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The Cheese Shop

Updated on July 15, 2014

Welcome to the Cheese Shop!

Sliced, cubed, shredded, melted, grated, or spread, we entreat you to sit down and sample a bit from our selection of cheese history and information on how to choose, store, serve or even make your own cheese.

Cheese can be made from just about any kind of milk you can think of (cow, goat, sheep, etc) and is fermented and/or aged to concentrate it into a soft, semi-soft or hard food. Cheese can be mild in flavor and aroma or very sharp and strong. Some cheeses are even famous for smelling rather bad. They can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.

Bon Appétit! 

Some Cheesy Sentiments - how do I love cheese?... let me count the ways!

grilled cheese sandwich, photo by Relache
grilled cheese sandwich, photo by Relache

I like mozzarella best in a caprése salad, where it's soft and the tomatoes are crisp. Parmesan cheese stands much more on its own in a caesar salad as opposed to on top of a red pasta sauce. Monterey jack goes on my turkey sandwiches. Really sharp cheddar gets grated and sprinkled lightly over steamed veggies. Soft brie is smeared on French bread.

Cream cheese goes on bagels NY-style. Ricotta cheese goes in my blintzes. Cottage cheese is good with a fresh pear for breakfast. Stilton with ginger and mango is good for dessert. Blue cheese can lend an exotic air to good old-fashioned twice-baked potatoes. Camembert is good with tart apples like Fujis or Granny Smiths.

Camping in the California mountains, I was introduced to Tete de moine. This firm wheel of cheese is shaved with a special device that scrapes it, the shavings rolling to form little rosettes which you then pop whole into your mouth. A former housemate introduced me to triple-cream Explorateur. She would serve it for her holiday party, stuffing fresh figs with generous dollops of it.

I used to cook dinner with a co-worker and we'd always get a special cheese for an appetizer. It was aged in limestone caves in Europe, and smelled, as my friend swore, like "perfect stinky boys feet." I don't know about the stinky feet part but it was a pungent and delicious cheese, perfect with a bottle of red wine.

I even have gotten to the point where I make some of my own cheese from time to time, with raw milk no less!

Cheese Education

Often the best way to get an idea of just what you are dealing with in cheese is to get a guide, and then start reading and tasting. Learn what you like, and let your tastes lead you to where your cheese knowledge.

'Age is not important unless you're a cheese.' - Helen Hayes

On Storing and Eating Cheese - just my opinion

assorted cheeses, photo by Relache
assorted cheeses, photo by Relache

On the one occasion where I had the opportunity to visit France, I am proud to admit I ate myself from one end of the country to the other. French food is amazing. And their cheese is stunning. I also learned how to change how I buy, store and eat my cheese.

Americans buy huge chunks of really bland cheese, and then it slowly turns into something scary as it ages in the referigerator.

The French buy really tiny cheeses, all sorts, and they keep a few kinds on hand at all times, and each one winds up getting eaten in just 2-3 days, and then new tiny cheeses get bought.

The friends I was staying with just kept their cheese wrapped in the paper from the market, all grouped in one bag in the refrigerator. That's an actual picture of the inside with the cheeses. It was "The Cheese Bag," as in "Hey, I think I want a bit more for breakfast, can you pass the cheese bag?" Or even "Are we done with dinner? Great, break out the cheese bag." We ate cheese when we wanted just a touch more, as a snack in the afternoon, and as a great finish after dinner. Then we'd sip wine and see which tasted best paired up.

Keeping and Storing Cheeses

As any cheese-lover quickly learns, your eyes and cheese curiosity can easily run ahead of your appetite. Here are some suggestions for the keeping and storage of cheeses.

Cheese Samplers - assortments let you try a variety of great cheeses

Each of these cheese samplers has been selected to provide a variety of tastes so that you can better get an idea of how the various cheeses are both similar and different. Each sampler offers multiple portions of cheese, all suitable for a cheese tasting party or varied cooking and eating uses. Enjoy!

Monty Python's "Cheese Shop"

Michael Palin and John Cleese took cheese to new comedic heights as the shopkeeper and his hungry patron in Monty Python's "Cheese Shop" skit. This appeared in the 33rd episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, entitled "Salad Days." This is an edited version of the skit. Before this on the tv show you see the John Cleese character walking down the street via a series of still photographs. He enters the cheese shop and tells the shopkeeper how he's hungry and is looking for some cheese for a snack. They also comment on the Hungarian bazouki player and dancers in the background.

Monty Python's Cheese Shop Skit - "Fetch hither the fromage de la Belle France! Mmmwah!" - the complete script for the skit

We can also offer you a World of Warcraft version of the complete sketch as well.

Types of Cheese

There are hundreds of types of cheese in the world. They vary by ingredients, they are made by different formulas, they are fermented and aged differently. But they are all some form of animal milk, fermented into a soft to hard textured solid.

Here is a list of some of the more commonly found types of cheese that you may encounter if you start to explore the world of cheese. The cheeses vary in texture, color and flavor intensity depending on the ingredients and how long the aging process was that produced them.

