

The cheeses with the lowest fat content are:

  • cottage cheese
  • quark
  • ricotta
  • mozzarella
  • fetta

In choosing a ‘Fresh’ style of cheese, those made using goat and sheep milk are preferable, as the differing fat molecules (a fifth of the size of a cow’s fat molecule) are more easily absorbed into the blood stream having a far lesser impact on cholesterol levels than cow’s milk.

With regard to high blood pressure, fresh cheeses are again the best option as they don’t require the levels of salt in harder, older cheeses that is necessary to naturally preserve and dehydrate the exterior to create a rind.

Back to top


7. Can cheese go back into the fridge after considerable periods of time unrefrigerated?

It depends on the type and style of the cheese. Being left out for long periods of time is not advisable for fresh cheeses due to their high moisture content. Prolonged exposure at room temperature accelerates their fermentation, diminishes their shelf life and leaves them susceptible to becoming contaminated with undesirable bacteria.

Soft, blue-vein, semi-hard and hard-pressed cheeses can be left for prolonged periods without refrigeration, although it depends on the temperature in which they are left, as hotter temperatures will diminish their flavor quality and shelf life.

We recommend buying less cheese more often as it gives you the benefit of the cheese whilst in peak condition and avoids storing and possible wastage.

Back to top


8. Do I serve Cheese before or after dinner?

Etiquette varies depending on country, culture and personal preference. When deciding whether to serve cheese before or after dinner, a few things to consider include the structure of the evening, menu style and type of guest.

The French tradition is to serve cheese after the main course and before dessert so to avoid coating the palate with dairy and compromising the taste buds’ ability to appreciate the more delicate flavor profiles of the foods served in the entree and main.

Other cultures promotes a more laissez-faire perspective on dinner parties and gatherings, emphasizing greater choice and informality with menu design and structure, serving cheese before the meal, after the dessert or even offering cheese as an alternative to sweet ‘desserts’ or ‘puddings’.

Back to top


9. I’m having a dinner party, what cheese should I serve?

We recommend one of two options;

  • a selection of up to 4 cheeses that would allow your guests to sample, compare and contrast various milk types and cheese styles, or
  • one generously portioned ‘statement’ cheese that showcases it in its most ideal condition.

Back to top


10. How much cheese do I serve?

First consider the number of guests and the emphasis that will be placed on the cheese course, based on what else is being served. An excellent formula to refer to is:

  • 25gms per cheese per person;
  • 50-75gms of cheese in total if cheese course is a peripheral part of the menu;
  • 100-125gms per person in total if the cheese course is a feature.

Back to top


11. What cheese accompaniments should I serve with my cheese platter?

Accompaniments are an individual preference. One thing that is clear is that different accompaniments will complement or contrast different characteristics in the cheese. Personal preference will play a large part in how each combination will be received by the individual. Below is a list of recommendations based on certain cheese styles that work particularly well with certain accompaniments. Other factors to consider when choosing accompaniments to a cheese selection include weather, time of day and the type of occasion.

When serving a soft, Bloomy Rind Cheese consider:

  • Savoury options such as: cold cured meats, olives, marinated vegetables
  • Sweet options such as: quince paste, jam, Marmalade, Conserves, Compotes, Pastilla Nash Sugar Plum & Walnut Log
  • Serve with fresh bread

When serving a soft Washed Rind Cheese consider:

  • Savoury options such as: mustard fruits
  • Sweet options such as: glace fruits, quince paste
  • Serve with fresh bread

When serving a Semi-Hard Cheese consider:

  • Savoury options such as: cornichons, sundried-tomatoes
  • Sweet options such as: fresh fruit, quince paste, nuts
  • Serve with fresh bread

When serving a Hard-Pressed Cheese consider:

  • Savoury options such as: chutney, relish, anti pasto items
  • Sweet options such as: quince paste, jam, marmalade, conserves, compotes, fruit cake, Pastilla Nash Sugar Plum & Walnut Log
  • Serve with crackers or lavosh

When serving a Blue Vein Cheese consider:

  • Savoury options such as: mustard fruits
  • Sweet options such as: honey, dried muscatells, fresh fruit, glace fruit
  • Serve with fresh bread or oat biscuits

Back to top


12. How do I store my cheese?

Ideally a cheese requires a cool and humidified environment to protect the cheese from dehydration.

