Cheese Glossary

» Danish Blue
A Danish cow’s milk cheese, blue with a whitish rind. It has a strong and slightly piquant flavour.
» Demi-sel
A soft French cheese made from pasteurised cow’s milk (40-45% fat content), with a mild flavour and less than 2% added salt. It is sold in small squares wrapped in foil and used as a cheese spread.
» Derby
An English cheese made with cow’s milk (45% fat content). It is a firm, pressed, mild cheese which resembles Cheddar, but is slightly flakier and more moist.
» DO
(See PDO) Denominacion de Origen (Spain)
(See PDO) Denominazione di Origine Controllata (Italy) – has been replaced by DOP
» Dolcelatte
This is a smooth, creamy blue cheese, milder than gorgonzola, and a registered trade name meaning “sweet milk”. It is a semi-soft cheese (50% fat) that is made from cow’s milk and matured for about 40 days.
(See PDO) Denominazione di Origine Protetta (Italy)
» Edam
A Dutch cow’s milk cheese (30-40% fat content) in the shape of a large ball with a yellow or red waxed coating. It is a semi-hard pressed cheese, firm but elastic and free of holes.The pâte is light yellow with a sweet nutty flavour, to yellow-ochre and stronger in flavour depending on the degree of maturity.
» Edelpilz
A German cow’s milk cheese (55% fat content), pale yellow and blue-veined with a natural crust. It has a sweet flavour and a slight tang.
» Emmental
(Emmenthal) A Swiss unpasteurised cheese (45% fat content) which is hard and ivory-coloured with lots of large holes and a golden-yellow to brown rind. It is matured for 6-12 months.
» Époisses
A soft French AOP unpasteurised cow’s milk cheese (45% fat content) with an orange washed crust and a soft creamy inside. It has a very strong flavour.
» Esrom
A semi-hard Danish cow’s milk cheese made in flat rectangular shapes and sold wrapped in foil. The pale yellow pâte is supple with small irregular holes. The flavour is quite rich and aromatic and the mature cheese is quite spicy.
» Excelsior
A cow’s milk cheese from Normandy (72% fat content). The skin is white with brown markings and the ivory-coloured pâte is soft, fine and dense in texture, with a mellow, slightly nutty flavour.
» Explorateur
Triple crème (75% fat content) soft cheese from the Île-de-France made from enriched unpasteurised cow’s milk. It has a firm, very creamy texture.
» Feta
The most famous of Greek cheeses. Salty and sharp, Feta was originally made with either ewe’s milk or a mixture of ewe’s and goat’s milk, but is now being mass-produced with primarily cow’s milk (although recent trends have seen the return of goat’s milk feta). The drained curd is cut and salted, washed and placed in barrels. The cheese is soaked in brine, and ripens for 15-30 days. The harder, crumbly version of Feta common in supermarkets is aged for up to 3 months.
» Fontainebleau
A soft fresh cow’s milk cheese (60-75% fat content). It is not matured or salted, but wrapped in muslin and sold in a small waxed cardboard container.
» Fontina
Genuine Fontina comes from the Valle d’Aosta in the most north west corner of Italy, it is a cow’s milk cheese (45% fat content), with a pressed cooked centre and a brushed, sometimes oiled crust. Elastic to the touch and with a few small holes, it has a light yellow pâte and tastes delicately nutty. It is ripened for about 3 months and each cheese is marked with a picture of the Matterhorn.
» Forme d’Ambert
A semi-hard blue cheese (45% fat content) from the Auvergne with a firm ivory pâte and a good fruity flavour. It is cylindrical in shape and has AOP status.
» Fougeru
A soft cow’s milk cheese from Brie (45% fat content) with a reddish crust.
» Fourme
Any of various cow’s milk cheeses from central France that usually contain parsley and are used in the same way as blue cheese. Examples are Fourme d’Amert (AOP) and Fourme du Mézenc.
» Fromage Frais
The French term for unripened fresh cheese. It is made from whole or skimmed milk and has a thick creamy consistency. Depending on its fat content, it can be rich and creamy or very light and slightly tangy in flavour.
» Gammelöst
A Norwegian semi-soft, yellowish-brown cheese made from cow’s or goat’s milk. Its rind is brown and becomes darker as it ages and it has a strong, aromatic flavour.
