Category Archives: Caring For Your Cheese

Different Seasons for Cheese Making

As with fruits and vegetables, cheeses are best enjoyed when nature intended them to be – in season. Just like how an apple won’t taste as crunchy and as sweet in February as it will in September, a fresh young goat cheese will taste dramatically different when scoffed April than in December.

The fact that cheeses are seasonal isn’t common knowledge in our modern supermarket-loving and ready-meal-eating era. Many people don’t realise that cheeses can taste dramatically different depending on the time of year they were produced.

Before we delve into the details, bear in mind that the seasons hardly affect mass produced commercial cheeses. For the sake of your health, your taste buds and the animals making the cheese, we would always recommend avoiding commercially made cheeses. Start spending your cheese money on better quality artisanal cheeses and we promise you wont look back – even if you cant afford quite as much cheese as before, you will enjoy it twice as much!

Different Seasons for Cheese Making
Different Seasons for Cheese Making – how they influence the flavour of the cheese

How Do The Seasons Affect The Taste of the Cheese?

It makes sense that the flavour of cheese is closely linked with the soil the animals graze on. Cheese is produce after all, just like the strawberries in your fridge or the sweet potato in your cupboard. All influenced by the land.

There are hundreds of different types of cheese and each one will differ slightly in flavour and texture. Lots of factors influence the flavour – the type of milk used, the breed of animal the milk has come from, the content of the soil that the animal grazes on, the method of drainage and the time of year the cheese is produced. The latter can make a surprising difference to the flavour of the cheese, even if all the other factors remain exactly the same.

The fact that some cheeses are only available at certain times of the year goes some way to show how influential the seasons are on the flavour of the cheese.

For example, some of the best goats’ cheeses in the world are produced in the flora rich fields on the mountains of the Alps and the Pyrenees in Spring and Summer. The unique climate produces abundant wild herbs and lush grasses which the goats graze on, which help to produce a flavour incomparable to mass produced goats cheese where they are fed hay year round.

Traditionally made, fresh artisan Goats cheese is produced in Spring. Compared with mass produced goats cheese, you get a much richer flavour and more enjoyable experience because the latter is produced with milk from hay fed goats that are kept indoors rather than pasture fed goats who live outside. (I expect the goats are happier living outdoors too!)

Goat Cheese is best enjoyed in Spring and Summer
Goat Cheese is best enjoyed in Spring and Summer

No Milk = No Cheese

The other factor that makes cheese seasonal is that goats and sheep aren’t producing milk year round because they aren’t breeding year round. They only produce milk from early spring until late summer, which means that ‘fresh’ goats cheese available in the winter months will be made from powdered or frozen milk. This extra processing has a negative impact on the flavour of the cheese.

Even though cows can produce milk throughout the year, April to October is also generally the best time to enjoy cows milk cheese because of what they get to graze on during these months. Think the luscious green grasses of spring, the beautiful wild flowers and abundant wild herbs in summer and even the second growth of new grasses in late summer and early Autumn. This all impacts the flavour of the cheese enormously.

 

Spring and Summer

Cheeses produced in Spring and Summer is the perfect period for most cheeses because the animals have been grazing on spring pastures including rich grasses, flowers, clover and herbs. Fresh, un-aged Goats cheese and Ewes cheese are best enjoyed during April to July because this is when they produce the richest milk.

 

Autumn and Winter

Just like us, most animals prefer a warm and comfortable environment in the winter. This means that they are moved indoors and often fed on a silage-based diet. (Silage is a type of fermented conserved grass, gathered in the summer). Naturally, this change in diet affects the flavour of the milk that the animals produce. It tends to produce a slightly sweeter yet more robust cheese.

Cheese produced during this time can still be enjoyed but it may not present an optimal flavour.

Stilton is best enjoyed around Christmas
Stilton is best enjoyed around Christmas as it is aged for 3-5 months

Aged Cheese

It still pays to enjoy an aged cheese at the right time – you just need to do a bit of maths! For example a cheese made in August but aged for 6 months will still taste very good in February.