This is hard to achieve in the home environment, however, tupperware containers can assist in reducing the impact, controlling both the moisture content and air flow of the micro-environment.

Different styles of cheese will require different strage however In general we recommend the following:

  • fresh cheese needs to be stored in an airtight container
  • when keeping fresh mozzarella, either retain the brine solution it came in or use fresh, cooled, boiled water to seal from air
  • when keeping fresh fetta, either create your own brine solution using 15gms of salt mixed in per 100mls of cooled, boiled water or use milk to surround the cheese entirely
  • when storing soft cheeses, separate the mouldy rinds from bacterial washed rinds
  • keep blue cheeses separate from all surface ripened, semi-hard and hard pressed cheeses.

Back to top


13. How do I wrap and handle cheese

The way to wrap and handle cheese varies depending on the cheese’s style.

Fresh cheeses require clean sterile handling and storage environments, as their high moisture content makes them susceptible to contracting and housing undesirable bacteria.

For best results with soft, blue vein, semi-hard and hard pressed cheeses cover only the cut surface of the cheese with cling film then wrap loosely with a waxed or grease-proof paper, leaving the rind with enough space for the cheese to breathe. Allowing the cheese to breathe is of utmost importance, otherwise the cheese (a living organism) will experience an accelerated deterioration.

Back to top


14. How do you know if a cheese is off?

There are different points at which a cheese becomes less enjoyable relative to the type and style of cheese in question, and to your individual preference.

Understanding what a cheese is classically intended to smell, look and taste like, assists you in your analysis of what state the cheese is actually in and wether it is in fact off.

The following descriptives are uncharacteristic or undesirable features of a cheese style that could indicate the cheese is past its best:

Fresh Cheese:

  • fizzy
  • sour
  • segmented
  • fermented

Bloomy Rind:

  • white mould broken down to browny-reddish tinge and flavour akin to ammonia
  • aggressive, overpowering
  • sharp acidic rind

Washed Rind:

  • acidic
  • bitter
  • crystalised

Semi-Hard / Hard Pressed:

  • dehydrated
  • discoloured
  • lacking original flavour

Blue Vein:

  • a secondary white penicillin mould presenting on top of the blue-veining
  • a brownish, greying of the cheese itself.

Back to top


15. Can I eat the rind?

The rind of cheese can be eaten (except cloth & waxed rinds), although different styles of cheese with different rind types will be more or less edible at various stages of their life cycle e.g the rind of a young brie or camembert will be more mushroomy and palatable then when really mature and presenting aggressive and overwhelming characteristics.

With harder cheeses the rind is just a dehydrated part of the cheese. For instance, whilst the rind of an aged Gruyere or Parmesan is in fact totally edible, many people would not find this pleasurable to eat unless grated on pasta or melted down in soup or stock. So largely, this choice of eating the rind or not comes down to personal preference.

Back to top


16. What are the crunchy, crystalized, sedimenty bits in hard cheeses?

Contrary to popular belief, these granular flecks are not salt, they are the result of the calcification of the milk nutrients, specifically the milk protein breaking down and forming calcified deposits known technically as ‘tyrosine’.

These crunchy bits are experienced in harder cheeses where low moisture content and age are key features such as, Parmigiano Reggiano, aged Goudas, Gruyere and Cheddar.

Confusingly there is another type of crunchiness that occurs on the rinds of some washed-rind cheeses where residual salt crystals from the salt water brine are left to form a crust on the cheese.

Back to top


17. If I am lactose intolerant can I eat cheese?

It depends on the severity of the intolerance to lactose. However, given that ‘lactose intolerance’ is the inability to break down the natural milk sugars (lactose) in milk and in cheese, and that there are varying amounts of lactose present in different cheeses, some cheese can still be consumed, and others must be avoided. We recommend:

  • Hard aged cheese. These are best as the natural milk sugars, ‘lactose’, are converted to acid and in some examples completely used up.
  • Avoid fresh, soft, young cheeses such as ricotta, brie, camembert, as lactose levels are higher in cheeses with greater moisture content.

