Cheese Glossary

» Nantais
A Breton cow’s milk cheese made with pressed curds (40% fat content). It has a smooth washed rind. The pâte is springy to the touch, pale to deep yellow and has a pronounced flavour.
» Neufchâtel
A cow’s milk cheese (45% fat content) with a white, downy rind mottled with red and a soft, smooth, creamy golden-yellow pâte. It has a mild flavour and is sold in various shapes: rectangular, square, cylindrical or heart-shaped.
» Niolo
A Corsican cheese made either from ewe’s milk or a mixture of ewe’s and goat’s milk (at least 45% fat content). Niolo has a soft texture and a natural greyish-white rind.
» Olivet
A small, soft French cow’s milk cheese (40% fat content). The skin is either bluish or ash-covered, and the cheese is straw-coloured, with a fruity or spicy taste.
» Olivet Cendré
Soft cow’s milk cheese (40% fat content) with a natural crust covered in ashes after being ripened for 3 months in a container filled with wood ash. It has a more pronounced, soapier taste than Olivet.
» Ossau-Iraty
A French ewe’s milk cheese (at least 50% fat content) with a creamy, yellow, lightly pressed curd, a smooth orange-yellow to grey rind, and a pronounced flavour.
» Pannerone
Panera is Italian for “cream,” and Pannerone is one of the creamiest cheeses available. It has a smooth taste with a hint of bitter bite and is sometimes mistaken for Gorgonzola due to its shape; however, Pannerone does not have blue veins.
» Parmesan
Parmigiano Reggiano is the DOP Parmesan cheese. It is made from skimmed cow’s milk (28-32% butterfat content) and is a hard cheese with a granular consistency. It has a very fruity, even piquant flavour.
» Pasta Filata
These types of cheeses have been stretched and shaped by hand which accounts for their fine, elastic texture. Examples are Provolone, Mozzarella and Caciocavallo.
» Pâte
(Paste) A French word that refers to all that is within the rind or crust of a cheese.
The new Protection of Designated Origin for cheese replaces systems such as AOC (France) and DOC (Italy)
» Pecorino
An Italian ewe’s milk cheese. Pecorino is hard-pressed with a yellow crust when mature. Pecorino Romano is from Rome and is the best known cheese. Pecorino Sardo is from Sardinia and Pecorino Siciliano from Sicily. These cheeses are generally aged up to a year, and develop a brittle, hard texture and a yellowish rind. Pecorino has a strong, salty flavour and is used in the same way as Parmesan. Younger cheeses are softer and whiter.
» Pélardon
A small, goat’s milk cheese from Cévennes (45% fat content), with a soft white centre and a very fine natural crust.
» Persillé des Aravis
A soft cow’s milk cheese (45% fat content) from Savoie, with green veining and a natural crust. It is a cylindrical cheese and has a spicy flavour.
» Petit-Suisse
A French cheese made with cow’s milk enriched with cream (60-70% fat content). It is a fresh cheese, unsalted, smooth and soft.
» Picodon
An AOP goat’s milk cheese (45% fat content) with a soft centre and a fine natural crust that is bluish, golden or reddish, depending on the ripeness of the cheese. Picodon has a strong or nutty flavour.
» Pierre-Qui-Vire
A soft cow’s milk cheese (45% fat content) from Burgundy with a reddish, washed crust. It tastes similar to Époisses.
» Pigouille
A soft cheese from Poitou made from sheep’s, goat’s or cow’s milk (45% fat content), lightly crusted with mould. It is a small round cheese with a mild, creamy flavour like Caillebotte.
» Pithiviers
A cow’s milk cheese from the Orléans area (40-45% fat content) with a soft texture and a greyish-white, furry crust. Ripened under a thin layer of hay, it is a supple creamy-yellow cheese when ripe with a strong flavour.
» Pont-l’Évêque
This is a real stinker but tastes milder than it smells. Named after a town in Normandy, France Pont-l’Évêque is a soft cow’s milk cheese (45-50% fat content). It has a slightly moldy brown/pinkish rind; a soft, supple pâte (which should not be runny); and is square or heart shaped. It is also known as Moyaux cheese.