Aged cheeses are less susceptible to changes in the seasons than fresh or young cheese, so these are a safer bet during the cold winter months for optimal taste and enjoyment.

 

Which Cheeses Should I Eat When For Optimal Flavour?

  • Spring: Fresh Goat and Ewes Cheese
  • Summer: Soft Bloomy Rind Cheeses
  • Autumn: Blue veined cheeses
  • Winter: Stilton and Vacherin Mont D’Or!

Best Cheese for Burgers – The Cheese Market

I have never met anyone who doesn’t love a good burger!

Unfortunately the humble burger had a bit of a bad reputation in years gone by. Burgers used to be a menu staple on only the most un-inspiring of restaurants (think fast food chains). You were served a decidedly grey patty (meat unknown) which was topped with some limp lettuce, a soggy tomato, smothered in rich ketchup and encased in a tasteless bun. Don’t forget the thin slice of florescent orange ‘claims-to-be-cheese-but-looks-nothing-like-it ‘cheese’. Yum.

Burgers have come a long way since then! A really long way. Gourmet or ‘posh’ burgers are now all the rage – with exciting variations on the traditional burger making it onto the menu in top restaurants across the globe. Some restaurant chains even specialise solely in providing a top notch burger.

The quest to create the ‘ultimate’ burger rages on in both restaurants and home kitchens across the UK.

Many would agree that to achieve a great burger, you need to top it with a fantastic cheese. The cheese is one of only a few key ingredients that combine to make one of the most satisfying and enjoyable meals you can eat.

 

Best Cheese for Burgers

Lets explore some of the best cheese for burgers and give you some examples of British Cheeses that you could use the next time you make a burger at home.

Wookey Hole Cave Aged Cheddar and Colston Bassett Shropshire Blue are both great for burgers
Wookey Hole Cave Aged Cheddar + Colston Bassett Shropshire Blue are both great for burgers

Cheddar

Cheddar is the classic cheese to top your patty with. It is a great all-rounder; it melts well, has a nice strong flavour and will win over even the most fussy of guests. Cheddar is the safest choice when you’re next cooking burgers for friends.

Our recommendation for the best British Cheddar for your burger is the Wookey Hole Cave Aged Cheddar.  A nutty and tangy true farmhouse cheddar.

 

Brie

When considering the best cheese for burgers we have to take a look at Brie. Why? Because Brie melts beautifully! Although it isn’t necessarily as strong as mature cheddar, it still has a good amount of tang to get the taste buds going. Brie is so creamy and decadent. Definitely gourmet and that mix of creamy and salty is totally moreish. Wow.

Cooked mushrooms go particularly well with Brie. For vegetarians (and non-veggies!) a Portobello mushroom and Brie burger is a winning combination.

Our top choice of a British Brie-Style cheese is Waterloo; made from unpasteurised Guernsey milk, it has a rich buttery texture and melts like a champion.

Waterloo Cheese pairs perfectly with cooked chestnut mushrooms or a grilled portabello in a bun
Waterloo Cheese is one of our picks for the best cheese for burgers

Goat Cheese

Some would call this an unusual combination but we love it! A good goat cheese can complement a burger nicely. Goat cheese is tangy and light. Tangy cheese balances out the savouriness of meat patties nicely and the lightness of a goat cheese prevents the burger from feeling too rich and greasy.

Our recommendation for a good British goat cheese to squeeze between your buns? Tor goat cheese has a fresh, clean aroma with a slightly salty, citrus flavour.

 

Smoked Cheese

Intensely flavoured smoked cheese really spices up a traditional burger. You don’t need much to make a real impact too. Smoky, savoury, creamy, salty, tangy = delicious. Who is going to say no to a burger topped with some naturally cold smoked (and organic!) cheddar cheese? Our recommendation is the Godminster Oak Smoked Cheddar

Our quest for the best cheese for burgers: Includes this smoked cheddar
Our quest for the best cheese for burgers: Includes this smoked cheddar

Blue Cheese

We appreciate that not everyone loves blue cheese but popping a bit into your burger may well change your mind! If you are a blue cheese fan, pair your creamy yet salty blue with sweet caramelised onions and you can’t go wrong. Our pick for the best cheese for burgers in the British blue category?  The award winning Colston Bassett Shropshire Blue; it has a creamy, sweet taste, silky smooth texture and is more mild than a typical Stilton.

