We delved into the ins and outs of cheese last year when we attended a cheese workshop hosted by the European Dairy Association, CNIEL. When they held a second edition of the workshop, we couldn't pass up the opportunity and hopped right over to learn about some of the newer developments of this legendary milk product.
Read more: Just How Much Do You Know about Cheese?
1. Its variety is constantly growing
There are currently around 1,200 varieties of cheese, with evolving products and new recipes surfacing every day. But in a very general sense cheese can still be divided into eight categories: fresh cheese; soft cheese with white rind; soft cheese with washed rind; blue cheese; semi-hard cheese; hard cheese; goat's cheese and processed cheese. There's a type for every palate.
2. It can be paired with practically anything
One particular Irish Cheddar was found to contain 260 aromatic components. Gone are the days when cheese was paired only with wine. Recent years have seen cheese pairings diversify drastically, with many exploring cheese pairings with tea, beer, pastry and chocolate. Cheese Master François Bourgon noted that a creamy and nutty Brie de Meaux pairs wonderfully with a fruity Porto Blanc Sec while a salty and acidic Beaufort matches perfectly with a cold, fruity sake. Finally, the sweetness and tanginess of blue cheeses nicely complements the bitterness of dark chocolate.
3. The notion of pairing cheese with the nectar of the gods – whisky – is gaining traction
Hay and lactobacillus notes of Single Malt Clearach are described as best matching with all kinds of cheese owing to the whisky's velvety taste and texture. The fruit and vanilla notes of Michel Couvreur Special Vatting pairs pleasantly with rich and complex Comté cheese (from Jura, France) and full-flavoured aged Gouda with a hint of burnt caramel (from the Netherlands). Earthy, peaty Candid Malt Whisky complements Morbier with a fragrant hay aroma (from Franche-Comté, France) and Gorgonzola (from Italy). Finally, the powerful oxidised and roasted fruits notes of Single Malt 2005 Pale Single make a good pairing with the sharp and strong Brie Noir (from Île de France, France) and Pavé Toulousain (from Aveyron, France).