You know a soft cheese with mould rind because its rind is covered in a fine white down, known as the “bloom”. These are ripened cheeses that have not been pressed or cooked. They are mostly made from cow’s or goat’s milk and they always have a creamy, smooth texture.
The curds are placed in perforated moulds kept in a humid environment so that they retain as much whey as possible. After several hours, the cheeses are turned out of the moulds and the ripening process continues for a minimum of twenty days.
The water content, combined with the humidity in the curing cellar, attracts and encourages the formation of the white bloom or “fleur”.
Soft cheeses with mould rind include Camembert, Brie, Coulommiers and a number of other specialties such as Caprice des Dieux.
These can be recognised by their colour, which ranges from orange to brick red. Rustic and springy, their creamy texture is often combined with a distinct or even strong flavour.
Soft cheeses with washed rind are made in the same way as soft cheeses with mould rind except that they are brushed during ripening with brine, wine, beer or alcohol.
This gives them their distinctive colour.
Traditional examples of soft cheeses with washed rind include Livarot, Maroilles, Munster, Pont l’Evêque, l’Epoisse and many other specialties, such as Chaumes
Blue cheeses are distinguished by their blue veins that result from the development of “Penicillium”. These strongly-flavoured and sometimes crumbly-textured cheeses, made with cow’s or sheep’s milk have a rich and unusual taste.
The curds are usually broken up in order to eliminate as much of the whey as possible, then placed in cylindrical moulds for one to two weeks. The curds are stirred quite frequently and once the whey has been completely eliminated, the cheeses are turned out of the moulds, brushed with salt and placed in the ripening cellar.
Originally, Penicillium mould was developed on bread, then added to the curds. It requires oxygen to develop. The cheeses are therefore pierced using needles to create the famous blue veins.
The most notable blue cheeses are Roquefort, Fourme d’Ambert, Bleu d’Auvergne and Bleu de Gex, but also included are Gorgonzola, Stilton, Saint Agur, etc.
Fromages frais are not matured, and they are very moist and mild with a smooth texture. Their soft consistency makes them easy to spread. Either salted or unsalted, they are ideal for many different flavours. They can be made from any milk.
Fromages frais undergo few changes. They are not fermented or ripened. The curds are produced very slowly to retain as much whey as possible.
Fresh cheeses include Fontainebleau, Neufchâtel Frais, Tartare, Saint Môret, Brousses, etc.
The strength of flavour of goat’s milk cheeses depends on how they are ripened. They come in different shapes (round, square, pyramidal or cylindrical). They can also be ash-coated.
Goat’s milk cheeses are made exclusively from goat’s milk. They can be soft, semi-hard or hard depending on the length of the ripening process.
The best known goat’s milk cheeses include Chabichou, Crottin de Chavignol, Sainte-Maure and Chavroux
Uncooked pressed cheeses include a wide range of cheeses with many different flavours, but they always taste mild and fruity. They can be eaten all year round and their consistency makes them easy to slice.
The curds are reduced to eliminate the whey, before being placed in moulds. After a day or two they are pressed, with the level of pressure determining how much whey is eliminated. The cheese is dipped in brine to harden the rind and ensure salting. It is then placed in a cellar to mature for around two months.
Uncooked pressed cheeses cover varieties such as Cantal and Saint-Nectaire, semi-hard types including Morbier and Reblochon, and hard cheeses like Cantal, Cheddar, Edam and Gouda.
Cooked pressed cheeses can be identified by their high volume (full cheeses weigh between 40 and 90 kg). Their flavours range from fruity to strong, but their hard rind makes them difficult to cut. This type of cheese is very rich in calcium.
The curds must be cut into tiny pieces to eliminate the whey, then heated. The cheese is then wrapped in a cloth before being pressed for several hours. The cheese is immersed in brine for a variable period depending on its size. The cheese is finally placed in a ripening cellar where it will be painstakingly cared for. It will stay there for many months.
The best known cooked pressed cheeses include Emmental, Comté, Beaufort and Gruyère.
Processed cheeses always have a creamy texture and a mild flavour. Their soft consistency makes them easy to spread and the ideal cheese for little snacks. They can be bought plain, but also with walnut, ham, cumin and paprika flavours. These cheeses can have a very long shelf-life.
Processed cheese can be made from one type of cheese or several mixed together and melted down. The cheese is then pasteurised.
Processed cheeses come in a wide variety of types from Crème De Gruyère to walnut cheese, sliced cheese, sausage-shaped, etc.
Having become a leading "seafood deli" product, surimi is increasingly becoming a part of our diet. Nevertheless, it still has some prejudice to overcome. It is often considered a highly industrialised product due to its orange colour, though in fact this is only due to the addition of paprika. Surimi is also believed to be made from the worst parts of fish, which is not true: only fillets are used to prepare surimi. Pollock, hoki and blue whiting are all used, but they are never mixed in the same production cycle due to their different textures.
Simple to prepare and tasty, surimi is a very healthy product. Its high protein content and low calorific value make it the ideal product for people who are diet conscious. Healthy and natural, it’s a different way of eating fish, especially for children, who quickly become fans. Also, the various formats available make surimi versatile.
You may have seen this name in supermarkets.
In fact, commonly the term "surimi" is used incorrectly. To be accurate, we should say "kamaboko", which refers to finished products made from the base product, surimi
Surimi comes from a very old tradition. Appearing in Japan some 400 years ago, surimi was prepared in the many fishing villages around the Japanese coast. At that time, the fillets were flattened by being placed between two planks of wood on which a stone was placed to create pressure. They were then cut up with a chopper, kneaded by hand in salt and steamed in large wooden containers before finally being cut into small loaves.
Today, technological progress has changed the production process. The first stages of production take place on a factory ship. The fish that have just been caught are immediately processed on the ship. After they are cleaned and gutted, only the fillets are kept. These are cut up then cleaned again in fresh water so that only the protein is retained. This prepared substance, which is now rightfully called "surimi", is frozen in sheets for transportation to the processing factory.
Once defrosted, the fish flesh is mixed with flour, egg white, vegetable oil, salt and sometimes crab meat for the “crab flavour” variety. The paste is cooked then shaped to become "kamaboko". Not forgetting the paprika that gives the finished products (in the form of a roll, sticks, slices, gratings, etc.) their lovely orange colour.