Back to top


18. Can I eat cheese when I am pregnant?

The consumption of cheese during pregnancy is a matter of personal preference. Contrary to popular belief, the concern isn’t regarding whether the milk was raw or pasteurized, the concern is the moisture content in which the harmful bacteria listeria can exist in. It should be remembered that cheese is a great and concentrated source of protein and calcium that the body needs in growing a healthy, happy baby. It also contains many more essential nutrients and minerals, such as:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B12
  • Riboflavin
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorus
  • Carbohydrate

If choosing to eat cheese during pregnancy we recommend that you stick to hard, aged cheese with a low moisture content. These include:

  • Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Aged Gruyere,
  • Italian Pecorino
  • Cheddar

Cheeses to be avoided are those that cannot be aged due to their high moisture contents. These include:

  • soft cheese such as brie and camembert
  • blue and
  • processed cheese

Back to top


19. How do they get the holes in Swiss cheese?

The holes or ‘eyes’ in Swiss styles of cheese are a result of gas producing bacteria that is inoculated into the milk during production. Carbon Dioxide is trapped in the curd, the pressure of which creates bubbles of various sizes. Originally milk was contaminated by regional flora and different strains of bacteria that would inoculate the milk and create unique sizes and distributions of holes or ‘eyes’ in the curd. Contrary to popular belief it is not due to mice!

Back to top


20. Why are some cheeses orange?

Some cheese are colored orange through the addition of a natural plant extract ‘Annatto’. This addition of colour is purely for aesthetic purposes and has absolutely no bearing on the flavour or maturation of the cheese. It is originally thought to have been a decorative marketing tool to attract attention and differentiate it from neighboring villages’ cheese.

Back to top


21. What are raw and pasteurised milk cheeses?

‘Raw’ milk cheeses are those that have been produced with milk straight from the animal without going through sterilisation processes.

‘Pasteurised’ milk cheeses are those made with milk that has been heat treated or ‘sterilised’ before cheese production. Milk is heat treated or ‘pasteurised’ to reduce microbial activity and extend shelf life.

A popular method is; High Temperature Short Time (HTST) A process where milk is forced between metal plates or through pipes heated on the outside by hot water, and heated to 71.7 °C (161 °F) for 15–20 seconds.

Back to top


22. Are all European Cheeses made with Raw Milk?

No. It is a misconception that all European cheeses are made with ‘Raw’ or ‘unpasteurised’ milk. With the modernisation and standardisation of the food industry around the world, more and more cheese producers are choosing to save themselves the expensive and time consuming process of being a certified ‘Raw Milk’ cheese producer. Producers of Raw milk cheeses often struggle to find insurance coverage for their cheeses and find that they cannot commercially justify the expense and time required to maintain the status.

Back to top


23. Can you die from bad cheese?

Whist there have been cheese related deaths reported, it is extremely uncommon in relation to its history and world wide use. Those deaths that have occurred have been attributed to high levels of Listeria, a bacteria present in products with a high moisture content most commonly found in fruit, vegetable and meat products. When combined with a compromised immune system, this will heighten the chance of falling ill, regardless of the food type.

Back to top


24. What is the cheese famous for being maggot infested?

Several regional varieties of cheese infested with fly larvae exist in Europe. Perhaps the best known being a traditional sheep milk cheese called ‘Casu marzu’, found mainly in Sardinia, Italy. Despite European Union food hygiene-health regulations banning the production and maturation techniques of this cheese, it was still readily accessible on the black market. After 25 years the ban has been revoked and it is now recognized as a “traditional” food, exempt from ordinary food hygiene regulations and nationally protected as an ancient recipe.