 

Best Cheese for Vegetarian Burgers

We are huge fans of the veggie burger and a certain cheese in particular often plays the starring role. A big piece of Halloumi is a great substitute for a meat patty in a burger for vegetarians, because of its satisfyingly salty, chewy texture. You can easily marinate a slab of halloumi with some roasted Mexican spices or just a pinch of paprika to give a real depth of flavour and add interest to your veggie burger. There are hundreds of recipes for great veggie patties and they deserve a great cheese melted over them just like a regular burger does!

 

Avoiding Gluten?

Most cheeses are certified as gluten free, so you can certainly still enjoy a really good burger if you swap out the bun. We usually find that unless you bake gluten-free bread yourselves, the supermarket stuff can leave a lot to be desired. One of the best ways to enjoy a gluten free burger is to wrap the ingredients in a large fresh lettuce leaf. We all know that fresh crunchy lettuce is a must have for a good burger anyway, so it really makes for a great bun substitute.

Why Not Try Our Different Types of Cheese!

Try Our Cheese TodayTry Our Cheese Today! Fancy having a look around our shop?  Visit here www.thecheesemarket.co.uk to view our scrumptious cheese

Most Popular Cheeses Around the Globe

What Are the Most Popular Cheeses?

People often ask us which cheeses are the most popular. Having done some research, the answer to this question isn’t as straightforward as it first appears, because the answer depends on several different factors.

For example, the most popular cheese in the world is actually deemed to be Cheddar (based on recent worldwide sales). However, if you look at the most popular cheeses in any given country, this brings up a wide range of answers, from Feta to Brie and even Mozzarella. If those living in countries like France, Spain, Italy, Greece and the USA were surveyed to rate their favourite cheeses, it is likely Cheddar wouldn’t even get a look in for a top three position.

Furthermore, the only logical way that people like us can even try to gauge which cheese is the most popular is predominantly based on the reported sales figures each cheese. However, popularity won’t be the only factor to affect sales figures. Availability of cheeses will also have an effect. Cheeses that are produced on a smaller scale by artisan producers (like Gorgonzola or Stilton for example) simply will not produce anywhere near the amounts to rival the production of Cheddar or Parmesan.

Lastly, the most popular cheeses in a particular country is also significantly influenced by the cheeses that that country actually produces. This makes sense as eating cheese that has been made locally to you reduces the travelling time from ‘farmhouse to table, so to speak.

Some of the Most Popular Cheeses Include Cheddar, Parmesan + Mozzarella
Some of the Most Popular Cheeses Include Cheddar, Parmesan + Mozzarella

 

Most Popular Cheeses by Country

As previously mentioned, the most popular cheese in the world appears to be cheddar as it reported the highest sales.

The most commonly eaten cheese in Spain (by sales) is Manchego – again, this is most likely due to a high production and a plentiful availability in shops, unlike different Spanish cheeses from smaller scale producers.

Cheddar is the UK’s most popular cheese, accounting for just over half of all cheese sales for households in Britain in 2013. This makes sense too, as Cheddar is made in the UK and has been for centuries.

For the USA – Mozzarella seems to be the most popular cheese based on sales figures, followed by Cheddar and Parmesan. It seems the main use for Mozzarella in the United States is for putting onto Pizzas though! It would be unlikely to see some Mozzarella on a cheese board – no matter where you are in the world!

For France, Camembert style cheeses are most popular, followed by Brie and then Roquefort. Again, these are all cheeses which were created in France and have been produced here for many centuries.

Again, it won’t come as a surprise that Greeks love their feta and it definitely beats out any other cheese for annual sales in Greece.