  • AMERICAN

    ASIAGO

  • BLUE CHEESE - this cheese is named for the mold cultures that form in veins throughout it.

    BOURSIN

    BRICK

    BRIE

  • CAMEMBERT

    CHEDDAR - a semi-hard cheese most often orange in color, the most popular cheese in the world.

    COLBY

    COTTAGE CHEESE - a very wet, very white cheese with a strong curd structure.

    CREAM CHEESE - this super soft cheese is used in baking and often eaten spread on bread and specifically bagels.

  • DUBLINER
  • EDAM

    EMMENTAL

  • FARMER CHEESE

    FETA - this is a crumbly, white cheese with a strong salty taste.

  • GEITOST - this light brown cheese often looks like a big chunk of caramel.

    GOAT CHEESE - cheeses made with goat's milk, with a very soft, crumbly texture and white color

    GORGONZOLA

    GOUDA

  • HAVARTI
  • JARLSBERG - a mild, Swiss-style cheese from Norway with irregular holes in a semifirm interior.
  • LEICESTER

    LIMBURGER - an extremely pungent cheese, often joked about as the stinkiest cheese

  • MANCHEGO

    MARSCAPONE

    MONTEREY JACK

    MOZZARELLA - this is the main cheese used on pizzas, known for it's stretchy texture once melted.

    MUENSTER

  • PANEER

    PECORINO

    PARMESAN - this is the hard cheese that is grated and sprinkled over many pasta dishes.

    PROVOLONE

  • RED WINDSOR

    RICOTTA - a moist, lightly-flavored, white cheese used in pasta dishes or flavored to be a dessert filling

    ROQUEFORT

  • SAGE DERBY

    STILTON

    SWISS - this is the semi-hard cheese with all the well-defined holes in it.

  • TILSIT
  • WENSLEYDALE

    WHITE STILTON

Plating Your Cheeses - tasty tips for serving cheese

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Here is a trio of cheese, paired with some simple crackers and a fancy drizzle of balsamic reduction.Nuts, sometimes spiced or glazed, are popular sides to go with a cheese assortment.Just a simple smear of quince paste (or another tangy fruit) can set off the flavors of the cheese deliciously.The charcuterie plate can even be a meal, with crackers, veggies/pickles and exotic meats accompanying the cheeses.
Here is a trio of cheese, paired with some simple crackers and a fancy drizzle of balsamic reduction.
Here is a trio of cheese, paired with some simple crackers and a fancy drizzle of balsamic reduction.
Nuts, sometimes spiced or glazed, are popular sides to go with a cheese assortment.
Nuts, sometimes spiced or glazed, are popular sides to go with a cheese assortment.
Just a simple smear of quince paste (or another tangy fruit) can set off the flavors of the cheese deliciously.
Just a simple smear of quince paste (or another tangy fruit) can set off the flavors of the cheese deliciously.
The charcuterie plate can even be a meal, with crackers, veggies/pickles and exotic meats accompanying the cheeses.
The charcuterie plate can even be a meal, with crackers, veggies/pickles and exotic meats accompanying the cheeses.

Cheese Offerings - Fabulous cheese assortments

Give the gift if cheese, or be ready at the drop of a hat for holiday guests!

Cheese Festivals

Come out and celebrate cheese to the fullest!

Making Your Own Cheese - how-tos for homemade cheese

For those of you motivated in the DIY category, here are some books and kits that can guide you in the making of your own cheese.

Cheese Alternatives

For those who have trouble digesting dairy products, vegetarians and vegans, there is a growing number of dairy-free and animal-free cheese substitutes and imitations.

It's The Science... Of Cheese

Here are some websites that discuss the science of cheese and cheese-making.

Say "Cheese!" - comments & feedback

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    • beeobrien lm profile image

      beeobrien lm 8 years ago

      I've added this lens to my Cheesy lenses module at Velveeta...Unwrapped.

    • Eklectik1 profile image

      Eklectik1 7 years ago

      Love, Love, Love cheese!! Thank you for all the great information. I rolled this with our hot sauce lens

    • roamingrosie profile image

      roamingrosie 7 years ago

      Excellent lens! Tons of great tips and links. I love cheese, but I confess I usually stick to two of three varieties - but this makes me want to mix some more into my menus! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Cheese, cheese and more cheese...I'm in cheese heaven. Great info and links. Thank you

    • profile image

      gravityx9 6 years ago

      so much great information!

      Your yummy lens has been added to a featured section of my

      PLAYING WITH FOOD Lens! THUMBS UP!

    • profile image

      winelove 6 years ago

      I've never been to a cheese festival. It must be wonderful!

    • momscorner profile image

      momscorner 6 years ago

      I love cheese. This lens makes me drool. Love it!! Thanks for sharing.

    • VladimirCat profile image

      Vladimir 5 years ago from Australia

      I'm rather partial to cheese myself. I like a good semi-soft, off-white mozzarella shredded delicately over my kibble.

    • earthybirthymum profile image

      earthybirthymum 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Monty Python Cheese Shop Sketch, now that brings back memories! I'd love to make cheese.

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