Back to top


25. Does cheese give you nightmares?

Anecdotally, people have commonly experienced nightmares after eating cheese, however it is purely an individual experience and has never been clinically proven. It could be assumed that because the

body works hard at breaking down and digesting nutrient rich foods, such as cheese, that body temperature could increase, promoting an uncomfortable and restless sleep, which could in turn trigger an unhappy state and bad dreams.

Interestingly, a study in 2005 conducted by the British Cheese Board found that cheese did alter people’s dreams but in fact positively affected sleep. Two hundred people were tested over a fortnight using six different British cheeses. The findings were that whilst the dreams produced were specific to the type of cheese and were in some cases described as colorful and vivid, or cryptic, none of the cheeses tested were found to induce nightmares.

Back to top


26. What are PDO Cheeses

PDO is the acronym for Protected Designation of Origin; a control system created by the European Union in 1992 to protect the authenticity of cheese, wine and other agricultural products considered to be of cultural and gastronomic heritage significance.

This accreditation system is identified by a single logo recognised across the EU and Switzerland as a guarantee of the product’s origin, its typical regional character, and it certifies that it’s produced according to specific rules.

Back to top


27. What are AOC Cheeses

AOC is the acronym for Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (“controlled designation of origin”) ;

a system of control and accreditation in France to ensure the authenticity of cheese, wine and other agricultural products. Established in 1925, accredited cheeses are branded with AOC status to acknowledge their naming rights, origin of designation and production techniques, and that they are of national significance. Cheeses protected by this system include;

Cow’s Milk

  • Abondance
  • Beaufort
  • Bleu d’Auvergne
  • Bleu de Gex
  • Bleu des Causses
  • Bleu du Vercors-Sassenage
  • Brie de Meaux
  • Brie de Melun
  • Camembert de Normandie
  • Cantal
  • Chaource
  • Comte
  • Epoisses de Bourgogne
  • Fourme d’Ambert
  • Fourme de Montbrison
  • Gruyere
  • Laquiole
  • Langres
  • Livarot
  • Maroilles
  • Mont d’Or
  • Morbier
  • Munster-Gerome
  • Neufchatel
  • Pont l’Eveque
  • Reblochon
  • Saint-Nectaire
  • Salers
  • Tome des Bauges

Ewe’s Milk

  • Ossau-Iraty
  • Roquefort

Goat’s Milk

  • Banon
  • Cabecou
  • Chabichou du Poitou
  • Chevrotin des Aravis
  • Crottin de Chavignol
  • Pelardon Maconnais
  • Picodon
  • Pouligny-Saint-Pierre
  • Rocamadour
  • Sainte-Maure de Touraine
  • Selles-Sur-Cher
  • Valencay

Mixed Milk

  • Brocciu (goat/ewe)

Back to top


28. What are DO Cheeses

DO is the acronym for a Denominacione di Origen (“controlled designation of origin”) established in 1980. It refers to the Spanish accreditation system for the authenticity of cheese, wine and other agricultural products. Accredited cheeses are branded with DO status to acknowledge their naming rights, origin of designation and production techniques, and that they are of national significance. Cheeses protected by this system include;

Cow’s Milk

  • Arzua Ulloa
  • L’Alt Urgell
  • Mahon
  • Nata de Cantabria
  • Tetilla

Goat Milk

  • Ibores
  • Majorero
  • Murcia al Vino
  • Palmero

Ewe’s Milk

  • Idiazabal
  • LaSerena
  • Manchego
  • Roncal
  • Torta del Casar
  • Zamorano

Mixed Milk

  • Cabrales
  • Gamonedo
  • Picon
  • Quesuco de Liebana

Back to top


29. What are DOC Cheeses

DOC is the acronym for a Denominazione di Origine Controllata (“controlled designation of origin”) established in 1954 It refers to the Italian accreditation system for the authenticity of cheese, wine and other agricultural products. Accredited cheeses are branded with DOC status to acknowledge their naming rights, origin of designation and production techniques, and that they are of national significance. Cheeses protected by this system include;

Cow’s Milk

  • Asiago
  • Asiago Pressato
  • Bra Duro
  • Bra Tenero
  • Fontina d’Aosta
  • Gorgonzola
  • Grana Padano
  • Montasio
  • Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Provolone Valpadana
  • Raschera, Taleggio

