Cheese 101

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Serves 0


Cheese Varieties
1. Soft: Cheeses with high moisture content. This category includes cheeses like Cottage cheese, Cream cheese, Feta, Mascarpone, Ricotta and Queso Blanco.
2. Processed: A blend of fresh and aged natural cheeses that have been shredded mixed and heated (cooked) with an addition of an emulsifier salt, after which no further ripening occurs.
• We do not sell processed cheese at Antonio’s.
3. Soft Ripened: A classification of cheese based upon body. Brie and Camembert are examples of soft-ripened cheese varieties. Commonly referred to as “triple cream” cheeses because of their softness and texture.
4. Semi-Soft: A wide variety of cheeses made with whole milk. Cheeses in this category include Monterey Jack, Brick, Muenster, Fontina and Havarti. These all melt well when cooked.
• Great for dips and fondues.
5. Pasta Filata: Pasta Filata cheeses have curds that are heated and stretched or kneaded before being molded into shape. Mozzarella and Provolone are examples of this cheese.
6. Blue: A characteristic of cheese varieties that develop blue or green streaks of harmless, flavor- producing mold throughout the interior. Generally, veining gives cheese an assertive and piquant flavor.
7. Semi-Hard: A classification of cheese based upon body. Cheddar, Colby, Edam and Gouda are examples.
• Looking to try something new? Come into Antonio’s and sample the Prima Donna. One of our favorites! It’s a traditional Dutch style Gouda cheese with Italian flavors. You’ll love it!
8. Hard: A descriptive term for cheeses, such as Parmesan, Romano and Asiago, that are well-aged, easily grated and primarily used in cooking.
• If you’re ever lucky enough to be in the café when one of our 100lb Parmigiano-Reggiano wheel is being broken down, ask for a sample from the heart of it, the cheese from the very center. You won’t be disappointed.
This information is adapted from

Cheese Facts
Selection: You want to start by selecting the best quality cheese, no matter what variety you’re buying. Here are some tips-
• Cheese should have a fresh, clean appearance with no cracks or surface mold.
• Buy cheese at a store or market where frequent shipments of fresh cheese are delivered. If buying fresh cut cheese, ask the clerk how best to wrap the cheese for storage as well as how long the cheese can be kept.
Handling: After arriving home with your new cheese finds, remember the three C’s of cheese handling.
• Clean: Because cheese easily absorbs other flavors, keep it away from other aromatic foods in the refrigerator.
• Cold: Keep cheese refrigerated.
• Covered: Cheese loses flavor and moisture when it’s exposed to air, so make sure to wrap hard cheeses, such as Parmesan, in tightly drawn plastic wrap. Soft or fresh cheeses, such as Mascarpone, are best stored in clean, airtight containers. Semi-Hard cheeses, including Cheddar and Gouda, can be wrapped in plastic wrap as well as a lighter wrapping paper, such as parchment.
Cutting and Trimming:
• Most cheese is easiest to cut when cold. However, some hard cheeses, such as Parmesan or Asiago, cut better when they are brought to room temperature.
• A chef’s knife works well for cutting most cheeses.
• If the cheese has a wax or rind, score it before you cut it, this ensures a clean cut line.
• Before eating or serving, trim off any edges or surface mold.
Storing: If you have leftover cheese, store your opened cheese using theses suggested guidelines. Proper storage will preserve a cheese’s original flavor, appearance and quality.
• Natural and pasteurized process cheese should last about four to eight weeks in the refrigerator.
• Fresh and grated hard cheese with higher moisture content should be used within two weeks.
• If cheese develops surface mold, simply cut off about ¼ to ½ inch from each affected side and use the remaining cheese within one week.

Recipe Source

This information is adapted from