It feels like heaven when the cheese melts down inside the mouth while spreading its silky and creamy flavor. Cheese is addictive. It gets on you and binds all your senses with its delicious aroma. Till date I have not come across any person who doesnât like cheese. He/she may not like it much but then one can never say that they do not like it at all.
Today, there are more than 400 varieties of cheese. But more the varieties more are the ways to gain weight. It happens to be a definite source of calcium but sadly can also be high in saturated fat. As per the registered dietitians, cheese must be consumed carefully otherwise it would have an adverse effect on our body. Have an eye on low-fat versions and the intake of full-fat gourmet cheese must be controlled.
Itâs an absolute necessity to know the cheese groups in order to control your intake of cheese. But no standard way of cheese group classifying exists. Some classify it based on origin while others take in to account on its softness and hardness. Below are some recognizable cheese categories:
1. Soft cheese
As the name suggests, this cheese is soft and creamy and contains whey in it. It is to be consumed soon as it has shorter shelf-life. Example: Cottage cheese, mozzarella, ricotta, cream cheese etc.
2. Semi-soft cheese
Semi-soft in texture, this cheese is usually very pale in color. This easy to slice cheese is flavored with dried vegetables and/or spices. Example: gourmet cheeses Brie and Camembert, monterey jack and muenster.
3. Hard/aged cheese
Due to the lack of moisture, these cheeses are hard to touch as a result they are good for grating and have a longer shelf-life. As far as their flavor is concerned, they have an intense flavor. Example: Parmigiano-Reggiano, asiago, and gruyere.
4. Washed-rind cheeses
According to the traditions of each region, these strongly flavored cheeses are bathed in a wash of salted water, liquor(wine/brandy) and local spirits. The process of bathing maintains high amount of moisture and hence affects the color and texture. The exterior are of bright orange or brown and the interior is often soft and pungent. Example: tallegio and limburger.
5. Blue/blue-veined cheeses
As the name suggests, these have markings in the shades of blue. These very strong flavored cheeses get their blue color from the special mold in which they are made. Specialty of blue cheeses are that they crumble easily, which makes them ideal for salads. Example: gorgonzola, danish blue cheese, and roquefort.
6. Processed cheese
Processed cheeses are the ones where the natural cheese is combined with emulsifiers or artificial flavors. This process enhances the shelf-life.
Some healthy ways to eat your cheese are as below:
a. Try semi-soft cheese slices to apple and relish the combo.
b. Prepare a roll-up of deli sliced turkey breast with low fat cheese.
c. Take one whole-grain bruschetta. Top it with lots of fresh tomatoes and garnish it with Parmigiano-Reggiano.
d. Mix fat-free cream cheese and smoked salmon together and savor it to satisfy your taste-buds.
e. Prepare a healthy salad by mixing sweet potato and steamed broccoli with low-fat cottage cheese.
f. Eat dried figs, apricots, pears and other favorite fruits with gorgonzola.
g. Top a bowl of berries with small slices of Brie.
h. Keep microplane cheese grater in your kitchen, use it to get very thin slice or grate of flavorful cheese. This way you would cut on the cheese intake.
i. Go for quality cheese instead of quantity.