Ewe’s Milk

  • Fiore Sardo
  • Pecorino Romano
  • Pecorino Sardo
  • Pecorino Siciliano
  • Pecorino Toscano

Buffalo Milk

  • Mozzarella di Bufala Campana

Back to top


30. Why do the green bay packers’ fans wear cheese on their heads?

There are two reasons; firstly because the Green Bay Packers’ have yellow helmets and are affectionately known as the ‘Cheese Heads’. Secondly, because they are based in Wisconsin, widely considered to be the cheese capital of America.

Back to top


31. What’s in Milk?

The main ingredient in milk is water. Despite the fact 88% of milk is water, the nutritional value of the remaining 12% or ‘milk solids’ are so significant that health and Medical researches describe milk as a food.

Unlike other foods of animal origin, milk contains a significant amount of carbohydrate in the form of lactose, as well as containing nearly all the constituents of nutritional importance to humankind, however, it is comparatively deficient in iron and vitamins C and D.

Milk has over 10 nutrients considered essential to the maintenance and development of the human body. These nutrients are important for healthy blood, nervous and immune systems, eyesight, muscle and nerve function, healthy skin, energy levels and growth and repair in all parts of your body.

Nutrient: Vitamin A
Function: Essential for healthy eye sight
Important for growth (particularly in children)

Nutrient: Vitamin B12
Function: Helps to keep blood healthy
Assists in the formation of nerve cells

Nutrient: Riboflavin
Function: Helps release energy from food
Helps cells to function properly

Nutrient: Calcium
Function: Essential for strong bones and teeth
Needed for normal muscle and nerve functioning, and may assist in controlling blood pressure

Nutrient: Potassium
Function: Assists with blood pressure control
Important for nerve impulse transmission

Nutrient: Magnesium
Function: Important component in bone structure
Essential for energy transfer around the body

Nutrient: Zinc
Function: Aids wound healing
Essential for normal growth and development in bones, the brain and many other parts of the body

Nutrient: Phosphorus
Function: Forms an important part of the mineral structure in bones and teeth
Works with B vitamins to release energy from food

Nutrient: Carbohydrate
Function: Provides energy for the body

Nutrient: Protein
Function: Needed for growth and development as well as repair to damaged body tissues
Forms part of many enzymes and blood components, and is essential for maintaining muscles

Back to top


32. How do you make cheese?

Whilst there are thousands of products called cheese, a true cheese is generally defined as being milk that is:

  • soured by lactic acid bacteria
  • coagulated by enzymes
  • the resultant soft gel ‘called junket’ cut and scalded to release whey
  • whey then drained to remove moisture and
  • the remaining curd matured for a given period

The following flow diagram shows each stage of manufacture;

Milk

Addition of starter culture

souring or ripening period

Possible addition of colouring

Possible addition of Moulds

Rennet is added and junket forms

Cutting the junket to develop curds and whey

Scalding

Stirring

Pitching or handling the curd

Milling

Salting

Moulding

Pressing

Maturing

Back to top


33. Are goat, cow, sheep and buffalo milk all the same composition?

No. The composition of milk varies among mammalian species in terms of:

  • type of and proportion of protein
  • fat levels
  • sugar levels
  • levels of various vitamins and minerals
  • size of the butterfat globules,

The lowest milk fat content:

  • Donkey
  • Horse

The highest milk fat content:

  • seals and whales (may contain more than 50%)
  • Guinea pig milk (average fat content of 46%)

Back to top


34. What does a double or triple cream cheese mean?

A double or triple cream cheese refers to a fresh or soft cow’s milk cheese that has been cream enhanced so that the ratio of cream to milk is higher than typical. Double cream cheeses are enriched with cream so that their fat content is 60%. Triple cream cheeses must have a minimum of 75% fat.