» Gaperon
(Gapron) A cheese from the Auvergne region of France made of skimmed cow’s milk or buttermilk, shaped like a ball flattened at one end. It is compressed and flavoured with garlic and pepper.
» Géromé
A cow’s milk cheese (45-50% fat content) made in the Vosges and very similar to Munster. It is a soft cheese with a washed reddish rind, it is pliable to the touch and has a strong smell and highly seasoned taste. It may be flavoured with caraway seeds.
» Gloucester
There are two types of this hard English cheese: Single Gloucester which is ripened in two months, and Double Gloucester which is marketed in six months and is the more flavourful and prestigious of the two.
» Gorgonzola
(See ‘Blue Cheese’) A DOP Italian cow’s milk cheese (48% fat content), white or light yellow and streaked with blue. Gorgonzola should be delicate and creamy with a natural grey rind, pitted with red. It is wrapped in silver paper.
» Gouda
A DOP Dutch cow’s milk cheese (30-40% fat content) with a compressed pâte. Firm to the touch, it is light yellow to yellow ochre and is matured for 2 or 3 months (waxed rind, tinged with yellow or colourless), has been semi-oven dried (golden rind) or oven dried (yellow rind). Its flavour can be mellow or pronounced.
» Grana Padano
Cooked pressed DOP Italian cheese from the Po Valley made from partly skimmed cow’s milk (32% fat content). It is similar to Parmigiano Reggiano with a natural crust coated with oil. It has a very hard, granular texture (hence the name ‘grana’) and a smoky, slightly rancid taste. It is often used grated in cooking.
» Gratte Paille
A rich cow’s milk cheese (70% fat content) made with both pasteurised and unpasteurised milk in the Île-de-France. Made in brick shapes, the cheese has a beige mottled rind and an oily texture. The flavour is very rich and creamy.
» Gris de Lille
A soft cow’s milk cheese from Flanders (45% fat content), also called Puant Macéré and Vieux Lille. It has a pale pinkish-grey washed rind, and is matured by soaking in brine and washing with beer. It has a highly seasoned, salty taste and a very strong smell.
» Gruviera/Groviera
This Italian version of the Swiss Gruyère has a sweet, nutty flavour that is very like the original. It can be used in any manner suitable for Gruyère.
» Gruyère
A Swiss or French cow’s milk cheese (45% fat content) with a firm but pliable texture and a brushed and washed rind. It takes about 6 months to mature and has a nutty flavour. It is ivory-yellow or golden-brown in colour.
» Haloumi
(Halloumi/y) A Cyprian cooked cheese that is matured in brine. Traditionally the cheese was kneaded, rolled out and layered with mint leaves or other herbs. It has a rubbery texture and very mild, salty flavour (similar to feta) and is usually sold in vacuum packed blocks. Haloumi is good in salads and is often served deep-fried as a starter.
» Havarti
Very close to the German Tilsit cheese in style.
» Herve
A Belgian AOP cow’s milk cheese (45% fat content). It is soft, close-textured, pliable and cream-coloured, with a smooth pinkish-yellow washed rind. It tastes mild and creamy after 6 weeks of ripening, but after 8 weeks the taste becomes more pronounced.
» Idiazabal
Unpasteurised DOP sheep’s milk cheese from the Basque region of Spain. A cooked pressed cheese (45-50% fat content) with a firm yellow-beige pâte, tiny holes and a rich buttery flavour. Can be smoked in natural wood smoke.
» Jack
A soft, mild American cheese which is matured for 1 week. Dry Jack is aged for 7-10 months to give a much sharper, nutty flavour.
» Kefalotiri
A well-flavoured ewe’s milk cheese made throughout Greece and Cyprus. A similar cheese sold outside Greece is often made with cow’s milk and has a milder flavour.
» Laguiole
Similar in production and shape to Cantal and Salers, Laguiole originates from Aubrac in France. The cheese is uncooked and pressed twice; it has a firm, yellow, semi-hard pâte and a thick orange and white rind which darkens with aging.
» Lancashire
An English cow’s milk cheese (45% fat content) which is pressed, uncooked and soft-bodied.
