Cheese Terminology Glossary

Discover and learn the various cheese tasting terms to describe cheeses and commonly used terminology with our expert-curated glossary definitions.


Annatto is a dye obtained from a South American plant, sometimes used to color cheeses.

Bloomy Rind

Camembert and Brie have bloomy rinds, a light white down or powdery surface. The rind develops when the surface is sprayed with a Penicillium spore.

Bruising or Blueing

Molds need air to grow padding-bottom-xxl. When there is a crack in the rind, mold will grow padding-bottom-xxl inside the cheese around the crack... this is known as bruising, or blueing if t is the blue Penicillium mold.


During the ripening period some natural rind cheeses have their rinds brushed by hand or machine. This helps the cheese to keep moist during the ripening period, and it also affects the flavor.

Cave or Cellar

Usually an underground room or even a cave where cheeses are stored and tended to ripen. The humidity and temperature remain constant. Handcrafted Roquefort is ripened in caves.


This term describes a process used in the crafting of cheese. Curd is cut into blocks, and these blocks are turned and stacked at the bottom of the vat every 15 minutes for about 90 minutes.


A close textured cheese is smooth, unblemished and devoid of holes or cracks. When a cheese contains openings and holes in its body, its texture is called open.


Hard cheeses are processed by heating the cheese curd, sometimes in the surplus whey.


The process of coagulating milk due to the introduction of rennet, which is an enzyme.


Another word for maturing, ripening or aging.


This term is used to describe a cheese that breaks away when cut.

Dry Matter

Soft cheeses contain about 50% dry matter and 50% water.


Holes in the body of cheeses such as Emmentaler, Gruyere and other Swiss types, are usually spherical and equally spaced. Bacterial activity, which generates prioponic acid and causes gas to expand within the curd, creates the eyes.

Fat Content

An average fat content is 45 %. Fat content can range from 4% to 75%.

Fresh Cheese

Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese, and Ricotta are examples of cheeses that do not have a ripening period before they are served.

Molds or Moulds

Internal molds (in blue veined cheeses) are created by Penicillium glaucum, or Penicillium roqueforti spores which are introduced to the cheese after it has been poked with holes. Surface molds are the result of rubbing the cheese with a Penicillium spore. French goat milk cheeses have a bluish surface mold. Blue Castello, Bavarian Blue, and Duet have both a surface and an internal mold.


Soft and semi-soft cheeses, particularly members of the Brie/ Camembert family, are often described as having a mushroomy flavor and aroma.


Usually refers to a hazelnut flavor.


Rinds can be natural or artificial, thick or thin, hard or soft, washed, oiled, brushed or coated with wax. They protect the cheese's interior and allow it to ripen appropriately.


A bacterial culture which produces lactic acid.

The Big Cheese

In 1801 an enterprising cheesemaker delivered a mammoth 1,235 pound wheel of cheese to Thomas Jefferson. Intrigued citizens dubbed it the big cheese, coining the phrase which has since come to describe someone of importance.

Washed Rind Cheeses

Some of the strongest smelling and tasting cheeses have had their rinds washed during the curing process. This process keeps the cheese moist and supple. Cheeses can be washed with salt water or even brandy which of course affects the final flavor.

International Variety of Cheeses

Experience International Variety

You might receive a Gaperon, originating in France during the 14th Century, an
authentic Lancashire by Ruth Kirkham, and an Italian Taleggio matured in the
caves of Valsassina…all in one shipment!


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