Examples of double and triple cream cheeses include:

  • Fromager d’Affinois
  • Brillat Savarin
  • Delice de Bourgogne
  • Mt Tam
  • Red Hawk
  • Saint Andre

Back to top


35. How do the fat content and calcium levels in cheeses compare?

Contrary to popular belief, there is more fat in hard cheese then fresh and soft due to hard cheese being a concentration of milk solids, which is largely fat and protein, however, the exception to the rule is cream enhanced soft cheeses. This concentration of milk solids or nutrients in hard cheeses means they will also have a greater calcium content then other cheese styles.

Comparing the calcium level and fat content of 7 different cheeses:

100g of Cheddar:
fat (g): 33.8
Calcium (mg): 779

100g of Blue vein
fat (g): 33.5
Calcium (mg): 540

100g of Parmesan
fat (g): 30.1
Calcium (mg): 1370

100g of Brie
fat (g): 29.1
Calcium (mg): 468

100g of Edam
fat (g): 26.9
Calcium (mg): 730

100g of Camembert
fat (g): 25.0
Calcium (mg): 484

100g of Ricotta
fat (g): 11.3
Calcium (mg): 223

The above figures are referenced from myDr 2011, UBM Medica Australia, 2000-2011. Last Reviewed: 12 January 2011

Back to top


36. Who invented cheese?

Contrary to popular belief, not the French. Scientists and historians believe it was most likely to have been a shepherd from the ancient nomadic tribes of either the Turkic’s in Central Asia, or shepherds in the Middle East who accidentally curdled fresh milk in a satchel made from the lining of a kid or lamb stomach that was being utilised as a water tight satchel. The enzymes alive in milk would have reacted with the enzymes in the lining of the sheep stomach to coagulate the milk into solid and liquid, curds and whey.

Back to top


37. What is the oldest cheese?

The oldest style, logically speaking, would have been a fresh and basic cheese made from coagulated goat’s milk. Of the cheeses that are still in existence today, Roquefort, or similar style cheese, is mentioned in literature as far back as AD 79, when Pliny the Elder remarked upon its rich flavor.

Cantal named after the Cantal mountains in the Auvergne region, dates back to the times of the Gauls around the time of the 3rd Centuary. It came to prominence when the Marechal de Sennecterre served it at the table of Louis XIV of France.

Fourme d’Ambert is also thought to be one of the worlds oldest cheeses, the name “Fourme” is derived from the Latin noun ‘forma’, describing its cylindrical shape. “Ambert” is the mountainous town in Auvergne where the cheese has been produced since the 7th century.

Back to top


38. Is the moon made of cheese

No. But the craters on the moon’s surface do appear similar to the holes or ‘eyes’ of Swiss cheese.

Back to top


39. What is the best alcoholic accompaniment with cheese?

Refer to our beverage matching function for our suggestions.

Beer, Wine, Whisky, Champagne? This is very much an individual preference. One thing that is clear is that different accompaniments complement or contrast different characteristics in the cheese. Personal preference will play a large part in how each combination will be received by the individual. Whilst wine may perhaps be the more romantic pairing with cheese, beer and Champagne are widely considered a better pairing, in terms of having a similar science, history and origin to cheese.

Back to top


40. What does a vegetarian cheese refer to?

Vegetarian cheeses are produced using microbial or plant-based material to coagulate milk as opposed to the ‘traditional’ milk coagulating enzymes found in the lining of the stomach, most commonly derived from the 4th stomach of a calf.

Back to top


41. What is ‘organic’ cheese?

Whilst regulations and production standards for certifying milk and cheese products as ‘Organic’ vary from country to country the production of ‘organic’ dairy products generally requires:

  • that certification be overseen by the government and commercial use of the term ‘Organic’ is restricted;
  • livestock to have been under continuous organic management for at least one year prior to the production of the milk or milk products;
  • dairy production animals must originate from animals that were managed organically from at least the last third of gestation;
  • the animals must be fed and managed organically at all times in order to produce organic milk;
  • the crops and forage must have been grown on land that has been free of prohibited substances for at least 24 months prior to harvest of the feed;
  • avoidance of most synthetic chemical inputs (e.g. fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics, food additives, genetically modified organisms, irradiation and the use of biosolids);
  • keeping detailed written production and sales records;
  • maintaining strict physical separation of organic products from non-certified products;
  • undergoing periodic on-site inspections.

