Burrata, camembert, raclette, gruyere... We've compiled a handy guide to understanding and using 11 of the most popular cheeses typically found in supermarkets and restaurants, so you can make quick and educated choices the next time you decide to cook or eat this luscious dairy product.
Originating from England and made from unpasteurised cow's milk, cheddar is one of the most common cheeses eaten. It's a hard cheese with a slightly crumbly texture, and its taste gets bolder the longer it has been matured. Because of its pleasant taste and versatility, cheddar can be used in a wide variety of dishes.
Recommended uses: on its own, sandwiches, burgers, macaroni and cheese
If you ever had a delicious slice of pizza — and let's face it, who hasn't? — you have already been exposed to the wonders of mozzarella. This Italian cheese is made from either pasteurised or unpasteurised cow's or water buffalo's milk, and has a stringy and supple texture. Unlike most cheeses, mozzarella isn't aged and can be eaten fresh after a few hours of being made.
Recommended uses: pizza, lasagna, pasta, salad
France is undoubtedly a cheese haven and brie, one of the most well known cheeses named from the region of where it hails from, is deliciously light with a nutty and tangy taste. Made from unpasteurised cow's milk, it has a creamy texture and commonly appears on cheese boards served after a meal. Creative cooks have even used it in pasta sauces for a French twist.
Recommended uses: on its own, with baguette, sandwiches, pasta
Another iconic French cheese, camembert is made from unpasteurised cow's milk. It has a soft texture that leaves a buttery and milky taste in the mouth. It has an earthy aroma and is best paired with light red wines.
Recommended uses: on its own, paired with wine, pasta, salad, fondue
Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan)
A rock star of the Italian cheese world, Parmigiano Reggiano, or parmesan as it is more commonly known, is a savoury hard cheese that has a distinct sharp taste with nutty and fruity notes. It has a strong aroma and is commonly used as a flavour enhancer.
Recommended uses: pasta, salad, chicken parmigiana, lasagna
This Greek cheese is soft, creamy, briny, and has a strong salty and tangy flavour, making it a perfect counterbalance to the fresh flavours of tomatoes and greens, hence its regular appearance in salads. This cheese is made from either pasteurised or unpasteurised goat's or sheep's milk.
Recommended uses: salad, soup, pasta, flatbread
Recommended uses: salad, fresh tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, crusty bread, cold cuts
Firm yet supple, manchego cheese comes from Spain. This cheese has pleasant grassy notes, as it is made from unpasteurised sheep's milk, and has a somewhat pale yellow colour. It has 57% fat content and goes great with a glass of sherry.
Recommended uses: cold cuts, paired with wine and malty beers, grilled cheese sandwiche
Named from the Swiss village of where it originates, gruyère is a hard cheese made from unpasteurised cow's milk. It has a nutty and slightly sweet flavour, appearing in dishes that call for gratin or fondue. Rule of thumb: the more mature the cheese, the stronger its flavour. Look out for gruyère doux for a milder version, or gruyère vieux if you can stomach a stronger cheese.
Recommended uses: fondue, gratin, sandwiches, French onion soup, souffle, croque monsieur
Can't think of the last time you had marcorpone cheese? What about the last time you had tiramisu? Made from pasteurised cow's milk, marcorpone can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes, thanks to its milky, creamy and buttery quality, and high fat content.
Recommended uses: cake, tiramisu, cheesecake, paired with fruits, pizza, soup
A semi-hard cheese made from unpasteurised cow's milk, raclette comes from both France and Switzerland. It has a smooth, yet firm texture, and is commonly melted before being scraped and served with bread, pickles and cold cuts. The cheese's popularity in its countries of origin has even resulted in specialised machines being dedicated to its production and processing.
Recommended uses: melted and eaten with cold cuts and pickles, paired with light and crisp wines