 

Generally Popular Cheeses around the World

In our opinion here are some of the most popular cheeses across the globe:

  1. Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan)
  2. English Cheddar
  3. Roquefort
  4. Brie
  5. Gruyere
  6. Feta
  7. Mozzarella
  8. Manchego
  9. Gorgonzola
  10. Epoisses

Why Not Try Our Different Types of Cheese!

Try Our Cheese TodayTry Our Cheese Today! Fancy having a look around our shop?  Visit here www.thecheesemarket.co.uk to view our scrumptious cheeses

Mushroom Walnut Parsley Pesto Recipe with Goats Cheese

We had a great long weekend here in Sussex and although the sun didn’t shine every day, we had lots of it yesterday to keep us smiling! The cloudy weather was actually a blessing in disguise as it gave me the opportunity to spend time in the kitchen to perfect a recipe that I have been working on for a while now. Here is the recipe for a mushroom-walnut-parsley pesto which I mixed into courgette noodles and then topped with a generous amount of one of my favourite goats cheeses of all time – the Rosary Garlic and Herb Goats Cheese.

This goats cheese is made in the UK and was the Supreme Champion at the British Cheese awards in 2014. It has an exceptional mousse-like soft texture and is subtly flavoured by a bit of garlic and some herbs. I can eat this simply stirred into pasta on its own with just a little olive oil, it is that tasty.

Combined with the earthy quality of the mushrooms and walnuts in this recipe, this cheese really shines and turns this humble dinner into a very special evening meal.

I made this recipe gluten free by using courgette noodles but if you are not following a gluten free diet then you can easily swap these for normal wheat pasta.

 

Mushroom Walnut Parsley Pesto
Mushroom Walnut Parsley Pesto topped with creamy Rosary Goats Cheese

Mushroom Walnut Parsley Pesto Recipe with Goats Cheese

Serves 2 as a main evening meal. The pesto can be stored in an air tight contained and kept in the fridge to be used within 4 days.

 

Ingredients

– 2 medium courgettes (or 160g of dried wheat pasta if preferred), sliced into noodles by using a vegetable spiralizer or a vegetable peeler.

– 50ml + 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

– 2 tablespoons of butter

– 500g of chestnut mushrooms, rubbed clean with kitchen paper + roughly sliced

– 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

– 1 medium clove of garlic (finely chopped or grated)

– 80g of walnuts, raw or toasted – your preference!

– 25g of flat leaf parsley

– 1/2 teaspoon of salt

– 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper

– 100g Rosary Goats Cheese, sliced into 4 circles

– 25g of pine nuts to serve

 

Recipe Instructions

In a frying pan, heat one tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over a high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and sauté until the mushrooms are cooked through, tender and have released all their liquid. This should take around 15 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Using a blender, add the finely chopped garlic, walnuts, parsley, 50ml of olive oil, salt, pepper, 1 cup of the cooked mushrooms and 2 tablespoons of water and pulse until thoroughly combined.

Heat a tablespoon of butter over a medium heat in the frying pan used to sauté the mushrooms. Add the courgette noodles and sauté until just heated through. Stir in 4 heaped tablespoons of the pesto to warm the mixture through. Taste and adjust the seasoning if required.

**If using normal wheat pasta, then cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, drain and then stir the pesto through the hot pasta in the pan. Again, taste and adjust the seasoning if required.**

Spoon the mixture into bowls and top with the remaining mushrooms, the sliced goats cheese and the pine nuts. Enjoy!

What to Eat with Cheese

As lovers of all things cheesy, we really believe that cheese is absolutely wonderful on its own – just the way it is! However certain pairings or accompaniments, can not only taste pleasant alongside the cheese but actually enhance the flavour and actually improve upon the cheese tasting experience.

Lots of people know the basics when it comes to deciding what to eat with cheese. It is easy to guess that you can’t really go wrong by adding a few good quality crackers to a cheese board. They go together like strawberries and cream or peanut butter and jam! But where should you go from here when deciding what to eat with cheese?

If you are looking to really impress at your next dinner party, then why not give the below suggestions a try and see if you can protract some squeals of delight and nods of approval from your guests.

