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Types of Cheese

Updated on June 2, 2010
Photo by Dominic Morel
Photo by Dominic Morel

The number of different cheeses produced around the world is almost beyond count. The following list includes the varieties that are best known or most copied, for nearly all famous cheeses are imitated outside their countries of origin.

A one-ounce serving of either cheddar or Swiss cheese supplies about 10 percent of the protein and more than 25 percent of the calcium recommended for the daily diet of a normally active man. The amount of protein is generally higher in cottage cheese than in other types of cheese.

Cheese, one of the main protein foods, containing usually 25 per cent. of first-class protein, chiefly in the form of casein. The quantity of fat, containing Vitamin A, is usually around 33 per cent, in a full-milk cheese. It is one of the best sources of calcium, valuable on account of its bone- and teeth-forming properties.

The curd precipitated by one or other of these means contains the casein content of the milk and also a certain amount of fat, while the thin watery liquid left contains milk sugar and a little nitrogenous matter.

Allgauer is the name used for several cheeses produced in the Allgau region of Germany. Most often it refers to a semifirm, large-holed cheese similar to Swiss Emmentaler.
A mild process cheese of the Cheddar type produced in the United States. It ranges in texture from semisoft to firm and is bright yellow in color. American cheese is often sliced before packaging.
A semifirm, bright- yellow cheese produced in Switzerland in plate-shaped 15-pound (6.8-kg) wheels, which are marinated in cider or white wine during ripening. It is somewhat softer than Emmentaler and has small irregular holes.
Asiago is an Italian cheese originally made from ewe's milk but now made mostly from cow's milk. When young, it is semifirm, but when cured a year or longer, it becomes a hard grating cheese similar to Parmesan.
Bel Paese
Bel Paese is a creamy Italian dessert cheese with a mild but distinctive flavor. An American version is produced in Wisconsin.
Bierkase is a pungent semisoft German cheese sometimes marinated in beer during the ripening period.
Bleu is the French name for any blue-veined cheese. Blue is a term applied to any blue-veined cheese.
Bondost is a firm yellow cheese of Swedish origin. An American version is now also made.
Brick is a semifirm natural cheese of American origin. It has a distinctive but not pungent flavor and is usually made in the form of a loaf.
Brie, one of the most renowned French cheeses, is often called the cheese of kings because so many monarchs have praised it. It is creamy-soft, almost runny in texture, with a soft white crust.
Caciocavallo is a firm -Italian cheese similar to Provolone. In making Caciocavallo, the curd is pulled into a rope, sometimes braided, and is rubbed with oil as it ripens until the outside is light brown and waxy. It is also made throughout the Balkans, where the name is variously spelled Kashkaval, Kachavelj, or Karschkavalj.
Caerphilly is a semisoft, creamy-white Welsh cheese that is mild in flavor. It is a ripened cheese but very perishable.
Camembert is a delicious dessert cheese of French origin but now imitated in many other countries. Its characteristic flavor is due to the mold spread over the surface of the ripening curd.
Cantal is a firm yellow French cheese produced in France since Roman times.
Chantelle is a semisoft ripened cheese, pale in color and coated with red wax. It is produced in Illinois.
Cheddar cheese was first made in the English village of Cheddar but is no longer made there. Today the term is applied to about 80% of all the cheese produced in the United States, both natural and process varieties. It ranges in color from almost white to deep orange and in flavor from mild to very sharp. Some varieties are supple enough to slice easily, while others are crumbly or flaky.
Cheshire is a firm English cheese available in "red" (actually orange), "blue" (blue-veined), and white varieties.
Colby is a mild type of Cheddar made in Vermont.
Coon is a very sharp piquant Cheddar made in New York State. It has a crumbly texture and is almost white, with a black coating.
