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Cheese, please.

Hard Cheeses:

Cheddar
This is probably the most widely available variety of cheese, and rightly so. The longer it's matured, the more "bite" it has. A good vintage cheddar will almost take a layer off your tongue. Mmmmmm, I love a cheese that bites back. The fat content (and price) will usually also increase with age - although as it's stronger, you can use less for the same amount of flavour in a dish. Cheddar melts well, although an aged one will ooze a lot of oil when melted.

Cheshire
A sharp, salty white cheese, ranging from firm to crumbly. Sort of an English version of Feta. It doesn't melt very well, but it's great in salads.

Red Leicester
A very pretty orange-coloured cheese, in a fairly classic English-style. Good melting cheese, although it can bleed oil in the same way as Cheddar, depending on the maturity.

Wensleydale
Another fairly typical English-style cheese, worth buying simply because it's Wallace & Gromit's favourite.

Parmesan, Romano, Pecorino
Hard Italian-style cheeses. Supposedly they don't need refrigeration due to their low moisture content, although I still keep mine in an airtight container in the fridge. Don't buy the horrid dried processed stuff in a shaker, it's nothing like the real thing. These cheeses are very strongly flavoured, and often used in conjunction with other cheeses. Shaved finely, they make a very tasty addition to salads and sandwiches. They do smell a bit like sick, but hopefully you can get past that and try tasting them, as they're delicious.

Feta
Salty and firm, but with a high moisture content. Feta will go off very quickly once exposed to air, so store it in the fridge covered in oil or fresh water (change the water daily to keep it fresh). It doesn't melt well, but it's often mixed with Ricotta as a filling for pasta dishes and pastries. It's also an essential ingredient in a Greek Salad.

LINKS

The Vegetarian Society of UK's Cheese Info Sheet:

vegsoc.org/info/cheese.html

Tillamook Cheese, USA:

tillamookcheese.com/products/cheese.html

National Vegetarian Cheese List (US)

cheese.joyousliving.com

Amazon's new Gourmet Foods section:

Amazon.com Cheeses

 

 

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