» Langres
An AOP cow’s milk cheese (45% fat content) from the Champagne area of France. It is a soft cheese with a reddish-brown rind, a creamy yellow pâte and a strong aroma and flavour.
» Le Brouère
Essentially a variation of French Gruyère, this new cheese (45% fat content) is made in Alsace. It has a light brown rind with a bright yellow pâte; the flavour is sweet and buttery, with nutty tones.
» Leicester
This brightly coloured English hard cheese used to be made from surplus milk from the production of Stilton Cheese. Leicester is made in a similar fashion to Cheddar, and comes covered in a hard, dry rind. As with Lancashire, the factory version is mild, while homemade Leicester is rich and deep in taste.
» Leiden
A Dutch cow’s milk cheese (40% fat content) flavoured with cumin seeds or cloves and with a brushed, washed, waxy rind. It’s mild flavour is dominated by the spice used.
» Levroux
A French goat’s milk cheese (45% fat content) shaped like a truncated pyramid. It is similar to Valençay in characteristics.
» Limburg
Originally a Belgian cow’s milk cheese although production has now largely been taken over by German cheese makers.
» Livarot
Sounds like an alcohol induced disease, but is actually a cow’s milk cheese (40-45% fat content) from Normandy. It has a soft, smooth pâte and a washed, brownish-red rind, traditionally tinted with annatto. It is left to mature for 3-4 months in a damp cellar. It has a distinctive but not overwhelming aroma, and a full-bodied flavour.
» Mâconnais
An unpasteurised goat’s milk cheese from Burgundy (40-45% fat content), with a fresh body and natural bluish crust. It has a mildly goaty, nutty flavour.
» Mahon
This semi-hard, pressed DOP cheese (40-45% fat content) from Majorca is made from cow’s milk. They have a tangy, nutty flavour.
» Manchego
A DO Spanish cheese made from ewe’s milk (40-45% fat content), it is cylindrical and sold either fresh or matured (2/3 months; 1 year or 2 years). It is a white cheese with small, evenly distributed holes. The flavour is fairly mild and nutty even when mature.
» Maquèe
Uncooked soft cream cheese from the Walloon area of Belgium made from cow’s milk.
» Maredsous
Pressed uncooked cow’s milk cheese (45% fat content) with a washed crust. It has a supple, dense texture and a sweetish taste.
» Mascableu
Mascarpone and blue cheese combined in equal quantities.
» Mascarpone
A soft, white fresh cream cheese from the Lombardy region of southern Italy. It is made from cream separated from milk, accounting for its high fat content. The cream is heated, citric acid is added, and the curd is stirred. The clumps of curd are drained in cloth for 24 hours, then the cheese is whipped and packed in tubs.
» Mimolette Français
A cow’s milk cheese (45% fat content), characterised by its orange colour and shaped like a flattened ball. It is a compressed cheese with a dry, hard grey or brown rind. It can be matured up to 18 months, and depending on it’s maturity may be supple, dry or hard and flaky; the nutty flavour of the young cheese gradually becomes more piquant.
» Montasio
A DOP cheese from Italy’s Veneto, it is made from partially skimmed unpasteurised cow’s milk. It is cooked and pressed to give a firm pâte with small holes throughout. It has a mild and nutty flavour with a light tang.
» Mont-d’Or
A French cheese made from goat’s milk and/or cow’s milk (45% fat content). It is a soft cheese with a crust which is slightly blue with a hint of red. It is sold in small discs and has a delicate flavour.
» Morbier
A cow’s milk cheese (45% fat content) with a layer of ash (lovely!). The cheese is semi-soft with a natural brushed rind and sweet flavour.
» Mozzarella
I’m sure this one needs little explanation but some interesting facts nonetheless: It originated in Latium and Campania in Italy and is still made with buffalo’s milk in these areas but with cow’s milk (40-45% fat content) in the rest of Italy. Buffalo mozzarella has a more delicate flavour. The ability to ‘tear’ mozzarella indicates a high quality cheese.
» Munster
An Alsatian cheese made from cow’s milk (40-45% fat content); it has a soft yellow pâte and a washed straw/orange coloured rind. After maturing for 2-3 months it has a strong smell and a full-bodied flavour.


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