We initially wrote this for our employees at the storefront and customer service, then while training the team we figured, "Hey, this would make for a GREAT blog post to share with our customers!"
What Makes High-End Cheeses High-End?
High-end cheeses are typically made by artisan cheesemakers who use traditional methods to create their products. These methods often involve using raw milk, which is milk that has not been pasteurized or homogenized. Raw milk has a richer flavor than pasteurized milk, which adds depth and complexity to the cheese. The cheesemakers also pay close attention to the aging process, allowing the cheese to mature for long periods, and sometimes, for years.
Another factor that sets high-end cheeses apart is the quality of the ingredients used. The milk used to make these cheeses comes from grass-fed animals that are allowed to roam free and graze on open pastures. The use of high-quality milk results in a superior taste and texture that cannot be replicated with lower-quality ingredients.
Finding high-end cheeses is not easy, particularly in the US where geographic terms or signs that are generic for goods/services are not protected. Meaning, that "Parmesan cheese" you buy at your local supermarket? It is technically not Parmesan cheese as Parmesan cheese can ONLY be from a certain region in Italy.
What To Look For When Buying High-End Cheeses?
When buying high-end cheeses, there are several factors to consider and to look for:
Origin: High-end cheeses are often associated with specific regions or countries. For example, Parmigiano-Reggiano is a high-end cheese from Italy, while Roquefort is a high-end cheese from France. When buying high-end cheeses, look for products that come from the region or country where they originated. Anything else is an imitation and it is not the same.
Milk type: High-end cheeses are typically made from cow, sheep, or goat's milk. Each milk type has its unique flavor profile, so it's essential to consider your preferences when selecting a cheese. Some cheeses will even mix milks like our marinated sheep and goat cheese which is frankly incredible.
Age: The age of the cheese can significantly impact its flavor and texture. Younger cheeses tend to be milder and have a softer texture, while older cheeses have a more robust flavor and a firmer texture. When buying high-end cheeses, consider the age of the cheese and how it may impact the taste.
Appearance: High-end cheeses often have a unique appearance that sets them apart from other cheeses. Look for cheese that has a consistent texture, with no visible mold or discoloration. The rind should be firm, and the cheese should have a pleasant aroma.
Price: High-end cheeses are often more expensive than other cheeses. Consider your budget and the occasion when selecting a cheese. Some high-end cheeses are best enjoyed on their own, while others are perfect for cooking or pairing with other foods.
Some Examples of High-End Cheese
There are many types of high-end cheese available, each with its unique flavor and texture. Here are a few examples:
Parmigiano-Reggiano: This hard cheese is made from cow's milk and is aged for at least two years. It has a nutty, slightly salty flavor and a granular texture.
- Ubriaco: Also known as drunk cheese, is an Italian cheese that is made by soaking the cheese in red or white wine after it has been aged. The cheese is typically made from cow's milk and has a firm texture with a sharp and tangy flavor. The soaking process gives the cheese a unique flavor and color, as well as a slightly boozy aroma. Ubriaco cheese is often enjoyed as a table cheese, but it can also be used in cooking, particularly in pasta dishes.
Gorgonzola: Gorgonzola cheese is a type of Italian blue cheese that is made from cow's milk. The cheese is known for its creamy and crumbly texture, with blue veins of mold running throughout. It has a pungent aroma and a sharp, tangy flavor that becomes more intense as the cheese ages. Gorgonzola cheese is often used in cooking, particularly in sauces for pasta dishes or as a topping for salads and pizzas. It is also enjoyed as a table cheese, often paired with fruits, nuts, and honey. Gorgonzola cheese is named after the town of Gorgonzola, which is located near Milan, Italy.
Gruyere: This Swiss cheese is made from cow's milk and aged for several months. It has a nutty, slightly sweet flavor and a smooth texture.
Manchego: This Spanish cheese is made from sheep's milk and aged for several months. It has a buttery, slightly nutty flavor and a firm, slightly crumbly texture.
Are High-End Cheeses Worth It?
At Meat N' Bone, we love indulging in the finer things. For us, splurging on high-end cheese is absolutely worth it, just like splurging on a proper steak. We do acknowledge, it depends on whatever you can afford.
Our cheeses may offer unique flavors and textures that cannot be found in mass-produced cheeses, and they may also be made from high-quality ingredients and aged for longer periods of time, resulting in a more complex flavor profile.
High-end cheese is a delicious and unique food that is worth exploring. Whether you are a cheese connoisseur or simply enjoy trying new and interesting foods, there is a high-end cheese out there for you. By following the tips outlined above, you can ensure that you are getting the best quality cheese and experiencing all the complex and nuanced flavors that high-end cheese has to offer. That or just shop with us, at Meat N' Bone.