» Port-Salut
Originally made by monks in Entrammes, France, it is a cow’s milk (45-50% fat content) cheese which is pressed but not cooked and has a washed crust. It has a soft, creamy texture and the lactic bacteria used in its production gives the cheese an acidity to complement its mild taste.
» Pouligny-Saint-Pierre
Also called Pyramid/e or Eiffel Tower because of its pyramid shape. After 4 weeks of ripening the brownish rind is dry with a natural, blue mould. The pâte is very white and is fine-textured, moist, soft and crumbly. It smells of goat’s milk and straw.
» Pouligny-Saint-Pierre
A goat’s milk cheese from Berry (45% fat content) with a smooth curd and a fine natural rind with a bluish tinge. It is firm but smooth, with a pronounced flavour, and is shaped like an elongated pyramid.
» Pourly
A goat’s milk cheese from Burgundy (45% fat content) with a soft curd and a natural rind, which is fine and bluish. It is fairly smooth with a flavour of hazelnuts and a goaty smell.
» Provolone
This southern Italian cow’s milk-cheese has a firm texture and a mild, smoky flavour. It has a golden-brown rind and comes in various forms, though the squat pear shape is most recognizable. Most provolone is aged for 2 to 3 months and has a pale-yellow colour. However, some are aged for 6 months to a year or more. As the cheese ripens, the colour becomes a richer yellow and the flavour more pronounced. It is an excellent cooking cheese and aged provolones can be used for grating.
» Raclette
This Savoie cheese may be either round or square. The name derives from ‘racler’ meaning to scrape, and describes the way in which it is traditionallly prepared in the mountains (see Culinary Glossary). Its pâte is slightly hard, but melts well, with a light smell of mould when warm and a full, milky flavour. It is aged for at least eight weeks.
» Reblochon
A cow’s milk cheese made in Savoy (50% fat content), with a pressed uncooked curd and a washed rind, yellow, pink or orange in colour. It is very pliable, creamy and fine-textured, with a sweet nutty taste. Reblochon means “second milking”: cow herdsmen would use the last milk drawn from the cow (which is very rich in fat) for their cheese making. This makes Reblochon a more expensive cheese.
» Remoudou
A Belgian cow’s milk cheese (45% fat content). It has a soft curd and a very strong flavour.
» Ricotta
An Italian curd cheese made from the whey produced as a by-product in the manufacture of various cow’s and ewe’s milk cheeses. Soft and rindless, with a crumbly texture and a mild flavour, Ricotta is used mainly in cooking.
» Robiola
The general name given to creamy fresh cheeses (50% fat content) made in the Asti region of Piedmont in Italy. Cow’s, ewe’s or goat’s milk is used. One of the best known, with AOP status, comes from the town of Roccaverano. The cheeses are shaped into rough rounds and wrapped in paper. The pâte is very white and soft, and the flavour is milky with a sour tang.
» Rocamadour
A soft AOP goat’s cheese from Quercy with a natural bluish crust. It has a lactic flavour, sweet and nutty, which sharpens and strengthens as the cheese matures.
» Rollot
A soft, highly flavoured cow’s milk cheese from the Picardy region (45% fat content), with a washed reddish or orange-yellow rind. It is either heart-shaped or wheel-shaped.
» Roncal
Ewe’s milk DO cheese from Navarre in northern Spain. This hard cheese is pressed and aged for a minimum of 3 months, during which it forms a hard, inedible rind. The pâte is beige in colour, becoming amber as it ages, and the flavour is rich and nutty.
» Roquefort
(See Blue Cheese) A French ewe’s milk cheese (45% fat content) made in the Rouerge district. Only the milk of specially bred sheep is used, and is ripened in limestone caverns. The cheese is blue-veined, smooth and creamy, with a naturally formed rind, and has a strong smell and a pronounced flavour. It is one of the oldest known cheeses: in 1411 the inhabitants of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, a village in the Aveyron, were granted sole rights to the maturing of this soft cheese.