Back to top


42. What is rennet?

Rennet refers to the milk coagulating enzyme used to separate the milk solids from the milk, converting the milk from liquid to solid or ‘curd and whey’.

Milk coagulating enzymes used in cheese making include:

  1. Animal derivatives from the stomach of young unweaned calves, kids and lambs;
  2. Vegetarian plant derivatives
  • Microbial in origin (moulds, fungi, bacteria, yeasts)
  • GMO-microbial rennet whereby cow genes are used to modify some bacteria, fungi or yeasts to make them produce a milk coagulating enzyme, chymosin.

Back to top


43. How are cheeses smoked?

Traditionally cheeses were smoked or cured by either hot or cold smoking methods of being exposed to actual smoke at different temperatures, however the more common and commercial alternative today is with liquid smoke. Liquid smoke is acquired by condensing actual smoke from burning wood products and passing it through water. Liquid smoke is prominently used in the preservation and flavouring of BBQ and brown sauces and in the processing of bacon, hot dogs, jerky and tofu and cheese.

Back to top


44. How many cheese are there in the world?

There are thousands of different cheeses, however, calculating an exact number would be impossible.

In France, whilst no one knows for sure the exact amount, recent estimations suggest there are 400 cheeses produced commercially by registered cheese companies. For any one classic style of cheese there may be several other cheese producers from various independents or co-operatives who may cite slight differences due to variations in milk types, ingredients, and the production and maturation techniques used.

Back to top


45. How much milk does it take to make cheese?

Approx. 88% of Cow’s Milk is water, leaving the remaining 12% to be termed the ‘milk solids’ or milk nutrients, largely fat and protein.

Fresh and soft cheeses have higher moisture contents then a hard-pressed cheese where the water or ‘whey’ has been pressed from the curd to create a more condensed curd better suited to maturation.

As a concentrated milk solid/nutrient, a hard cheese has the lowest moisture content and thus requires a greater volume of milk to produce than a fresh or soft cheese.

Some examples of fresh milk quantities in classic cheeses include:

Soft Cheese: A 3kg Brie requires 25L fresh milk
Hard Cheese: A 38kg Parmigiano Reggiano requires 550L fresh milk
Blue Cheese: An 8kg Stilton requires 78L of fresh milk

Back to top


46. What is Welsh Rarebit?

Welsh Rarebit is most simply melted cheese mixed with various other ingredients and served on toast. Typically made with cheddar and varying quantities of mustard, ground cayenne pepper, ground paprika and Worcestershire sauce. Attributed to Wales this tradition reportedly dates back to 18th century Great Britain.

Back to top


47. What is Croque-Monsieur?

A ham and cheese sandwich that is either cooked, grilled or toasted. Humorously described as the French equivalent of a fast-food snack popularly served in cafes and bars, first cited in 1910. Traditionally a melting cheese such as a gruyere was used, however more elaborate versions include a Bechamel Sauce coating.

Back to top


48. Is ricotta a cheese?

Technically no, but lets not be too politically correct. A true cheese is generally defined as being milk that is:

  • soured by lactic acid bacteria
  • coagulated by enzymes
  • the resultant soft gel ‘called junket’ cut and scalded to release whey
  • whey then drained to remove moisture and
  • the remaining curd matured for a given period.

The above process does not need to occur to produce ricotta (meaning ‘re- cooked’), it can be produced by a simple acid coagulation whereby milk is curdled by adding an acid such as citric acid, vinegar or yoghurt and then boiling the milk.

Back to top


49. Does cheddar have to come from Cheddar to be called ‘cheddar’?

No. the curds need to have undertaken a unique multi-step production technique called ‘cheddaring’ whereby curds are cut into brick shaped slabs and stacked upon each other and regularly turned. This process is considered to be significant in making Cheddar unique.

  • Gift Vouchers

  • Newsletter

  • App