Fonterra Food Services
resources : Professional Advice
Cheese Tasting Notes
Feta
Of Greek origin, Feta is a white cheese matured in brine. Semi-soft and crumbly in texture. It has a robust, salty flavour.
Use for salads, pastas, antipastos, savoury stuffing, Greek and Middle Eastern dishes. Do not subject to direct heat.
Mozzarella
The original Italian cheese. Mozzarella's resilient nature and bland, mild fresh curd flavour make it an ideal base for other flavours in cooking. Body is moderately firm. Texture is close with no openness.
The classic pizza cheese. Also slice for toppings, cube in salads.
Ricotta
A traditional Italian whey cheese with a mild sweet and slight egg flavour. Has soft, crumbly texture.
In a variety of sweet and savoury dishes.
Bocconcini
Of Italian origin, this cheese has a bland, milky and fresh curd flavour. Uncooked, it's soft and stringy when pulled apart with a texture that resembles cooked chicken breast. Packed in whey to keep it moist. Generally comes in mouth-size roundish shape. Suitable for vegetarians.
Excellent for melting - for pizza, baked pasta. Complements salty foods, e.g. smoked chicken, bacon, anchovies, olives, pesto, sundried tomatoes. Absorbs flavours well, good for marinating.
Halloumi
Originated in Greece and Cyprus. Semi-soft to firm texture, white in colour and often with mint folded through the curd. Slightly salty and acidic.
For frying and grilling.
Cream Cheese
Natural white to off-white colour. Smooth, even and close textured, slightly firmer than Neufchatel. Has a clean, mild acid or slightly sour taste. Creamy, buttery flavour. Some may be flavoured or coated in herbs and spices.
On its own, in spreads, for baked desserts, as filling or pizza topping.
Creme Fraiche
Very smooth, very creamy. Fresh tangy flavour. Extremely versatile - excellent non-separating properties under heat and with acid.
Use when sophisticated element is required in a dish, sweet or savoury.
Mascarpone
Italian-style, rich, thick, creamy cultured cheese. Heavy, spoonable texture - holds its shape well even when other ingredients are folded into it.
Use in savoury and sweet dishes where rich, creamy taste is sought. It's the ultimate dessert base.
White Mould (Camembert, Brie, Aorangi, Kirima, Kotuku)
White mould cheeses have an edible white surface mould. Rich, mellow, moderately sweet and aromatic. Brie and Camembert are famous for their slightly mushroomy aroma. The creamy, thick custardy body should be a pale yellow colour. Wheel or log shaped.
On its own, in salads, pastas, sandwiches, savoury stuffing, soufflˇs, baked dishes.
Havarti
One of Denmark's celebrated cheeses. Havarti is a semi soft cheese with few small "eyes." Two versions produced - standard and creamy. Flavour is mild and slightly sweet with a tangy undertone. Body is elastic and pasty. May have washed rind or be coated in wax.
Ideal on its own. Use also for sandwiches, savoury stuffing, pastas, pizzas.
Edam / Gouda
Both named after towns in the Netherlands, these semi-soft cheeses have a close texture but exhibit a few small "eyes." Traditionally, Edam is covered in red wax and Gouda in yellow wax. Both are eaten young at 3-6 months. Flavour is slightly sweet, mild, clean and slightly buttery. Cream to light yellow inside with smooth, close rind. Edam has slightly firmer body than Gouda. Flavoured varieties available, e.g. cumin-seed.
On its own, for grilling, in sandwiches, all-purpose cheese for cooking.
Gruyere / Swiss / Emmental / Jarlsberg
Famous Swiss cheeses with distinctive holes ("eyes"). Characteristic sweet, nutty flavour. Smooth pasty body.
Traditional fondue cheese. Good for quiches, sauces, cheeseboards, snacks.
Soft Washed Rind (Ramara, Brick)
These cheeses exhibit openness. Body is soft, creamy but solid (could have custard-like constancy). Distinctive aroma. Slightly sweet, mild, buttery flavour. Typical "linens" flavour with slight sulphur note can be expected.
Pizza topping, baked or grilled dishes, sandwiches, savoury stuffing.
Port Nicholson
Washed rind cheese with soft, smooth creamy texture and distinctive aromatic, earthy, yeasty flavour. Sealed in yellow wax.
Best served as part of savoury cheeseboard or in hot dishes where unique flavour and aroma can be appreciated.
Raclette
Brine salted cheese with open texture and a semi-soft, elastic body. Has mild clean flavour and full aroma. Slightly sour when young.
Best known as a melting cheese; also an after-dinner or snack cheese.
Parmesan / Pamaro
One of the world's most popular and widely enjoyed cheeses. Matured at least a year or two before sale. Firm and dry, very close texture with minute holes barely visible to the eye. Fragrant, delicate, savoury, sweet and slightly fruity (pineapple).
Best used in cooking or grated in toppings, pastas and salads. Great cheese flavour booster.
Cheddar (Aged Cheddar, Port Wine Cheddar, Smoked Cheddar, Riverdale)
Firm, waxy yellow cheese - gets crumbly with age. From mildly sour, nutty background to rich, sharp, tangy with slightly sweet background depending on maturity. Colour is rich cream to yellow with possible evidence of small white calcium lactate crystals. May be steeped in port or smoked for variety.
Enormous range of uses - cooking, snacks, cheeseboards, salads, sandwiches.
Blue Cheeses (Blue Brie, Creamy Blue, Blue Supreme)
Blue cheeses have internal veins of blue or green mould. The flavour ranges from mild (e.g. Blue Brie) to a creamy moderately blue flavour (e.g. Creamy Blue, Kikorangi) to strong, slightly salty (e.g. Awa Blue, Blue Supreme). Body is soft and may be slightly crumbly as the cheese ages. Rind is often free from mould, but mould or other surface flora is acceptable.
On its own, in quiches, sauces, dips, soups, crumbled into salads, pizza topping, with grilled steaks.

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