Cottage, the simplest kind of fresh cheese, is made by heating slightly sour or skim milk until the curd separates, then cutting and draining it. The curd is then usually blended with fresh cream and seasoned. Commercial cottage cheese is made from reconstituted dried skim milk or nonfat dry milk solids, with lactic acid added to hasten the separation. Cottage cheese may also be known as pot cheese, Dutch cheese, or schmierkdse.
Coeur a la Creme
Coeur a la Creme is a delicate fresh French cheese made from naturally soured whole milk and cream and then pressed into heart-shaped baskets.
Cornhusker is a semifirm Cheddar cheese made in Nebraska. It is similar to Colby.
Coulommiers is a soft French cheese similar to Brie.
Cream cheese
Cream cheese is a soft unripened cheese made of cream and sweet whole milk treated with a culture of lactic acid-producing bacteria.
Crema Danica
Crema Danica is a soft ripened Danish desert cheese that has a very high butterfat content.
Creole, which is made in Louisiana, is an unripened cheese made of equal parts of cottage cheese and heavy cream.
Danablue, or Danish Blue, is a blue-veined cow's milk cheese from Denmark. It is the most popular imported blue cheese in the United States.
Derby is a firm English cheese, mild when young but flaky and sharp when aged. Sometimes it is flavored with sage and called Sage Derby.
Dunlop is a sharp firm Cheddar made in Scotland.
Edam, one of Holland's most famous cheeses, is semi-firm in texture and is made in a round cannonball shape with a protective coating of red wax. Many Edam-type cheeses are now made in the United States, usually ranging in size from % pound to 14 pounds (340 grams to 65 kg).
Emmentaler is the world-renowned, big-holed cheese commonly called "Switzerland Swiss" in the United States. Made in wheels weighing from 175 to 200 pounds (80 to 90 kg), it is cured for 6 to 10 months and then aged from 1 to 2 years. Although it was made originally in Switzerland, varieties of Emmentaler are now made also in Germany, Denmark, and France.
Farmer's cheese
Farmer's cheese is a variety of cottage cheese in which the curd is cut into, fine particles and pressed into a loaf. The name is also sometimes applied to any ripened cheese in the locality where it is produced.
Feta is a semisoft white flaky Greek cheese that is made from the milk of sheep or goats and marinated in brine.
Of Italian origin, is a semisoft to firm cheese made of ewe's milk, salted in brine, and usually cured about 2 months. If cured longer, it becomes a hard grating cheese. The name Fontina is also applied to a semifirm cow's milk cheese made in Wisconsin.
Fontinella is an Italian cheese similar to Fontina but firmer and sharper.
Gammelost is a semisoft, mold-ripened Norwegian cheese made of skim milk. The interior is brownish yellow with a blue-green tint, and the exterior is deep brown.
Gjetost, a Norwegian cheese, is made from the whey of goat's milk. It is brown in color and quite sweet.
Gorgonzola, the best of the Italian blue cheeses, is named for the village near Milan where the fungus that gives the cheese its particular flavor is found in the local caves. When young, Gorgonzola is creamy and semisoft, but with age it becomes firmer, sharper, and deeper in color. In the United States, domestic versions of this cheese are made in Michigan and Wisconsin.
Gouda named for the Netherlands city where it originated, is similar to Edam but richer in butterfat and generally larger, ranging from 6 to 50 pounds (3 to 23 kg). Most Dutch Goudas have a golden outer coating and are loaf-shaped. Varieties made in the United States are usually round and have a red outer coating.
Gruyere, originally made in Switzerland, is similar to Emmentaler but has smaller holes, a more pronounced flavor, and a higher butterfat content. A kind of process Gruyere, which is made in both Switzerland and the United States, is usually packaged in wedges wrapped in foil.
Hand cheese, or Handkase, is a pungent semisoft cheese made from skim milk curds that are molded by hand. Originally made in Germany, it is now also made in the United States by the Pennsylvania Dutch.
Harzkase is a variety of hand cheese that is made in the Harz Mountains of Germany.
Havarti is a Danish cheese, firm in texture, with both large and small holes and a distinctive, moderately sharp flavor. It has been made for a century near the town of Havarti, Denmark.
