Only 30 years ago most North Americans ate cheese in a sandwich, or occasionally in a salad, never during a multi-course meal before dessert to finish the remaining wine in the glass and piece of bread.
Now there are millions of North Americans who know enough about cheese ask cheesemongers a bout winter Parmigiano-Reggiano as opposed to the summer version, or how long its aged (1, 2, 3 5 years, legal minimum being 2 years).
A few years ago when Ottawa tried to make Parmigiano illegal because it is not made using pasteurized milk, the vehement opposition of consumers was so overwhelming that it backed down. How can a cheese be unhealthy if for centuries millions have eaten it and thrived?
May be it was a disguised attempt of cheese makers in some provinces to eliminate competition! Regardless, cheese is now becoming more and more popular, but not any cheese. Young, educated, well-to-do consumers want cheese that tastes good, offers gustatory pleasure and enriches food experiences.
Cheese can be produced from any milk, but cow, goat, and ewe milk are the most popular throughout the world.
There is no standard classification of literally thousands of cheeses produced all over the world.
Some experts classify cheese by moisture content, and others by texture (soft, semi-soft, semi-hard, and hard) or by method of production (fresh, whey, and stretched curd, or by content of fat or type of milk) double cream, goat, ewe, water buffalo, or by ripening method (soft ripened, washed rind, blue veined) or manufacturing method, either processed (contains stretchers, additives, flavourings, and preservatives) or made to cheese food that contains less cheese and a lot of stretchers.
Walter Gerber, in Thun, Switzerland in 1911, invented processing of cheese as a method of extending shelf life but it was Mr. Kraft who advanced its popularity by patenting his version in 1916.
To this day, most Americans consume processed cheese because of its convenience and prolonged shelf life.
Natural cheese from un-pasteurized milk tastes better if properly made.
The race of cow, or ewe, or goat and the grass they eat influences the taste of the cheese.
Tasting wine should not be confused with wine and cheese experiences.
When tasting wine, only bread or source or neutral-tasting mineral water is allowed in an attempt to keep the palate “clean”.
The fat in cheese coats taste buds and makes the wine taste much smoother and better that it actually is. The saying “Buy wine on apples, and sell, on cheese” applies whenever a store wants to sell inferior quality.
If you want to experiment with a wine and cheese matching, try the following:
Dry white wine with soft cheeses – Brie, Valencay, Camembert, any cream cheese from Quebec or Ontario, France, Italy or Germany.
Feta from Greece should be well washed since it contains a lot of salt.
Dry red swine with firm or hard cheeses – Cheddar (pending on age and strength of wine, Manchego, Romano, Pecorino, Gouda, Edam.
Sweet white wines with Roquefort, Valdeon, Bleu de Cappucin, Stiltom, Danablue
Sweet red wine Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano, Bleu d’Auvergne, Stilton, well aged Cheddar.
Always buy your cheese from cheesemongers or reliable retailers and in small quantities to last for a few days only and serve at room temperature.
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.