Cheeses are made from milk and there are different varieties of cheeses produced all over the world based on hardness, type of milk used, type of bacteria used, content of milk fat, surface treatment and molds. Listed below are the different varieties of cheeses classified on basis of hardness:
1) Soft cheese – examples are Brie, Cream Cheese and Mascarpone
Brie: Brie has mild tangy and fruity flavor. It is usually served with fruits. Some prefer to bake Brie in a pastry crust while others like to have slices of Brie on roast beef sandwich.
Cream Cheese: Cream cheese is made from raw unpasteurized milk in small batches by hand. The aging process produces acids which pasteurizes the cheese making it safe to eat.
Mascarpone: It is an Italian cream cheese which is very rich and is used in desserts and cheesecake. It can also be used for cannoli fillings and Torta.
2) Semi-hard cheese – examples are Blue and Monterey Jack
Blue: Blue cheese refers to different types of cheeses made in Europe and North America. Blue cheese is actually an unpressed white cheese on which a blue mold is dusted. During the aging process, the blue mold enters into the interior through the punched holes. It has a sharp and tangy flavor. It can be served with crackers or port wine.
Monterey Jack: It is a mildly flavored, light-colored cheese with creamy-texture. Jalapeno is usually flavored with this type of cheese. It is served with fruity wines, beer, shredded on tacos, melted on refries beans and sandwiches.
3) Hard cheese – examples are Cheddar and Colby
Cheddar: The age of cheddar cheese determines whether it is firm or crumbly, smooth or dry, mild flavored or sharp flavored. It can be six month old or even thirty-six month old. It is used in many cooking processes like grating, melting, sauces and soups. It can also be flavored by adding spices.
Colby: Colby is named after the town of its invention. It is a washed curd cheese meaning that during its preparation, water is used in place of whey to reduce the acidity of curd. Colby is also not turned, pressed hard like cheddar cheese thus producing a soft and moist version of cheddar cheese with sweet flavor.
4) Very hard cheese – examples are Parmesan and Romano
Parmesan: Parmesan is a dry and hard form of cheese prepared from skimmed or partially skimmed cow’s milk. It has a rich and sharp flavor so it is mainly used for grating.
Romano: Romano is named after the city of Rome It is usually made of cow’s milk or cow’s milk mixed with milk of sheep or goat. It can be mild in flavor or very sharp flavored. It is used for grating.