As with all foods, the quality of the ingredients really counts when deciding what to eat with cheese. Get the best you can afford and enjoy in smaller quantities – good for your waistline too!

A guide to what to eat with cheese
A guide to what to eat with cheese

What twhao eat with Fresh Cheese

Usually soft and creamy in texture but mild in flavour, fresh cheeses can be paired easily with stronger flavours. Ricotta and Mascarpone are good examples of fresh cheese. These are the types of cheeses that can easily be made into spreads or dips.

The exception is Feta which is still classified as a fresh cheese but has a more vibrant tangy flavour and crumbly texture than other fresh cheeses.

  • Honey or Maple Syrup: Pair a young fresh goats cheese with either honey or maple syrup, for a wonderful mix of salty and sweet.
  • Calamata Olives: Calamata olives have a chewy, succulent texture and strong salty flavour, making them a perfect pairing for fresh cheese.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: You can really appreciate the complexity of a good quality extra virgin olive oil when paired with a mild fresh cheese. It really allows the olive oil to shine through. Serve with some Sourdough and you have a simple starter.

Recipe Idea: Wrap some good quality feta sprinkled with chilli flakes in some foil and bake in the oven until hot. Serve on a wedge of cool watermelon with a drizzle of honey and some rocket as a flavoursome vegetarian starter recipe.

 

What to Eat with Soft Cheese

Soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert, when eaten at the right time, have an earthy, mushroom-y flavour and a mouth wateringly thick, ultra-smooth texture.

These types of cheeses should always be served either at room temperature or warmed through for a gooey consistency. Never serve cold or straight from the fridge.

  • Sun-Blushed Tomatoes: These vibrant tomatoes offer a chewy acidity and freshness; perfect for pairing with our earthy Brie or Tunworth
  • Baked Pistachios: These chewy nuts offer a lovely contrasting texture to the smooth cheese
  • Walnuts and strawberries: Sweet, chewy, crunchy, juicy. A cracking combination for soft cheeses.

 

What to Eat with Blue Cheese

We are blue cheese fanatics, so we pretty much covered the best pairings for blue cheese in our recent article – 7 foods that pair perfectly with blue cheese. However, we have since found some unexpectedly delightful additions which we thought were worth a mention, including:

  • Candied ginger: It has a strong, spicy flavour that can really hold its own against a strong, salty blue. The sweet yet spicy combination hits the nail on the head!
  • Roasted pears with cardamom: Sweet and a touch spicy, a wonderfully complex and interesting combination
  • Honey or Maple Syrup: Roquefort and Stilton especially as just beautiful when drizzled with just a touch of honey or maple syrup. No need to overdo it with this one!

Recipe Idea: Arrange thin crisp slices of raw apple or pear (in season!) topped with a plump olive which has been stuffed with blue cheese. Serve with sherry.

 

What to Eat with Semi Soft Cheese

Semi soft cheeses have a pliable texture and often have a rich, buttery flavour. However, semi-soft washed rind cheeses contain a more pungent or sharp flavour.

  • Roasted Asparagus or Roasted Mushrooms: Both are earthy, rich and almost meaty. Their strong flavours go well with the more subtle flavours of semi soft cheese.
  • Strong Dark Belgian Ales: These beverages have a strong flavour that can stand up to the pungency of a washed rind cheese.
  • Pear Chutney: A nice, not-too-sweet pear chutney is a safe bet for most semi-soft cheeses.
Tomato Chutney goes well with medium-strong cheeses
Tomato Chutney goes well with medium-strong cheeses

What to Eat with Hard Cheeses

Cheeses like aged cheddars, Parmesan and Romano fit into this category and a little really goes a long way! They really pack a punch in the flavour department and have either a hard or crumbly texture.  Lots of different flavours work with these kinds of cheeses when deciding what to eat with cheese of this kind.

