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How to Classify Cheese

How to Classify Cheese

Some examples of hard cheeses, clockwise from top left: Emmentaler, aged provolalone, Gruyere, manchego, aged Gouda, aged Cheddar, aged pecarino antico mugella, ricotta salata.

Culinary Institute of America

With so many cheeses available today, there are several categories by which they can be referenced. Milk type, country of origin, region, handling, aging, and texture are some of the various classification strategies that have been used. Although most experts agree that none of these classifications are completely adequate, so far no one has been able to come up with one that really covers all the variables. Even when two experts agree on which method to use, they do not necessarily agree on which cheeses fall into which categories.

For the sake of discussion, this article presents several broad groups of cheese that have been loosely categorized according to texture.

Cheese Classifications:
1. Soft Fresh Cheese
2. Soft Ripened Cheese
3. Semi-Soft Cheese
4. Blue-Veined Cheeses
5. Hard Cheeses
6. Very Hard Cheeses
7. Pasta Filata Cheeses

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