In any more or less complete list of cheeses, which you might once come across, the special position belongs to the so called semi-hard cheeses. It sounds as if they were the mysterious Half-Blood Princes of the cheese realm. As their names imply, cheeses of this group must combine the attributes of soft and hard cheeses, while possessing their own original features. Besides, some cheese gourmets point out the vast array and wide popularity of semi-hard cheeses, which can be found in many different variations. So, let us make out what is so interesting about the cheeses of this type and why they are enjoyed so much all over the world.
Semi-hard or semi-firm cheeses are identified as a separate category mainly by their texture. The qualities of texture depend largely on the moisture content. The less moist a cheese is the harder texture it has. During the production process such cheeses are pressed to remove whey. Their ripening period usually takes more than two months, so they may get crumblier and gain more pungency with age. As a result, a semi-hard cheese is rather firm, but not so stiff and friable, and it normally contains 35-45% of moisture.
The cheeses of this category can be made from cow’s, goat’s and sheep’s milk. Due to the natural properties of the milk and the features of their manufacturing process, semi-firm cheeses have pliable elastic interiors and are characterized by mild earthy and nutty flavors. Some of them may also have holes or “eyes” which are formed by the effect of the gas before the cheese gets firmer. Other cheeses may be washed in special brines or even wines, or coated with fragrant herbs. It all makes semi-hard cheeses the classic elements of a fine cheeseboard. What is more, they are absolutely perfect for grating and melting, so never hesitate to add them to your snacks, salads and cooked or baked dishes. When paired with fresh fruit and aromatic jams, they may also serve as dainty desserts.
At Marky’s Gourmet Shop we are glad to provide you with a broad selection of exquisite high-quality products. Here we offer a short Semi-Hard Cheese List that covers some of the most superb and best-known cheeses.