The World of Cheese: Cliff’s Notes

Seven different cheeses imported from all over the world- as far away as Italy and as close as Wisconsin.  My sister and I had the tasty opportunity to attend Surdyk’s Introduction to the World of Cheese a few Mondays back.

Seven Cheeses from Around the World (Starting with the flat white cheese at the tip of my sister’s fork and going counter-clockwise)
Delice de Bourgogne (a brie from France), Montenebro (Goat’s cheese from Spain- my FAVORITE), Taleggio Pasturo (Farmstead Cheese from Italy), Ossau Iraty (A 2,000 year old recipe from France), Blue Mont Bandaged Cheddar (Good ol’ Wisconsin Cheddar), Beeler Napfkase (Swiss cheese from Switzerland), Stichelton (British Blue Cheese)

With three full pages of notes and quite a few pictures, for this blog I am only going to cover new Cheese Words that I learned.  Learning the lingo is probably one of the most important starting places for any new journey.  Here are a few insider terms that I picked up:

Farmstead Cheese: The animals who produce the milk reside on the same location where the cheese is produced.
Fresca: Means a cheese is younger or has not been aged as long
Cheese: A way to store milk without refrigeration or milk in a controlled state of spoilage
Penicillium roqueforti: The culture added to blue cheese (and others) that creates the signature taste and blue lines

Other fun tidbits!

Country of origin is a great way to start for pairing cheeses and wines (makes sense!).
Goat’s milk is the leanest of cheeses and is always white and not yellow (can anyone guess why?).
The most aged cheese in the U.S.A. is Tony Hook’s 18 year aged cheddar and sells for $50/lb.

And… the best part of cheese together? As always, the fun and memories made with family and friends.



Cheese Groupies

Apparently, there are other ways to talk about cheese than, “Oh. My. Gosh. More please.” or “What is this deliciousness?”

Cheeses can be grouped into several different categories- type of milk used, hard & soft, stinky vs. mild, regional groupings, etc.

The most basic categorization strategy seems to be the following four categories, and I like things to be simple– so for my blog, let’s go with that :).


Soft cheeses are cheeses with a high moisture content, generally with a spreadable consistency

Examples: cottage cheese, cream cheese, ricotta, brie, bleu, Roquefort, mozzarella, muenster, fromage blanc (French for ‘white cheese’), mascarpone, queso blanco (Spanish for ‘white cheese’)


Semi-soft cheeses are slightly harder than soft cheeses, still with a high moisture content. They also tend to have a slightly longer shelf life and are great for melting.

Examples: American, Colby, co-jack, Quesa Fresca, Taleggio


Semi-hard cheeses are made similarly to hard cheese, in that most of the moisture is drained out. Unlike hard cheese,  semi-hard are allowed to set in a mold with little or no pressure.

Examples: cheddar, provolone, Gouda, Jarlsberg


Hard cheeses are longest lasting, with a low moisture content, and are pressed and aged.

Examples: Parmesan, Romano, asiago, Swiss, Gruyere

For cheese experts, we’re at the “duh” level, but I’m just beginning my cheese discovery journey (and maybe you are too!), so let’s start at the very beginning- a very good place to start!

My wonderful husband surprised me with tickets to The World of Cheese on Monday, August 13th.  I’m sure we’ll all learn a lot more about the basics as we go to this class together. I’m SUPER excited and can’t wait to share everything I learn! I only wish I could send you each a taste ;)…