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Cheese, please

Soft, Unripened Cheeses:

Ricotta
A soft, creamy fresh Italian-style cheese. Very mild in taste, with a relatively low fat and high water content. Perfect for pasta and pastry fillings, often combined with egg and Parmesan.

Cottage Cheese
Very mild, almost tasteless. High moisture and low fat content. Full-cream varieties are smoother and creamier than low-fat varieties, which tend to seperate into curds and whey.

Cream Cheeses
These have a lower water and higher fat content than Ricotta. Philadelphia and Neufchatel are processed and will last several weeks in the fridge, but Mascarpone is a fresh cheese and needs to be used within a few days of purchase. Cream cheeses are often used in desserts and canapes (finger food) for their rich creamy smooth texture.

Creme Fraiche
I don't know if Creme Fraiche is even technically a cheese, as it's somewhere between a Cream Cheese and a Set (European-style) Yoghurt. It's far lower in fat than Mascarpone, and is widely used instead of heavy cream or cream cheese in modern European cooking (especially in creamy French sauces). It's great served with desserts and for making dips.

Farmhouse or Curd Cheese
This is the most basic and traditional cheese. It's very bland and is best mixed with fresh herbs or other flavourings. You can make it at home by pressing yoghurt overnight in the sink in a muslin-lined flowerpot with a weight on the top. As it's a fresh cheese with no preservatives (I don't even use salt), you have to use it within a day or two. It makes an excellent base for fresh dips and spreads, or stirred through sauces to add creaminess.

 

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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