French Cheese Organization

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Fresh cheeses – Like fromage frais, cheese curds that can be either chunky or smooth.  Cheeses that are just a few days old.

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Soft, bloomy rind cheeses – Like Camembert, Brie, Coulommiers, and Neufchâtel. These cheeses are somewhat elastic, ranging from firm when they are unripened, to tender when they are fully ripened. These cheeses take on an aroma of ammonia when they are overripe.

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Soft, washed-rind cheese – Like Livarot, Maroilles, Pont l’Évêque, and Époisses, these cheeses are washed with anything from naturally colored brine to beer, wine, or even tea. The longer these cheeses are aged, the more intense their aroma.

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Pressed cheeses – Uncooked and cooked, St. Nectaire, Cantal, Salers, Laguiole, and Morbier are among the uncooked pressed cheeses.

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Blue or “parsleyed” cheeses – These cheeses can be made with cow, sheep, or goat milk. Penicillium is injected into them.

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Cooked, pressed cheeses – These are mountain cheeses that can age for up to many years. The milk is heated, then curdled and pressed into a mold. Once out of the mold they are salted, sometimes by being floated in a salt brine, then carefully aged. Comté, Beaufort, Gruyère, Abondance, and Emmenthal are all members of this family of cheese.

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Goat cheese – These are small cheeses, because goats give up to just two liters of milk per day. They range from very soft and wet to elastic and creamy to extremely hard. They offer a wide panoply of flavors, and those that have aged to a firm hardness can be used in place of Parmigiano Reggiano.

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Fromage fondu – These aren’t really cheeses, but a cheese product made from melted cheese and other ingredients, including whey, powdered milk, and other substances. These are low-priced dairy products, and often used industrially. They count, however, as a family of cheese.

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