Herkimer is a sharp natural Cheddar cheese made in Herkimer county, New York.
Kuminost. a spiced Scandinavian cheese, is firm and Cheddar-like, often flavored with cumin and caraway.
Lancashire is an English cheese similar to Cheshire but white in color, softer, and moister, with a more pungent flavor.
Leyden is a Netherlands spiced cheese similar in consistency to Gouda.
Liederkranz, one of the great American cheeses, was created by Emil Frey, a New York delicatessen man, in 1850 and named for his choral society. It is a mold-ripened, aromatic, soft dessert cheese, now produced in Ohio.
Limburger is a creamy soft pungent-smelling cheese of Belgian origin. Varieties of Limburger are now made in many countries, including Germany and the United States.
Manchego is a Spanish cheese with a flavor much like that of aged Swiss. Made from sheep's milk, it is semifirm and mild when young, growing firmer and sharper with age.
Manteca, a variation of Provolone, is a firm, flask-shaped cheese in which sweet butter (butter made from whey) is sealed in the center.
Maroilles is a soft to semisoft, robust-flavored cheese made in the Abbey of Maroilles in the Champagne district of France.
Monterey, or Monterey Jack, is a Cheddar type made originally in Monterey county, California. There are two varieties: a semifirm, creamy, pale cheese made of whole milk; and a firmer, zestier, aged cheese, bright in color and made only partially of whole milk.
Mozzarella, of Italian origin, is a mild, white, semisoft cheese that melts easily. In the United States a domestic variety is made of whole milk, but in Italy it is made of skim cow's milk and, to some extent, of buffalo milk. Originally it was made entirely of buffalo milk.
Munster or Muenster, of Alsatian origin, is made in the Vosges Mountains of France. It is soft and pancake-shaped and has a pungent flavor. The American version is a mild semifirm cheese with small holes.
Miitschli is a semisoft cheese made in Switzerland. It is sometimes called mountain cheese. It melts easily and is used in preparing a kind of fondue known as raclette.
Mysost is a whey cheese of Scandinavian origin. Like Gjetost, it is brown in color and has a sweet flavor, but it is made of cow's milk, not goat's milk. An American version of this cheese is made in several Midwestern states.
Neufchatel, as originally made in Normandy, France, is a soft, delicate, white cheese with a white crust, produced in both fresh and ripened versions. American Neufchatel is a fresh cheese, similar to cream cheese but with a lower fat content. It is made by adding a lactic acid starter to fresh milk, with just enough rennet to coagulate the curd.
No'kkelost, a Norwegian spiced cheese, is similar to Kuminost and is made from skim milk or a mixture of skim and whole milk.
Parmesan, of Italian origin, is one of the most popular of all cheeses. A sharp, hard, grating cheese, it is cured for 14 months or longer and, when fully cured, keeps fresh almost indefinitely. After grating, however, it loses its flavor rapidly. In the United States the production of Parmesan-type cheese has increased greatly in recent years in Michigan and Wisconsin.
Pecorino Romano
Pecorino Romano is similar to Parmesan cheese in flavor and texture but is always made from sheep's milk.
Petit Suisse
Petit Suisse is a very perishable, fresh cream cheese of France. It is made of whole milk to which cream has been added.
Pineapple is a variety of Cheddar that is cured in net bags that mold the cheese into the shape of a pineapple. During the ripening period the outer surface is frequently rubbed with oil to produce a hard, shiny surface.
Pont l'Eveque
Pont l'Eveque is a soft dessert cheese of Normandy whose unique flavor is due to a fungus found only in this region.
Port du Saint
Port du Saint, or Port Salut, is a pungent soft cheese made first by Trappist monks in France in 1816. It is now produced in many countries, usually, but not always, under the supervision of Trappist monks.
Pot cheese
Pot cheese is another name for cottage cheese.
Provolone is a firm Italian cheese with a smoky flavor. The curd is molded into pear-shaped forms that are hung in a room and smoked. After smoking, the cheese is either dipped in paraffin or oiled to a high gloss. Although Provolone can be used as a table cheese after 6 to 9 months of curing, it is usually cured for 14 months and used for grating. In the United States, a domestic variety of Provolone is made in a different manner and is softer.
