A Guide to International Cheese: From Brie to Paneer

grilled brie cheese topped with nuts and other international ingredients

There is nothing wrong with being a cheese snob but in order to take such a step, you will need to be fully informed first. That’s where this helpful guide comes into play. Before visiting a Naperville grocery store, you will want to know as much as possible about each of these options. Be sure to read on and learn more. With our assistance, you are sure to find the perfect cheese for your palate.

Brie is a soft, cow’s milk cheese that is named for the region of France that it is derived from. There is a slight gray tinge to this cheese but its overall coloration is pale. There is also a rind of white mold that you are more than welcome to eat. The aging process is relatively brief, concluding within 5 to 6 weeks.

The flavor of Brie is going to be dependent on two key factors: the manufacturing environment and the ingredients that are being used. Those who enjoy Camembert cheeses also tend to love Brie, as they are very similar in taste.

While some may be confused by the name, this is simply the proper name for the Swiss cheese that we all know and love. Derived from Switzerland (of course), it has a four-month aging process and is known for being an alpine-style cheese. Like many alpine-style cheeses, it is a great one to use for any foods that require melted cheese.

Emmental is beloved for its sweet taste and is used for a wide range of dishes. Grilled cheese, casseroles and sandwiches in general would not be the same without it.

Roquefort also comes from France and is made from sheep’s milk. The aging process takes five months and once complete, the cheese can be eaten as is. Others may decide that they wish to pair it with nuts and/or honey. Since this cheese has a distinctly nutty flavor profile, these choices make perfect sense.

Fall is the best time to purchase Roquefort since this is when the cheese that was made from the milk that arrived in early spring has begun to be sold in various markets.

Derived from Mexico, Cotija occupies an interesting place in the world of cheeses because of the changes that take place in its flavor profile as it begins to age. It is made from cow’s milk, has an aging process of three months and is typically utilized for tacos and soups.

When Cotija cheese is younger, its flavor profile is comparable to a younger feta. Eventually, this mild, salty taste gives way to something a bit more nutty and tangy. The texture will also become more coarse and dry.

Speaking of feta, this Greek cheese is made from sheep and goat. The aging process concludes within three months and is notable because of its ‘protected designation of origin’ status. This means that a store cannot sell a cheese with the “feta” label unless it comes from the Greek mainland or failing that, Lesbos. The requirement ensures that the cheese is made from at least 70% sheep’s milk. The remainder can be made from goat.

Feta cheese has a tangy and moist texture and is often used in salads and sandwiches.

Of course, no cheese guide would be complete without a mozzarella mention. As most readers are likely aware, mozzarella comes from the nation of Italy. It is made from either milk of water buffalo or cow’s milk and is a pulled curd cheese. There is no aging process with mozzarella, so it can be consumed as soon as it is finished. It is used on pizzas, sandwiches and can be utilized in a variety of contexts.

As a result, this cheese is considered to be one of the most versatile and plentiful cheeses in the marketplace. Most households will already have some mozzarella in the fridge, ready and waiting to be used.

Another high-quality Italian cheese, Taleggio is made from cow’s milk and has an aging process of 6 to 10 weeks. Did you know that this cheese was actually invented over a thousand years ago? This makes it one of the oldest soft cheeses known to man. It is also a member of a cheese family that was originally created by monks who were looking to reduce the waste from their grazing cows. By repeatedly washing away all of the molds that grew on its surface, they unknowingly spurred the growth of additional bacteria on the cheese’s interior, creating new flavor profiles.

Taleggio may have a strong smell to many but it still remains rich and buttery, a perfect addition to your international cheese board!

Made from cow’s milk, this staple of American supermarkets is actually derived from the Netherlands. The aging process can vary when it comes to Gouda, as patience is always key. It can be consumed within four weeks of being made but in most instances, those who are in search of a higher quality Gouda cheese will allow theirs to age for at least a year prior to consumption. Gouda is made from cow’s milk, is a harder cheese and the longer it ages, the crunchier the texture becomes.

Much like Parmesan, Gouda loses moisture over the course of time. Younger Gouda cheeses are perfect for melting, while older Gouda cheeses are used as they are.

Last but certainly not least, we would be remiss if we did not take the time to discuss Paneer cheese. For starters, it comes with no aging period, meaning that it can be consumed right away. It is made from full-fat buffalo milk or cow’s milk and is well known for being an acid-set cheese. Paneer cheese is a prominent aspect of Indian cuisine, a non-aged cheese that is made with curdled milk. From there, a vegetable-derived is used as well. Lemon juice is a common choice in these instances.

When consuming dishes from the Indian subcontinent, Paneer is the type of cheese that is most commonly used.

If you are looking for delicious cheese or even a specialty cheese contact us or just come and visit our store.

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