  • Tomato chutney (cheese and tomato are a classic pairing and adding the sweetness of a chutney into the mix makes it divine)
  • Mustard – a little goes a long way! Take a slice of cheddar and pop a small amount of good quality mustard.
  • Marmite! Love it or hate it, you would be hard pressed to deny that it goes very well with an aged Lancashire cheese.
  • A good quality aged balsamic vinegar. I say good quality and aged because they are thick, sweet and less intense than normal balsamic vinegars.
  • Griddled fennel – Pop some thin slices of fennel onto a griddle and heat on high for just a couple of minutes.

Recipe Idea: Take a handful of broccoli and chop into small florets. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven until the ends are crispy and slightly blackened. Grate over some parmesan cheese and salt and pepper (even a pinch of chili flakes if you like it hot) to taste.

You Can’t Go Wrong When You Add These 6 items to Your Cheeseboard

  1. Any of the following currently in season: apples, pears, grapes, figs
  2. Toasted Walnuts, caramelised hazelnuts or sugared almonds
  3. Peanut brittle
  4. Thin slices of Fruit cake
  5. Olives
  6. 2 types of crackers

What Are The Different Types of Cheese?

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of different cheeses produced all over the world.  Knowing a little about the different types of cheese can help you decide which you think you might like when trying and discovering new cheeses. It also helps when making recipes that use cheese too as some cheeses melt better than others and some are better for grating, spreading or simply enjoying on their own as part of a cheese board.

There are several different methods used to categorise cheese. Generally though, cheeses are most commonly categorised in the following ways:

  • By Texture
  • Country (and area) of origin
  • Methods by which they are created
  • Type of milk used
  • Length of Ageing

Different Types of Cheese by Texture

This is the most common way that cheeses are categorised.

Fresh Cheese

Fresh cheese describes the types of cheeses that are ready to eat pretty much from the moment they are made. They aren’t aged and therefore have a high moisture content. This also means that their shelf life is quite short – usually only 5-7 days – and they are best eaten on the day of opening. Fresh cheese has a fresh light flavour and can be described as bland. However they are usually lower in fat and sodium than their harder counterparts, so good for those following a low fat diet. Examples of fresh cheese include Ricotta, Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese and Mozzarella.

Soft Cheese

Unlike fresh cheese, soft cheeses do require some time to mature so that their flavours can develop. They are characterised by their really soft texture. They still retain quite high levels of moisture though and really should be eaten within a couple of weeks (stored correctly) as they will spoil. They are easy to spread on crackers or biscuits. Examples of soft cheese include Brie and Camembert

Brie De Meaux is a famous soft cheese
Brie De Meaux is a famous and hugely popular soft cheese

 

Semi-Hard Cheese

Easy to guess from the name that this category is for cheeses that sit in between soft cheese and hard cheeses. They have a semi-hard texture (sometimes described as rubbery) and aren’t matured for very long. Examples of semi-hard cheeses include Edam + Gouda.

Firm Hard Cheese

These cheeses go through a process where they are pressed to remove most of their moisture and whey. This ensures they have a long shelf life. The cheeses are then matured for a minimum of 12 weeks right up to several months. Firm hard cheeses like Parmesan and Vintage Cheddar are often matured for up to 2 years. These cheeses carry a strong flavour! They are perfect for grating over pasta or using in vegetable bakes.

Quickes Vintage Mature Cheddar is aged for 2 years giving it a strong flavour
Quickes Vintage Cheddar is a firm hard cheese. It’s aged for 2 years, giving it a strong flavour

 

Crumbly Hard Cheese

The difference between Firm Hard Cheese and Crumbly Hard Cheese is that even though the latter are still pressed to remove most of the moisture + whey, they are only matured for around 4-8 weeks, which makes them relatively young in comparison to the firm hard cheeses. As they aren’t matured very long they have a crumbly texture and a fresher, more subtle flavour. Examples of crumbly hard cheese include Lancashire Cheese and Caerphilly.

Blue Cheese

Blue cheeses get their own category for special reason. Even though you can get blue cheeses that would fit in with most of the above mentioned categories, they are still unique from other cheeses. That is because of the addition to the cheese of a blue mould – penicillium roqueforti – which is added to either the milk or to the curds just prior to the cheese being shaped. The usual process also involves the cheese being pierced with a stainless steel contraption which lets air into it to activate the mould. We think that Britain really leads the way with blue cheese – and not just because of our Stilton! Blue cheese is perfect crumbled over salads or added onto roasted mushrooms.

