73. There are literally hundreds of foreign cheeses, many of which are imported into Britain to meet the demand and the ever changing tastes of the British public. The continental countries of France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Holland, Austria and Switzerland have always produced cheeses that are popular in Britain. And indeed, the varieties these countries export include some of the most famous and best liked cheeses in the world. Large imports of Cheddar type, factory produced and other cheeses are also made from Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Southern Ireland, with a small amount of specialist cheeses being imported from Greece. Several of the foreign cheeses do not differ widely in taste from hard or soft British cheeses, while others, especially pungent varieties such as Emmenthal, Gruyere, Parmesan and Tilsit, have a flavour all of their own and cannot be compared. When buying foreign cheeses look for the same quality points expected when buying British cheese.
The following section contains just a small selection of foreign cheeses that are available in Britain now.
74. Banon. A pungent tasting cheese from France, originally made only from goats’ milk, Banon is now mixed with cows’ milk or made exclusively from cows’ milk. The cheese is dipped in “eau de vie”, then into rosemary and winter savoury or chestnut leaves which have been soaked in eau de vie. Traditionally, Banon is left to mature for several months in stone jars.
Note: Meaning, literally, “water of life”, eau de vie is the French name given to a number of fruit brandies such as kirsch (cherry), and framboise (raspberry).
75. Bel Paese. One of the most famous of Italian cheeses, Bel Paese has an ivory colour and a thin, dark yellow rind. Soft and compact, this cheese has a delicate, slightly salty flavour and is usually served as a dessert cheese, but may also be used in cooking.
76. Bergkase. Dull yellow with a dark brown rind, this hard Austrian cheese has a high fat content and a mild, nutty flavour.
77. Bleu De Bresse. A soft, creamy, dark veined blue cheese from France made from full cream cows’ milk. It has a rich acid taste and is sold wrapped in foil and boxed. When over-ripe it goes salty and dry.
78. Boursin or Boursault. Two brand names for the same triple cream cheese from France, it has a soft, thick texture and is flavoured with either garlic, herbs or pepper.
79. Brie. A large, round, soft, delicately flavoured pale yellow cheese from France. When fresh, Brie has a creamy white, edible crust which takes on a slightly reddish hue as the cheese matures. One of the worlds great cheeses, Brie is made from cows’ milk and is at its best fresh cut from the wheel (whole cheese). Brie is fully ripe when the cheese has a consistent texture: when cut or pressed, the cheese should bulge but not run.80. Camembert. A world famous cheese from Normandy, France, Camembert is a round, soft, pale to creamy yellow cheese with a soft edible crust. It has a stronger taste than Brie and is also made from cows’ milk. Sold whole in boxes or in individually wrapped portions, the ripeness test is the same as for Brie. Camembert should not be allowed to become over-ripe, when the taste becomes bitter. However, some people think this is an acceptable flavour for eating.
81. Carre De L’Est. A square, soft cheese from France that has a high fat content. It is similar to Camembert but milder in flavour.
82. Comte. From France, this firm, yellowish cheese is riddled with holes that occur naturally: it is particularly good for cooking.
83. Danbo. A mild flavoured, firm textured Danish cheese. When cut it is easily recognized by its regular, even sized holes. Sometimes, it is given an added (and unusual) taste by the addition of caraway seeds.
84. Danish Blue. This cheese is also known as Danablu and was invented in 1914, at the beginning of the First World Ware, when the importation of Italian veined cheeses into Denmark was curtailed. The strong, salty flavour of this white cheese with its close blue veins diminishes as it matures. It has a high cream content and is soft with a slightly crumbly texture.
85. Demi-Sel. A small, square, fresh cream cheese from France, Demi-sel has very little salt and tastes almost like cream. Also sold under various other brand names, the very best Demi-sel comes from Normandy.
86. Dolcelatte. One of the most famous of Italian veined cheeses, Dolcelatte is off-white in colour and has blue/green veins running through it. It has a full, robust flavour and a creamy, moist texture.
87. Edam. This Dutch cheese has a mild flavour and a slightly rubbery texture. It is always encased in a wax rind of either red, for the normal variety, or, green, for the variety which contains herbs. Edam is not unlike Dutch Gouda cheese in flavour and texture but, whereas Gouda is made from whole milk, Edam is made from semi-skimmed milk.
88. Emmenthal. Originally from Switzerland, Emmenthal is now also produced in Germany and Denmark, but there is little difference in the flavour. The best kind of Emmenthal is made from the highest quality milk which produces a cheese which is dull yellow, with naturally occurring holes the size of cherries. It has a distinct nutty taste and is suitable as a dessert or cooking cheese.
89. Feta. A Greek semi-soft cured cheese made from ewes’ milk. It is white and very salty and is perfect served with fresh salads.
