Cheese classification
from World Cheese Book

Fresh cheeses

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 These cheeses are ready to eat within a few days of being made.

Texture: Varies with the cheese - soft, spreadable, firm

Age: from several days up to 12 months 

Rind: No rind, the interior and exterior are similar

Flavour: Mild, milky and slightly sharp taste

Example: Halloumi, Mozzarella, Ricotta, Feta

Aged fresh cheeses

These cheeses are fresh that were aged and dried out in a at special temperature and humidity. At this stage a rind will appear on the cheese. Most of the time made out of goat's milk, these are very typical from the French Loire Valley.

Texture: From moist and slightly crumbly to a dense and compact texture. 
                 The cheeses made out of cow's and ewe's milk will have a softer texture.

Age: 10 to 30 days

Rind: Thin rind with white mould and blotches of grey and blue. 

Flavour: From a creamy flavour to a nuttier and sharper taste as the cheese ages. The cheeses made out of goat's milk will get an intense goat flavour.

Example: Valencay, Sainte Maure de Tourraine, etc.

 

Soft white cheeses

 These cheeses have a very typical mushroomy taste. 

Texture: Chalky when young, the cheese gets creamier with time. 

Age: Ripe after 21 days 

Rind: Thin and crusty (edible)

Flavour: Wild mushroom 

Example: Brie de Meaux, Camembert, Delice de Bourgogne

Semi-soft cheeses

They can be divided in two categories :

- Dry rind: Ripen slowly, their taste varies - mild, sweet and nutty.

- Washed rind: Softer than the dry rind cheeses, they have a pungent and savoury taste.

Texture: Often supple, the washed rind cheeses become runnier with time

 Age: 3 weeks to 3 months

 Rind: Dry or washed with beer, wine...

Flavour: from buttery and mellow to some more meaty and savoury. 

Example: Mont d'or, Saint Nectaire, Chimay, Epoisses

 

Hard cheeses

Their big wheels are in the traditional cheese-making culture. The cheese is slowly ripened up to several years.

Texture: It varies with the cheeses, some have a supple paste like Emmental or Raclette ; while others have a grainy paste such as Parmigiano.

Age: Up to 3 years 

Rind: Varies from thick and hard to a thin and leathery. Some can be waxed, polished or bound in cloth.

Flavour: When young, slightly sharp or buttery sweet ; with age, more intense and nutty, fruity taste.

Example: Manchego, Comte, Cheddar

Blue cheeses

Member of the penicillin family, the blue moulds grow inside the cheese creating veins in it.

Texture: From a creamy and sticky texture to a dense and compact one.

 Age: Between 1 and 6 months.

 Rind: Damp and sticky rind to a dry and crusty rind.

 Flavour: Some offer a sweet creamy and mellow taste while others will be sharper and saltier taste.

 Example: Roquefort, Bleu d'Auvergne, Cabrales

 

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