Cashel Blue Cheese - Made in Ireland with Cows Milk
Cashel Blue Cheese – Made in Ireland with Cows Milk from a Pedigree Fresian Herd

 

Blended Cheese

These usually also sit in a category of their own because they all contain added flavour through different foods being added to them – usually either fruits, nuts, garlic or herbs and spices. Cheeses that fall in this category include the Rosary Garlic and Herb Goats Button – it’s a beautiful goats cheese with a mousse like texture that has been subtly blended with garlic and rolled in delicate herbs. These cheeses sit very nicely on a cheese board.

 

Other Methods of Categorising Cheese

Country of Origin

This describes where the cheese first originated from and the specific methods by which it was originally created. Some countries have gone and given a special status to the name of the cheese so it can only be given the name – like Roquefort or Manchego for example – if it is produced in that area and using the strict traditional methods. This helps ensure quality. Cheddar originated from Somerset, but it does not yet have protected status and therefore the quality can differ dramatically from one cheddar to the next.

Type of Milk Used

Cheese is always made from milk (unless it is vegan cheese and then it is mainly made from cashew nuts or nutritional yeast) but where the milk has come from makes a big difference to the flavour. Cheese is most often made from cows milk, sheep’s milk and goats milk. Sometimes buffalo milk is used to, like to make this British Buffalo Milk Blue Cheese.

Goats milk has quite a strong flavour, often being described as ‘goaty’ in taste, because of the subtle farmyard-y quality. Don’t let this put you off trying it though – some of the best cheeses around are made from Goats milk.

Cows cheese is mild and sweet in taste and gives a subtle creamy flavour when young. Sheep cheese sits somewhere in the middle of the two flavour-wise. It is also referred to as Ewes Milk Cheese.

 How Long the Cheese is Aged For

Cheeses are aged to remove moisture, producing a more intense flavour and a denser finished product. This is done in a temperature controlled environment so that bacteria can work on the cheese. The longer they have to work, the more creamy they get, until once enough moisture has left, they become crumbly once more (for example with Parmesan and vintage cheddar which are usually aged for a couple of years!) Sometimes cheese can be categorised by how long it is aged for as this is a defining factor in how the end product turns out.

Why Not Try Our Different Types of Cheese!

 

Try Our Cheese TodayTry Our Cheese Today! Fancy having a look around our shop?  Visit here www.thecheesemarket.co.uk to view our scrumptious cheeses!

How Long Does Cheese Keep For?

How Long Does Cheese Keep For?

There is much confusion surrounding how long cheese actually keeps for. The short answer is that different types of cheese keep for different lengths of time. For example, a hard cheese like cheddar can be kept unopened for months whereas a soft cheese like a goats cheese may only keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks or less. However, the truth about how long does cheese keep for is more complicated than that because how long a cheese keeps for will depend on other factors as well, like where you store the cheese and how well you store it. Here are our top tips and little known facts on how to keep cheese.

Tips + Facts on How to Best Keep Cheese

1. Make sure that you understand the difference between the ‘use by Date’ on the cheese and the ‘Best Before Date’ on a cheese. A ‘Use by Date’ is related to health and safety. It describes the date by which the manufacturers have decided that the item would no longer be deemed safe to eat after this point.

The ‘Best Before Date’ on the other hand is related to product quality.  It describes the date that the food will no longer be at its best. So, the taste may be affected but it should still be safe to eat after this point.

2. Many different types of cheese come with varying ‘Best Before’ dates as the key thing with cheese is that the flavours change and develop with time (hence why some cheddar cheese is matured for several months; to change the flavour).

