Sure To Please - Cheese
- Apple-nut Salad with St-Paulin
- Cheddar-Parmesan Potatoes
- Brie-Topped Pork Medallions
- Fruit Brochette with Creamy Orange Dip
Whether it's part of breakfast or cocktails, a bite on the run or a snack with friends, a salad or a creamy fondue, cheese always steals the show. It's the perfect complement to a good meal. We all have our favourites, but we shouldn't limit ourselves. There's a whole world of cheeses to explore. Let your taste buds be your guides… and savour the flavours!
This is the stage when cheese receives special handling: turning, scrubbing, washing, salting. Using ferments and yeasts, cheese is aged to taste-tempting perfection.
Various ripening agents (i.e. natural or microbial enzymes) transform cheese’s main components (i.e. water, fat, sugar, protein and minerals). During this ageing process, the different cheeses each develop their characteristic taste, texture and aroma.
Cheese is put in a press (several hours or days) to eliminate more whey from the curds.
Slightly tangy, fruity or pungent, creamy or dry, the wide variety of cheeses is a door opening on a world of palate-pleasing discoveries.
- Fresh Cheeses Unripened and unfermented, these glossy, white cheeses have a nice, slightly acidulous flavour. Their high moisture content gives them a soft, creamy, smooth texture. Cottage, Ricotta and Cream Cheese belong to this category of cheeses, popular for their versatility and great spread on toast or crackers, mixed into dips or toppings for canapés, or turned into delicious desserts and pastries. Fresh cheeses can be sweetened, flavoured with lemon or orange zest or juice or topped with fresh or dried fruit, used to make decadent cheesecake, light cheese Danish or crêpes with cheese and fruit filling. Their dessert potential is limitless.
- Soft Cheeses These surface-ripened cheeses have a downy, bloomy rind and a light yellow interior that is smooth, velvety, even flowing but not runny. They have a subtle aroma of mushrooms. Brie and Camembert are the best-known bloomy rind cheeses. Delicious on good crusty bread, they are equally good in a sandwich, as a snack, as part of a wine and cheese or the perfect ending to an elegant meal.
- Semi-soft Cheeses This is large category divided according to ripening process: unripened (stretched curd known as "pasta filata"), surface-ripened or interior-ripened. Stretched curd cheeses like Mozzarella and Bocconcini are very mild in flavour with a supple, somewhat elastic texture. Besides being the reigning pizza cheese, Mozzarella is great in salads as well as in "au gratin" and pasta dishes.
- Surface-ripened cheeses have a slightly sticky rind, an ivory to yellow body and a stronger, nuttier taste. Oka, a great classic Canadian cheese, is a surface-ripened, semi-soft cheese. A "must" for any cheese platter, Oka is equally at home in the kitchen where it can enhance soups, salads, fondues and even red meat. Interior-ripened cheeses like St-Paulin and Havarti have a supple, smooth texture, a subtle, nutty aroma and a mild, tangy taste. Enjoyable at the end of meal or with fruit, they are also good in sandwiches and salads.
- Firm Cheeses This category of pressed, interior-ripened cheeses offers a wide variety of flavours. Firm cheeses are in fact resilient and give under the teeth. Their flavour ranges from mildly nutty to sharp and pronounced depending on their age and ripening process. The popular Cheddar, Gouda, Gruyère, Emmenthal and Raclette are equally good plain as a snack or baked in quiches, bread or muffins. They melt nicely for beautiful sauces and go well with other ingredients.
- Hard Cheeses These cheeses have a very low moisture content and usually a grainy texture. Cooked and pressed, these interior-ripened cheeses undergo a long ripening process during which their pronounced aroma and rich nutty flavour develop. With their robust, piquant taste, Parmesan and Romano add flavour to vegetables, omelettes and quiches. Mixed with Cheddar or Mozzarella, they make sophisticated au gratin toppings. Parmesan is also excellent at the end of the meal, its fine, grainy texture melts in the mouth.
- Blue-veined Cheeses Generally known as blue cheese, these soft cheeses have a blue-marbled body and a creamy, crumbly texture.Depending on how long they were aged, their flavour will vary from piquant to strong. Roquefort, Gorgonzola and Stilton make excellent additions to a cheese plate, add zip to sauces and give steaks a crowning touch.
- Goat Cheeses Goat cheeses can be made wholly with goat's milk or with a mixture of goat's and cow's milk. The various types of goat cheeses are classified like cow's milk cheeses according to ripening process, firmness, texture and flavour. They are generally whiter than cow's milk cheeses and have a tangier, saltier taste. Discerning diners appreciate them at room temperature with fresh fruit or as a topping on hors d'oeuvres. From the elegant baked goat's cheese salad to a goat's cheese-fresh basil-tomato pizza, goat's cheese adds a sophisticated depth of flavour.
- Cheese, basically concentrated milk, is packed with the same nutrients. It is an excellent source of high-quality protein and rich in vitamin A.
- Cheese is a major source of calcium and riboflavin. As a rule the firmer the cheese, the higher its calcium content.
- The energy (calories) provided by cheese varies depending on its fat content. Increasing numbers of people are watching what they eat and turning to low-fat products. Light cheeses are not as richly flavoured or aromatic since fat and its components are what give each cheese its distinctive characteristics, smoothness and specific taste. Still, light cheeses are an interesting option for people who have to watch their fat intake. So good ahead and try some!