The Guide to West Coast Cheese- Autohor: Sasha Davies
Cheese- Author: Alix Baboin-Jaubert
Cheese- Author: Juliet Harbutt
The Washington Post 12/26/1993, article by John Dornberg
There are so many amazing cheeses to choose from. I decided to research the firm cheeses listed in our On Cooking book and see what I could discover. Not everyone has the same categorization when it comes to cheese, so some of the cheeses may also be referred to as semi-soft or even hard, depending on the variety and region. Commonly, Cheddar, Gruyère, Jack, Jarlsberg, Manchego, Provolone and Emmental all have a fat content of at least 45% and moisture content from 30-40%.
Cheddar cheese was originally created in farmhouses of Cheddar, England during the 16th century. Queen Victoria was presented with one of, if not the largest, cheddars ever made during the 18th century. The cheddar was 1100 pounds in weight and nine feet, four inches in diameter. Even though cheddar is England’s most famous cheese, local production has drastically reduced in the 20th century. In 1939, there was 333 cheddar makers recorded in England. After WWII, only 57 had survived. By 1999, only 6 of the 333 cheddar makers remained.
Cheddar is traditionally made from cow’s milk and goes through a cheddaring and milling process during its creation unlike any other cheeses. Due to cheddar not being a protected name, most cheddar today is actually not cheddared and milled as traditionally done in England and therefore not true cheddar. Natural cheddar is very light in color then dyed orange with the use of annatto seeds. It is coated with thick plastic, wax or cheesecloth during aging process. Wrapping it in cheese cloth allows a natural rind to develop. Cheddar can take as little as 2 months or up to 2 years to age depending on the type and region it comes from.
This popular cheese is available year-round, sold usually in blocks or wheels. Mild, medium, sharp and extra sharp cheddars are usually color coded with the wrapper. It can be flavored and pairs well with vintage port wine. Slices are great for sandwiches and burgers. Shred some up for salads or melt shreds on a casserole. Gothberg Farms, Golden Glen Creamery, Estrella Family Creamery and the WSU Creamery are all Washington producers of a variety of cheddar cheeses.
Gruyère originates from the French-speaking district of the Gruyère region in Switzerland, where you may also find the town Gruyères. In the 16th century, Count Michael, last of the Gruyèrian rulers, fled the castle and the surrounding cantons of Bern and Fribourg divided the count’s estate. Among the estate were the pastures and Fribourg cows, whose milk is used for making Gruyère. Gruyère was first documented as a distinct variety of cheese in 1602. Today, traditional gruyère is produced in the cantons of Fribourg, Neuchâtel, and Vaud.
True Swiss gruyère rarely has “eyes” or holes in it unlike French versions produced. It’s made from cow’s milk and usually sticky from the brining treatment. It is a wash rind cheese as well. Gruyère takes 4-10 months to age, usually in a cellar. Comparison to Emmental cheese is very common as they are the two mains cheeses produced in Switzerland. The finished product is less stringy and denser than Emmental.
Gruyère is sold in wheels between 44 and 110 pound and available year-round. It is creamier than Emmental cheese. Gruyère has a nutty flavor and a slightly grainy texture. It pairs well with walnuts, sliced pears and of course Swiss white wine. Its use is imperative for fondues as it compliments the fruitiness from the Emmental cheese used in fondue as well. Gruyère...