Cheese Characteristics and Uses,
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American - Semi-soft, mild, smooth, light yellow or orange, usually cut into square slices; it does not separate when melted.

Crackers, English muffins, pretzels, apples and red grapes. Serve with beer, light white wine, ice-cold milk, tomato juice and lemonade.

Amish (Lacy) Swiss - There are different types of Amish Swiss which have been perfected by the Amish in different areas all around the country. The most commercially popular is a longhorn shaped Swiss cheese which develops small lace-like eyes. It is creamier in texture than regular Swiss cheese.

Ham and cheese sandwiches.

Anejo Enchilada - Mexico. A firm, pressed cheese rolled in paprika. This cheese is not as strongly flavored as Cotija but can be easily shredded or grated. It is commonly used as a topping or stuffing for enchiladas, burritos, and tacos.

Asadero - A smooth, yellow cheese with more "tang" than the mild Queso Quesadilla cheese. This cheese is ideal for baking because its stronger flavor adds to the appeal of a baked dish.

Asiago (ah-zee-AH-goh) - Piquant, sharp tasting cheese with a nutty, pleasantly-salty flavor. Asiago blends well with Cheddar, Parmesan or mozzarella. This cow's milk cheese gets its name from from the village of Asiago in northern Italy. There are two types, Asiago d'allevo and Asiago pressato. Both fresh Asiago (delicate and sweet, made ​​with whole milk) and aged Asiago cheese (more savory in taste, aged from 3 to 12 months, and made with skim milk) may be purchased in the United States in many different grocery stores (including Walmart) and gourmet markets.

Asiago Pressato PDO is semisoft and a pale straw-color, and dotted with some small holes. Look for the mark Asiago POD or PDO ( protected designation of origin). Authentic Asiago comes from only four places in Italy – Vicenza, Trento, and parts of Treviso and Padua. The The symbol of authentic Asiago PDO is:

The d'allevo is made from partially skimmed cows' milk and is beige in color with distinctive tiny holes running throughout the cheese. When ripe, the cheese can be soft and makes for a great table cheese, but when aged for a year or longer, it is used as a grating cheese. The flavor is rich, somewhat nutty, but mild. It may be coated with paraffin. It can range from a softer firm to a hard granular texture depending on aging. When grated, it melts quickly over heat. In a restaurant, ask for Italian Asiago PDO. Aged Asiago may be shaved or grated to serve over salads and pastas.

Pasta, figs, grapes, apples and pears. Serve with red wines, cider, cranberry juice and sparkling red grape juice.

Baby Swiss - The mildest, sweetest cheese of the family that includes Switzerland's famous Emmentaler and Gruyere. Baby Swiss is notable for its light, almost white color, creamy texture and small holes. Ivory to pale yellow, creamy with small eyes, it melts well when shredded. It has a buttery, slightly nutty and sweet flavor and smooth melting characteristics. A smoked version is also available.

Cheese trays, sweet fruits and berries, croissants and muffins. Serve with fruity white wine, aged red wine, juices and ice-cold milk.

Basato - Uruguayan. Semi-hard and sharp. This unique table cheese can be used as you use Provolone.

Excellent in antipasto, sandwiches, as a topping, or in cooking. It shreds well.

Blue Cheese (Bleu Cheese) - Semi-soft white cheese with blue veins, sometimes crumbly interior. This is a generic term to describe many different types of cheeses made throughout Europe and North America. All blues begin as unpressed white cheese onto which a blue mold such as Penicillium roqueforti is dusted. The mold makes its way into the interior of the cheese via forty or so holes punched through the wheel of cheese as it ages. Most blues have a crumbly texture and a sharp, tangy flavor. Blue cheese melts quickly under heat when crumbled.

Serve blue cheese with robust, whole-grain crackers. Crumble blue into sour cream or plain yogurt as a dip, or into mayonnaise as a dressing. Pears, raisins, fruit breads and walnuts. Serve with full-bodied red wines, cappuccino, fruit juice and champagne. Port wine is the classic accompaniment.

Boursin - Soft, French dessert cheese. Rich and creamy with some tartness.

Good with fruit and wine.

Brick - Semi-soft. Ivory with numerous small round and irregular-shaped holes and an open texture. Shredded brick melts quickly under heat. Mild with a sweet, pungent flavor.

Apples, grapes, pears, onions, sweet crackers and dark bread. Serve with light red wines, beer, cran-apple juice, cider and sparkling mineral water.

Brie (bree) - A world-famous externally-ripened cow's milk cheese that originated in the 13th-century near Paris. It is an easily recognized thin disc covered with a whitish bloom. This rind may be eaten depending on personal taste. At its peak, the cheese's interior should be plump and glossy, but not runny or smelling of ammonia, which indicates over-ripeness. Its flavor (without the rind) may be best described as mildly tangy and fruity.

Serve Brie with a variety of fruits. Thin slices served on a sandwich with roast beef are quite tasty. Some people enjoy Brie baked in a pastry crust.

Camembert - Created in 1789 by Marie Harel, a peasant woman and said to have been christened by Napoleon himself, this cow's milk cheese (40 to 45% fat) is world renown. 11 centimeters in diameter and 3 to 4 centimeter's thick, this smooth creamy cheese with a soft white rind should be served at room temperature when perfectly ripe. You'll know it's perfectly ripe when it oozes thickly. If it is runny, it is overripe. An externally-ripened cows-milk cheese similar in appearance to Brie. Its flavor is only slightly more assertive than Brie, and its rind is edible.

Use Camembert as you would Brie.

Cantal - Firm, yellow cheese from France. Piquant flavor.

Good with wine or beer, for snacks, appetizers, desserts or cooking.

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