For example, a cheddar stored in the fridge will often taste very similar if eaten a month before the ‘Best Before’ date or just a couple of days before. Whereas a soft cheese on the other hand is often at its best when it approaches this date. A young Brie like our Godminster Organic Brie,  will be crumbly like feta and mild in flavour before it has had a chance to mature. Most people enjoy Brie which has had a chance to mature and ripen, so eating it at its ‘Best Before’ date is usually the best option (even slightly after this). It really is the perfect time to eat as it will be softer yet fuller in flavour.

Brie Taste Better After it Has Matured
Brie-style cheeses can taste even better once it has had time to mature

 

3. The majority of our cheeses are small Artisan individual whole cheeses or manufacturer wrapped rather than pre cut wedges. How the cheeses are packaged has an effect on how well they will keep. Whole and/or manufacturer wrapped cheeses will keep longer in the fridge & should arrive with longer ‘Best Before’ and ‘Use By’ dates. The Cheese Market guarantee at least 7 days shelf life on all our cheeses and most of our hard cheeses come with much much longer (weeks and months longer!).

For most hard cheeses & blue cheeses that are already opened or have been pre-cut and wrapped (not fully sealed), if stored correctly will last for 1 week, if not longer. Make sure that you check the individual packaging.

Whole Cheeses Will Keep Longer Than Pre-Cut Wedges
Whole Cheeses Will Keep Longer Than Pre-Cut Wedges

 

How Long Will Soft Cheese Keep?

Soft cheeses like mozzarella & ricotta are best used on the day of opening but can be stored for up to a couple of days in a sealed contained in the fridge. Just make sure the brine they are in has not been contaminated by anything else like a used spoon.

Maximising The Freshness of Cheese

  1. Wrap cheese in waxed paper rather than Cling Film: This allows the cheese to breath rather than sweat.
  2. Store cheese in the vegetable compartment of the fridge – fridges are slightly too cool & too dry in general for ideal storage of cheese. This will be the warmest part of the fridge normally & if vegetables are present they will add the needed humidity for the cheese.
  3. If the vegetable compartment is stocked to the max already then place the cheese in waxed paper, then into a plastic food tub & partially seal – to keep humidity high.
  4. If a cheese becomes hard it is likely that it’s not being stored in a place with enough humidity to keep it happy. You can still salvage some of the cheese though by cutting off the dry section.
  5. If the cheese starts to develop a thick mould it may be in conditions which are too humid. However if only a slight mould begins to form then this is often part of the natural process. This section can also be removed and the cheese below is good to eat.

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 13.34.38Try Our Cheese Today! Fancy having a look around our shop?  Visit here – www.thecheesemarket.co.uk to view our scrumptious cheeses!

Caring for your Cheese

Where to keep it

Many artisan cheeses are matured and stored in cellars and caves but for most of us this isn’t a possibility. The most convenient way to get the best out of your cheeses is to store them in the fridge preferably the vegetable draws where the humidity is likely to be higher and a bit more to their liking.

How to keep it

Humidity is also important with cheese, left open the cheese will most likely become too dry, but if wrapped in plastic film will likely become soggy and smelly. We wrap all our cut cheeses in waxed paper which is the best way to counteract these problems.

How to prepare it

We recommend that to get the best flavour from your cheese take it out of the fridge roughly 2 hours before you intend to serve it.

Use by & Best Before Dates

To give a brief background on these 2 terms and how they differ. Some cheeses will have a use by date, this in short is the date at which point after the food item should not be consumed for health and safety reasons. Best Before, and this is seen a lot on many cheeses related to at which point the food item is deemed to have reached its best, this is not to say

That after this point the food is any less safe or that it is inedible, in fact with many cheeses the flavours will continue to develop. A straight forward way to look at it is that the manufacturer or retailer believes that at this date, or just before, the item is at its best flavour. It is always best to try and buy cheeses that you intend to consume shortly that are reaching their best before date. Here at The Cheese Market we offer a “”Ripe & Ready” Service on checkout, by letting us know you would like cheeses getting close to their best flavour we will select whichever ones benefit from being close to their best before date and are in stock. We also offer a “Taste over Time” bar with most of the cheeses that’s flavours develop over time so you can choose when you want to use it.