Ricotta, as it is made in Italy, where it originated, is made from the whey left over from making sheep cheese. It may be a soft, firm, or very hard grating cheese. An American cheese of the same name is made from the whey of Cheddar cheese, blended with whole milk.
Romadur is a German cheese similar to Limburger but not as pungent.
Romano is a hard grating cheese that keeps almost indefinitely. The Italian cheese of this name is usually made of sheep's milk, but American Romano is always made of cow's milk.
Roquefort is one of the best known of all the blue-veined cheeses and is the only well-known one made solely of sheep's milk. By law, the name can be used only to designate cheese ripened in the Roquefort caves of France. Roquefort is so respected by connoisseurs that it is often called the "king of cheeses.
Saaneu is probably the hardest cheese made anywhere. This cheese, which originated in Switzerland, is cured at least 3 years, sometimes as long as 7 years, and remains edible indefinitely.
Sapsago is a small, hard, pale-green cheese flavored with dried clover. It is also known as Schabzieger. It has been made in Switzerland since the 15th century. A version of this cheese is now made in Wisconsin.
Sbrinz is an extremely hard cheese made for centuries in Switzerland. It is similar to Parmesan but has a mellower flavor and higher butterfat content.
Smoked cheese
Smoked cheese is any cheese, usually American or Cheddar, that is flavored with liquid smoke, hung in smokehouses along with ham and bacon, or rubbed with smoke salt.
Stilton, named for the English town where it first acquired its reputation, is regarded as England's finest cheese. It is a firm, blue-veined cheese made from cow's milk. A cheese of the same name is now also made in Wisconsin.
Swiss, in the United States, refers to the big-holed cheese that the Swiss call Emmentaler and the English and French refer to as Gruyere. It is a firm, pale-yellow cheese with holes that may be as large as an inch (25 mm) in diameter. Made in wheels weighing between 160 and 200 pounds (72 to 91 kg), it is one of the most difficult cheeses to produce, requiring three species of bacteria to start the fermentation process, produce the large holes, and give the cheese its characteristic nutty flavor. The Swiss cheese industry in the United States was established by emigrants from Switzerland in 1850. Today it is the second most popular cheese in the United States.
Taleggio is a soft aromatic Italian dessert cheese. It is pale in color with a rosy crust.
Teleme, or Telerni, originated in the Balkans, where it is made with sheep's milk. The American cheese of the same name is made of cow's milk. Soft, white, and brine-marinated, it is somewhat similar to Feta.
A Cheddar cheese produced in Oregon. A special salt-free variety is semifirm in texture and has a pungent flavor.
A semifirm cheese, piquant in flavor, with small irregular holes. It was made originally by Dutch emigrants who settled in Prussia. Varieties of this cheese are now produced in Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, and the United States.
A family of skim milk cheeses made in the Savoie district of France. Sometimes it is flavored with fennel, raisins, or sweet wine.
Vacherin is a name used for several quite different cheeses produced in Switzerland and the bordering regions of France. They range in texture from soft to semisoft and in flavor from mild to pungent.
A soft to semisoft German cheese similar to Limburger but much milder and with a lustrous white crust.
A blue-veined Yorkshire cheese similar to Stilton but sharper in flavor.


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    • Bits-n-Pieces profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      I love cheese!

    • Bits-n-Pieces profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Not exhaustive but extremely filling.

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 

      8 years ago from Queensland Australia

      great list & as you know this is not exhaustive...


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