90. Fontina. This is produced in the mountains of Northern Italy near the Swiss border. It is a soft, fat cheese, slightly straw coloured with a few small holes. The orange coloured rind is often slightly thicker than on other cheeses. Imitations of this cheese are known as Fontal or Fontinella.
91. Fromage De Monsieur. An oval, slightly salty, cream cheese, made in Normandy, France. It has a high fat content and should be eaten slightly under-ripe.
92. Gorgonzola. Probably the best known Italian cheese, named after the village of Gorgonzola near Milan. The cheese is made from cows’ milk and is straw coloured inside, mottled with green, naturally occurring veins (which can also be introduced with the aid of a culture, passed into the cheese with the aid of copper wires). It has a coarse, brown rind and a sharp, slightly spicy flavour.
93. Gouda. A creamy tasting, soft Dutch cheese with a high fat content. Produced in squat moulds, it is golden yellow in colour. Quite a mild cheese, it is not recommended for cooking.
94. Gruyere. True Gruyere is only made in the French speaking area of Switzerland but essentially the same cheese is made over the border in France. A firm, pale cheese with small holes and a crinkled, slightly greasy golden brown rind. Excellent as a dessert cheese and for cooking, especially for fondues.
95. Halumi. Another of the Greek cheeses, Halumi is similar to feta and is also made from ewes’ milk. It is mature after just one month and is best eaten very fresh. Can be sliced and eaten fresh or sliced and grilled, then served with grilled, smoked bacon rashers.
96. Livarot. A soft yellow cheese from France. Made from skimmed milk, it has a reddish brown rind and a strong, pungent flavour; similar to Camembert but stronger.
97. Limberger. A soft cheese from France made from whole cows’ milk, Limberger has a very strong smell and a spicy taste. The rind is brown and shiny and the cheese is bright yellow, close textured and with a few holes.
98. Molbo. A mild flavoured, Dutch cheese which has a slightly acid after taste. Close textured with a sprinkling of holes, the cheese is pale yellow with a red rind.
99. Mozzarella. Moulded into a flask, egg or ball shape and tied with raffia, this soft, compact cheese from the Neapolitan area of Italy has a thick rind and a slightly sour taste. It is used mainly as an ingredient of pizzas because of its spongy texture. Stored in its own buttermilk, it must be used fresh and while still wet or it will dry out and become too tough to use. Also available smoked.
100. Munster. A semi soft creamy textured cheese with a pungent taste, strong flavour and a reddish rind. Munster comes from the Alsace region of France and is sometimes flavoured with cumin or aniseed.
101. Parmesan. Parmesan is another of the better known Italian cheeses and is made from skimmed milk. After a period of drying, the cheeses are given a coating of fume negro, literally, black smoke, which gives the cheese its distinctive outer black coating. It is off white inside with a grainy texture and a strong and fragrant taste. In grated form, Parmesan is a staple of the Italian kitchen being added to soups, polenta (a type of porridge), vegetable dishes and most pasta dishes.
102. Petit Suisse. A very creamy cheese from France made from whole milk and extra cream. It has a faintly sour flavour and is often eaten with sugar. Sold in little, individually wrapped rolls.
103. Pont L’Eveque. A square, semi soft, pale yellow cheese from France. It has a pale crust and a rich, Camembert like flavour.
104. Port-Salut. A semi-hard yellow cheese from France. It has a reddish rind and a bland taste which becomes stronger as the cheese ages.
105. Ricotta. A soft, bland, Italian cheese with a distinctly ridged rind. Made from sheeps’ milk and with a low fat content, it is particularly useful in dishes such as lasagne.
106. Roquefort. A crumbly, blue cheese from France with a salty but piquant flavour. Roquefort is made from ewes’ milk curds which are sprinkled with breadcrumbs that have been specially treated with a particular mould culture that produces the characteristic green veins found in the cheese. The cheese is ripened and matured in limestone caves.
107. Samsoe. A mild flavoured Dutch cheese with a sweet, nutty flavour, yellow colour and firm texture with shiny round holes.
108. Saint Paulin. A semi hard cheese from France with a yellow colour and bland taste, similar to Port-Salut.
109. Tilsit. Originally made by Dutch letters in East Prussia, this Germany cheese is also produced in Switzerland and Scandinavia. Tilsit is a savoury, straw coloured slicing cheese, easily recognized by its loaf shape and small, irregular holes. It has a sharp, slightly sour taste.
110. Tome Au Raisin. A white, slightly chewy, semi hard and strong flavoured cheese from France. It is coated with a mixture of dried black grape skins and pips.
111. Trappistenkase. Pale yellow inside and with a rich yellow rind. Trappistenkase is a mild flavoured, semi soft German cheese made in loaves or bars. It has a firm consistency with round or slitted holes.
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