Cheese Basics



A recent explosion of artisanal and farmstead cheeses in the United States has broadened the palate for this age-old food. Use this guide to learn how to identify the different styles of cheese and serve cheese with confidence. Find out where to buy cheese, how to select cheese and how to store cheese to maximize its flavor. You’ll even learn how to make your own cheese, and be exposed to a lively community of cheese lovers online.

Cheese Basics

Did you know that the earliest form of cheese was created by accident? Look to this section for a history of the humble cheese and learn how it’s made. Find an introduction to the different types of cheese and learn how to identify them. You’ll be speaking the language of cheese in no time.

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  • As you begin your research on cheese, you’ll encounter some terms that may be unfamiliar. Look to Murray’s Cheese for a complete glossary of cheese terms.
  • The very best way to learn about cheese is by being adventurous and sampling new cheeses. Use these sites to get an introduction to the wide variety of cheese that’s available, or check out “Cheese: A Connoisseur’s Guide to the World’s Best” by Max McCalman and David Gibbons. Then head to the store—a multitude of cheese awaits you!

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Serving and Cooking With Cheese

Like other gourmet food obsessions, cheese has its own “best practices” for storing and serving it in a way that maintains its quality and integrity. Use this section to learn how to properly handle cheese, and get some great ideas on how to create a dazzling cheese plate. And if you’re just looking for a good mac and cheese recipe, you’ll find that (and lots of other recipes) here, too.

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  • Maybe you’d rather bypass the cooking and just kick back with a nice assortment of cheese and some wine. You’ll find some suggestions on pairing wine and cheese here, but don’t miss findingDulcinea’s Wine Web Guide for a little wine education—and even more ideas on how to complement cheese with wine.

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Buying Cheese & Cheese Accessories Online

Grocery stores, specialty cheese shops and farmer’s markets generally offer a bounty of specialty cheeses. But if your taste for cheese still hasn’t been satiated, turn to the Internet. This section recommends some excellent online retailers, and can even help you locate the cheesemakers themselves.

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  • Why not support your local cheese shop and avoid shipping costs at the same time? Online Yellow Pages and map sites like Google Maps or MapQuest can help you find a cheese shop or farmer’s market in your area.
  • Alternatively, the retail sites listed in this section identify the name of the dairy or creamery that crafted the cheese and in some cases, even link to the cheesemakers’ Web sites. Purchasing directly from the cheesemaker can often save you money—and help you support small local businesses.

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Making Cheese

Ready to jump on the artisanal, handcrafted cheese bandwagon and try making cheese at home? Use this section to find cheesemaking instructions, recipes, ingredients and equipment. You’ll also find resources for accredited classes and weekend workshops in cheesemaking.

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  • New to cheesemaking? Try “Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Delicious Cheeses” (now updated to include 85 recipes) by Ricki Carroll. Carroll is the mastermind behind the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company, one of our picks below, and has been making cheese for more than 25 years.
  • Although there are lots of sites that only sell cheesemaking ingredients and tools, eBay is also a great resource for cheesemaking essentials.

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Cheese News and Cheese Reviews

Reading about cheese is almost as fun as eating it, and the Web provides ample opportunities to do just that. The Internet is packed with resources on the cheese industry, the latest happenings in the cheese world, and cheese reviews—all sources that aim to keep you up-to-date on everything cheesy. Read on for a few of our favorites.

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  • Blogs are an excellent source for reviews of cheese, written mostly by cheese lovers like you. Before you take a chance on that new stinky cheese you heard about, take a look at these blogs to see if you can find some unbiased descriptions.
  • Try searching on a news aggregator site like Topix to find cheese news headlines from around the Web.

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