Cheese FAQ

Presented By The Cheeseboard Of Harrogate
How Do I Store The Cheese I Buy From You?

Store your cheese in the refrigerator, in a low humidity area, wrapped in parchment or waxed paper lightly wrapped in plastic, or pick up our customise cheese paper at our shop. This allows it to breathe while also protecting it from moisture. There is no magic way of keeping cheese fresh for extended periods of time. We highly recommend only buying as much as you need for up to two weeks, or slightly less for softer cheeses.

How Should I Serve My Cheese?

Cheese is optimally served at room temperature. We suggest removing your cheese from the fridge and allowing it to open up. When sampling your cheeseboard, we always recommend starting with the mildest cheese, and working your way up to the stronger, more complex flavours.

What Does "Off The Wheel" or "Cut To Order" Mean?

Many of our cheeses come in multi-kilogram wheels, straight from the cheesemaker. Rather than pre-cut and vacuum seal our cheeses, we take pride in storing them and custom cutting your order on demand. This preserves the freshness and flavour integrity and allows you to get as much or as little as you need at one time.

What Is Raw Milk Cheese?

Raw milk is simply unpasteurised milk. We believe that using raw milk helps maintain the subtleties of terroir in the cheese making process allowing for more complex flavours to shine through.

Do You Cater For Vegetarians / Vegans?

We do. Rennet is an enzyme used in many kinds of cheese as the coagulant that separates curds from whey. Some of our cheeses use vegetarian rennet and our cheesemongers are happy to point them out to you.

"I'm Pregnant, Can I Eat Your Cheese?"

Some of our cheese can be eaten when you are pregnant. For full advice we recommend that you head to the NHS webpage dealing with this – the page can be found HERE.

"I'm Lactose Intolerant, What Can I Eat?"

Yes, we cater for people who are lactose intolerant. We carry a selection of lactose-free cheeses. We also have a wide selection of goat and sheep milk cheeses, which are often easier to digest for people with lactose issues. Lactose is a sugar found in milk, and much of the lactose is converted to lactic acid during the aging process subsequently the older the cheese, the lower the lactose. Aged cheeses such as aged cheddar, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Comte or Cave Aged Gruyere, should be easier to digest and lower in lactose. Everyone is different so just start with a small amount and see what works for you and follow the advice of your doctor.

Can You Eat The Rind Of Cheese

There are always exceptions, but generally speaking with soft and semi-soft cheeses, the rind is part of the cheese and is meant to be eaten. With hard cheeses, the rind is used as a protective layer during the ripening process and while it will certainly not hurt you, it probably won’t taste very good. In both cases we suggest tasting it (unless it’s wax or cloth) and if you like it go ahead and eat it. Tip: saving your Parmigiano rinds and tossing them into your pasta sauce while cooking will impart an amazing flavour.

What Is Bloomy Rind?

Bloomy rind is the term for a surface ripened cheese which has a white rind that “blooms” on the exterior of a soft wheel of cheese. Generally, the growth is encouraged with the use of friendly bacteria, Penicillium candidum or Penicillium camemberti. The bloomy rind protects the cheese as it ages and helps impart buttery, mushroomy, earthy and grassy flavours. It is carefully monitored during the cheesemaking process and is entirely edible.

What Is Washed Rind?

Washed-rind cheeses are exactly that – washed! Like bloomy rind cheeses, they are also surface ripened; bathed in either a salt-brine or alcohol solution (brandy, beer, wine, l’eau du vie, etc.) that helps the development of a flavourful orange-hued rind made by the growth of friendly bacteria, Brevibacterium Linens. The rind is edible, and generally, washed-rind cheeses are fragrant, with complex aromas and creamy interiors.

What Is Ash Ripened Cheese?

Vegetable ash was traditionally used in cheese making to protect and dry the outside of surface-ripened cheeses, and can also be used to neutralise acidity, balancing the pH of the cheese for optimal ripening while providing a stunning visual contrast.

How Do They Get The Blue In Cheese?

Blue cheese gets its characteristic blue veins, most commonly from Penicillium Roqueforti and Penicillium Glaucum. Depending on the style of cheese, the special bacteria is added during different stages of the cheese making process. Once the wheel of cheese is formed “needling” begins. This important stage pierces the cheese either by hand or machine, poking tiny holes in the cheese, allowing air to travel through and encouraging the blue/green veins to take form. The result is often distinct cheese with an earthy, salty, rich profile.

Can Cheese Go Off?

With soft, bloomy rind cheeses, strong ammonia smells, or liquid centres often indicate over-ripening and should best be avoided. With harder cheeses, surface mould can be removed with gentle scraping, and cheese should always be rewrapped in clean parchment to avoid cross-contamination. However, with proper storage and a healthy appetite, your cheese should be consumed in ample time to avoid spoilage.

Can I Freeze My Cheese?

No. Freezing cheese will drastically change the texture and flavour when the cheese is thawed so we tend to say no. Very aged and dry cheeses will hold up better to freezing as they have much lower moisture contents. Some people will freeze grating cheeses but we are always proponents of buying an appropriate amount of fresh cheese for your needs.

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