» Saingorlon
A French blue cheese from Bresse made from pasteurised cow’s milk (50% fat content) with a natural crust. It was created at the beginning of World War II to replace Gorgonzola, which the Italians no longer exported. It is smooth with a pronounced flavour.
» Sainte-Maure
A French goat’s milk AOP cheese from Touraine (45% fat content), with a soft curd and a thin natural bluish rind, sometimes marked with pink or coated in ash. It is firm and creamy with a fairly pronounced goaty smell and a well-developed bouquet.
» Saint-Félicien
A soft, French cow’s milk cheese (60% fat content), with a natural bluish crust. It is sold as a small flat disc and has a slightly nutty taste.
» Saint-Florentin
A French cow’s milk cheese (45% fat content) with a soft curd and a smooth reddish-brown washed rind. It is wheel-shaped and has a fairly strong flavour. However, it is often sold unmatured as a soft cheese which tastes very sweet and milky.
» Saint-Marcellin
A French cow’s milk cheese (50% fat content) with a soft curd and a thin natural rind which is bluish-grey. It has a sweet but slightly acidic taste.
» Saint-Nectaire
A French cow’s milk cheese (45% fat content) from Auvergne, with a pressed curd and a natural rind; it is matured for 8 weeks on a bed of rye straw. It is soft but not flabby, with a musty smell and an earthy flavour, giving it a pronounced flavour.
» Salers
Similar to Cantal, this French cheese is also produced in the mountains of Auvergne but AOP regulations stipulate that it must be made with milk from cows that grazed on mountain pastures in summer (Cantal is made from the milk of other seasons). They are uncooked but pressed twice, and have a greyish-brown natural brushed rind. The cylindrical cheese has a firm texture and a strong flavour.
» Samsoë
A Danish cow’s milk cheese (45% fat content). It has a pressed curd and a golden yellow rind coated with paraffin wax. Mild and firm, with a few round holes, it acquires a nutty flavour after a few months of maturing.
» Sbrinz
A Swiss unpasteurised cow’s milk cheese (45% fat content) with a cooked, pressed centre and a washed, brushed, smooth crust which is dark yellow or brown. Hard, brittle and with a strong flavour, this cheese is marketed in wheel shapes.
» Scamorze
An Italian cheese (44% fat content), originally made from buffalo’s milk but now made from cow’s or goat’s milk. It is a pressed cheese with a natural crust, a white or cream colour and a nutty flavour. It is often eaten fresh and can be used in the same way as Mozzarella.
» Schabzieger
A Swiss cheese made of skimmed cow’s milk, which is very hard and has no rind. It is sharp and strong and flavoured with dried sweet clover which gives it a greenish colour. When completely dry it is used like Parmesan cheese.
» Selles-sur-Cher
An AOP goat’s milk cheese from the Loire Valley defined my its lingering scent and aftertaste. The small disc-shaped cheeses are coated in charcoal and after 4 weeks the surface is very knobbly and covered in grey mould. The pâte is characteristic of a true goat’s milk cheese: slightly hard at first then moist, heavy and clay-like as it melts in the mouth. The taste is slightly sour and salty, with some sweetness.
» Serra-da-estrela
This soft Portuguese DOP ewe’s milk cheese (45-60% fat content) has a washed crust and a sweet flavour when young which becomes piquant after more than 6 weeks of maturing.
» Shropshire Blue
A British blue cheese invented in Scotland. It is made in a very similar way to Stilton and the end result is a bright red cheese with blue veining. It has a sharper taste than Stilton.
» Soumaintrain
A French soft-textured cow’s milk cheese (45% fat content) with a washed, reddish, damp rind. It has a penetrating odour and a spicy flavour.
» Sovietski
A Russian cow’s milk cheese (50% fat content) which is pasteurised and pressed, is elastic in consistency and has a rather piquant taste.
» Stilton
(See Blue Cheese) An English cheese made from cow’s milk (48-55% fat content). One month into the maturing process the surfaces of the cheeses are punctured to bring about increased veining. It is firm and cream-coloured, uniformly mottled with bluish veins and has a natural brushed rind. Stilton is considered one of the finest cheeses in the world and is traditionally accompanied by a glass of Port or Burgundy. There are two types of Stilton: Blue and White.
