The 7 Families of Cheese
February 1 2023·
Cheese is a remarkable product that has taken many forms throughout history. France alone has over 1,600 variations of cheese! Despite this huge number, cheese can be condensed into seven families.
‘Les 7 familles de fromage’ aka ‘The 7 Families of Cheese’ is a way of categorising the different types of cheese that exist. There’s one particular factor that plays a very important role in a cheese’s personality: Terroir.
Terroir is how a particular region's climate, soils and terrain affect the taste of a product. Some regions are said to have more 'terroir' than others.
Fresh cheese is cheese in its youngest, purest form. Fresh and creamy, they melt in your mouth! Fresh cheese is to be consumed straight away. Some examples of fresh cheese include fluffy ricotta cheese, feta cheese, a soft mozzarella and burrata.
Multiple regions have their own ways of making Goat’s Cheese. They can be fresh, aged, dry or covered in ash, grapes and a variety of aromatic herbs, spices or marinade. Some examples of goat’s cheese include Crottin de Chavignol, Valençay & Sainte-maure de touraine.
White mould cheese that is sprayed with Penicillium Camemberti during the ageing process, this is what develops a soft white blanket around the cheese. These cheeses mature within 45-90 days. White mould cheeses mature from the surface and into the centre of the cheese. Some examples of bloomy rind cheese include Brie, Camembert & Chaource.
Invented by monks in the Middle ages, Washed-rind cheeses are cheeses which are periodically treated with salted water or alcohol. This encourages the growth of certain bacteria on their surface
which give them distinctive flavours. Some examples of washed rind cheese include Époisses, Mariolles & Ami du Chambertin.
Uncooked Pressed Cheese
Cheese making where the curds have not been heated and the cheese has been pressed to give it a very compact, dense texture. They preserve the richness of the milk produced during the summer from mountain pastures. Some examples of uncooked pressed cheese include Tomme de Savoie, Cheddar & Morbier.
Cooked Pressed Cheese
The curd is heated for an hour in order to make it more concentrated, which, upon pressing, produces a more compact cheese. These cheeses are around 8-40kg.
The process of heating the cheese allows it to keep for much longer, as they were originally made by farmers in summer to be stored until winter.
During production the mould Penicillium Roqueforti is added to the curd. The cheese is then pierced with long needles that enable the veins to spread evenly throughout the inside of the cheese, as the mould needs oxygen to develop uniformly. Some examples of blue-veined cheese are Bleu d'Auvergne, Roquefort & Stilton.
Processed Cheeses are cheeses most of the time blended with other cheeses, herbs and spices. These spreadable cheeses are usually served on bread. Some cheese aficionados don’t consider this category to be an actual cheese.
With many different kinds of cheese in the world, there’s surely one that’s perfect for your palate. If you’re interested in trying cheese you’ve never had before or simply wanting to purchase your favourite kind of cheese again, Gourmet de Paris has what you’re after. Order today on our website and explore the historical flavours of cheese!