What's a "Bloomy Rind"?
Bloomy Rind to Blue-Veined to Triple Crème
The following list of cheese textures highlights the basic characteristics of cheeses which can be grouped together.
1. FRESH cheese is very young and soft and does not have a rind. Pale in color, it is uncooked and unripened. It is full of moisture (some FRESH cheeses have not been drained of their whey. Ricotta is one example.) Goat cheese is typically consumed as a FRESH cheese (2 weeks to 2 months old). In general, FRESH cheese is best purchased and consumed in late summer to early fall when there will be more depth and variety of flavors in the milk used to produce the cheese.
FRESH cheese is often used in cooking. Think ricotta, feta, goat cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese, fromage blanc, farmers cheese, Italian mascarpone...and my favorite - the fresh mozzarella made from water buffalo milk - Mozzarella di Bufala Campana.
Eaten with fresh tomatoes and basil with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil - truly sublime!
Think of Brie de Meaux or Brie de Melun, Camembert de Normandie, and the wonderfully rich Triple-Crème cheeses such as the French Brillat-Savarin, Pierre Robert and Boursin. Triple-Crème cheeses have a minimum fat content of 74%, which is why they taste so rich and fantastically good. While Double and Triple-Crème cheeses are grouped under the "BLOOMY RIND" cheese texture category, they deserve their own category which I have included as #9 below. Many cheeses in fact overlap from one type to another, depending on method of manufacture and length of aging.
3. WASHED-RIND cheeses have been rubbed and immersed in a solution of brine, wine, beer or grape brandy (marc) to bring about an exterior mold which causes the rind of the cheese to turn orange. The characteristic pronounced smell of WASHED-RIND cheeses is a result of the presence of this mold (in this case a very desirable mold and not a negative characteristic at all!). Sometimes these cheeses are called, fondly, "STINKY" cheeses due to their strong smell. But the taste is much milder than the smell might suggest! Mold is in fact a significant feature in 3 of the cheese categories - BLOOMY RIND, WASHED-RIND and BLUE-VEINED. The rind is edible and it surrounds a soft, or semi-soft interior. These cheeses are intense and aromatic. Some examples of WASHED-RIND cheeses are Muenster, Limburger, Tallegio and Pont l'Évêque.
Some common examples of SEMI-SOFT cheese are Morbier, Fontina, Tomme de Savoie.
Aged for 6 months+, these cheeses are wonderful for grating, crumbling or using as a topping in baked dishes. Think Cheddar, Gruyère, Manchego and for the VERY HARD cheeses, think Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino di Romano.
However, the moisture content in both types of cheese is very high and so the actual fat content is much lower, in the range of 20 to 35%. Thank Goodness! Please pass me another gooey slice of Brillat-Savarin!
Well-known DOUBLE-CRÈME cheeses include Gratte-Paille, Petit-Suisse and Mascarpone. TRIPLE-CRÈME cheeses include Boursin, Explorateur, Brillat-Savarin and Pierre Robert, among many others.
Mozzarella is a PASTA FILATA cheese, as are Provolone, Burrata and Asadero, among others.