» Stracchino
A fresh, cow’s-milk cheese from Italy’s Lombardy region with a washed rind and a soft centre. Stracchino contains about 50 percent milk fat. Its flavour is mild and delicate – similar to but slightly more acidic than cream cheese. Stracchino Crescenza has a somewhat higher milk fat content, which results in a slightly creamier texture.
» Stravecchio
Italian term for a cheese matured for 2 years.
» Surati
An Indian cheese made from buffalo milk or sometimes cow’s milk, with a soft whitish centre and a slightly sour yet salty flavour.
» Taleggio
[tahl-EH-zhee-oh] Hailing from Italy’s Lombardy region, this rich (48% fat), semi soft cheese is made from whole cow’s milk. Its flavour can range from mild to pungent, depending on its age. When young, Taleggio’s colour is pale yellow and its texture semi soft. As it ages it darkens to deep yellow and becomes rather runny. Taleggio is sold in flat blocks or cylinders and is covered either with a wax coating or a thin mold. It’s excellent with salad greens or served with fruit for dessert.
» Tamié
A cow’s milk cheese from Savoy (40-45% fat content). It is a pressed, uncooked cheese with a soft and elastic texture and a washed, smooth, clear rind. It has a fairly pronounced lactic taste.
» Téte-de-Moine
A Swiss cow’s milk cheese (40% fat content) which is pressed and uncooked. It is a firm yet pliable cheese with a washed brownish-yellow rather sticky rind, a spicy flavour and a pronounced aroma. The cheese is creamy yellow and becomes reddish as it matures.
» Tetilla
This conical cow’s milk cheese (45% fat content) from northern Spain has a thin, yellow rind and a pale yellow pâte with some small holes. The elastic pâte has a milky flavour with a lemon tang. It is served with Serano ham and Fino sherry.
» Tomme
(Tome) The generic name of two large families of cheeses: one made from goat’s or ewe’s milk, especially in south-eastern France and the Dauphiné and sometimes in Savoy; the other from cow’s milk, pressed and uncooked, typical of Savoy and Switzerland.
» Vacherin Cheeses
The name given to several cow’s milk cheeses (45% fat content) from Switzerland or France (Savoy or Franche-Compté), that have a soft texture and a washed rind.
» Vacqueyras
A goat’s milk cheese from Berry (45% fat content), also made in Touraine and the Carentes. It has a soft texture and a natural rind that is either dusted with charcoal or has a bloomed surface. It is made in the shape of a truncated pyramid, is firm to the touch and has a musty smell and a nutty flavour.
» Valençay
A truncated pyramid shaped goats milk cheese from Loire, which is covered with salted charcoal ashes before ripening for 3 weeks. The rind is of natural mould and the uncooked, unpressed pâte is soft, firm and moist.
» Vecchio
Italian term for a cheese matured for 9 months.
» Venaco
A Corsican cheese made from goat’s or ewe’s milk (45% content) with a soft texture and a greyish, scraped natural rind. It is a whitish, fatty cheese, firm to the touch with a strong smell and sometimes a piquant flavour.
» Vieux Pané
A soft cow’s milk cheese (50% fat content) with a washed crust. It has an earthy flavour.
» Weisslacker
A German cow’s milk cheese produced in foil-wrapped blocks. Golden-yellow right through, with a dense texture and a washed rind, it has a pronounced flavour and smell.
» Wensleydale
Originally made from ewe’s milk and now from cow’s milk, this English cheese from the Yorkshire dales is uncooked and pressed into small or medium-sized drum shapes. It has a thin, dry natural rind and a firm but crumbly pâte. The taste is sweet and milky with a tangy finish. There are also blue and smoked versions.
» Whey
The watery liquid that separates from the solids (curds – see above) in cheese making. Whey is sometimes further processed into whey cheese. It can be separated another step, with butter being made from the fattier share. Whey is also used in processed foods such as crackers. However, whey is more often used as livestock feed than it is in the human diet.