Types of Cheese: Most Popular Ones Revealed

different types of cheese

Image from Pixabay

Cheese lovers know not all types of cheese are created equal, and even exotic and expensive types of cheese may not be the most popular. This staple food, which provides fat, carbohydrates and protein in a tasty, all-natural product, is loved worldwide but especially cherished in European countries. What types of cheese do connoisseurs pick when asked to rate types of cheese? We review the top ten best types of cheese available at the market or online. This list will help shoppers who want to try new types of cheese, and add to the knowledge of experienced cheese lovers.

Preview

Product

Price

Mozzarella Di Bufala Cheese, 8.8oz

Mozzarella Di Bufala Cheese, 8.8oz

Asiago Fresh Italian D.O.P. Cheese - 5 Pounds

Asiago Fresh Italian D.O.P. Cheese – 5 Pounds

Parmigiano Reggiano - 1 Pound

Parmigiano Reggiano – 1 Pound

igourmet Maytag Blue - Pound Cut (15.5 ounce)

igourmet Maytag Blue – Pound Cut (15.5 ounce)

igourmet Tillamook Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar (7.5 ounce)

igourmet Tillamook Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar (7.5 ounce)

French Brie Cheese - Soft Ripened Cheese - Triple Cream - 4.4Lb-Wheel

French Brie Cheese – Soft Ripened Cheese – Triple Cream – 4.4Lb-Wheel

Swiss Raclette Quarter Wheel (Approximately 2.5-3 lbs)

Swiss Raclette Quarter Wheel (Approximately 2.5-3 lbs)

Le Chatelain, Camembert, 8 Ounce

Le Chatelain, Camembert, 8 Ounce

Gruyere Cheese 14 Oz

Gruyere Cheese 14 Oz

Glacier Ridge Farms Smoked Gouda Gourmet Spreadable Cheese 8oz (One Cup)

Glacier Ridge Farms Smoked Gouda Gourmet Spreadable Cheese 8oz (One Cup)

FAQ about Types of Cheese

What Cheeses Are Most Nutritious?

Cheese is produced from milk, typically cow’s, sheep’s or goat’s milk. Alternative cheese for those who avoid all animal products or who cannot tolerate lactose, such as nut based (almond) cheese do exist but are rarely used because they lack casein, so don’t melt well. All milk cheeses are nutritious because they are high protein foods, but some consumers prefer to use goat or sheep types of cheese because the animals are commonly grass fed. If you are searching for organic cheese and cannot find it (or don’t want to pay) choose a cheese made from goat’s or sheep’s milk as they are usually less industrialized.

Is Cheese Unhealthy?

The debate about high fat versus low-fat diets rages on, so the answer here depends on whether you are limiting fat or have dairy intolerance, lactose intolerance, or a specific dairy allergy. Most people, especially those of Middle Eastern or European descent, digest all types of cheese well. Cheese in all forms is naturally high fat, but low-fat and non-fat versions are readily available. Cheese and bread is a complete protein that is a popular meal or snack in many countries where a variety of cheeses are produced in abundance.

How Is Cheese Made?

Cheese is processed through a fermented milk process, so the starting ingredient is some kind of milk. The milk is collected, stored, and left in the right temperature and humidity to curdle. The curds (solids) and whey are separated using a strainer. The curds product is used make both hard and soft cheeses, depending on the aging process, the environmental humidity, and added flavorings and chemical catalysts (including salt, which helps preservation). Cheese making is an art that requires patience and attention to detail and is handed down from one generation to the next.

Where Can You Buy Exotic Types of Cheese?

Cheese stores well, especially if refrigerated, so many types of cheese unavailable at the local market can be purchased online. Often, specialty or health food stores such as Whole Foods will order a specific cheese if requested. Most standard grocery stores carry most, if not all, popular types of cheese on our list.

What Countries Produce the Best Cheese?

Countries that have a long tradition of processing and perfecting cheese are known for great quality and taste. Depth of flavor and texture are also important considerations. European countries, specifically France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany, produce many fine cheeses. Middle Eastern countries, including Mediterranean regions, produce goat and sheep’s milk cheese of excellent quality, such as feta varieties from Greece, or hard white cheeses that come in many varieties in Israel, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. Other countries also produce regional cheeses, however, and local specialties can be of very high quality.

Is Cheese a High Calorie Food?

Cheese is dense and high calorie, so a little goes a long way. The fat content in cheese is naturally high, so low-fat and non-fat varieties can be relatively low in calories. Although high in calories, cheese is nutritionally dense and healthy in small to moderate amounts, which is how most people consume it. If you want to reduce calories, be aware the foods with lots of cheese such as pizza, macaroni and cheese, souffles, and fondue can be very high in calories.

How We Reviewed

wine and different cheeses

Image from Pixabay

We chose types of cheese that are popular based on sales and familiarity of the cheeses. Some of these products are quite familiar, others a little less well known. The review focuses on American purchases of different types of cheese, and popularity will vary by country.

Overall Price Range of This Product (and Similar Products)

Cheeses range in price from $10 to up to $50 for the same amount. Typically, a pound of cheese runs between $20 and $30.

What We Reviewed

Mozzarella

Mozzarella Di Bufala Cheese, 8.8oz

Mozzarella Di Bufala Cheese, 8.8oz

  • Made from Buffalo’s milk
  • Flavor: Mild
  • Recommended Wine: Chianti
  • Product of Italy
  • Ships Overnight

Flavor

Mozzarella is a type of cheese with a mild flavor that is distinct, unsalty, and delicious. It is known for a consistent taste, with a hint of milkiness. A palatable cheese, great for kids, that incorporates easily with other foods. This classic and widely popular cheese brings a mellow flavor with a faint whisper of tanginess. The flavor of mozzarella never overwhelms because it has a strong enough presence to work well by itself. Some will describe Mozzarella as having a hint of earthy sweet flavors as well. The taste of this cheese is subtle but unforgettable.

Texture

Silky, smooth and semi-soft but flexible. Considered one of the best consistencies of the top types of cheese because it holds together well and slices easily, yet can be separated by hand for picnics or placing on top of pizza.

Pros

  • Mellow but unique flavor
  • Range of textures
  • Works well with fruit

Cons

  • Texture can be variable
  • Piquant flavor can be too bold

Asiago

Asiago Fresh Italian D.O.P. Cheese - 5 Pounds

Asiago Fresh Italian D.O.P. Cheese – 5 Pounds

  • 5 pound (3.2 kilogram) – Weight Approximates
  • Ingredients: Pasteurized cow’s milk, salt, rennet
  • This cheese is often sliced to prepare panini or sandwiches and it can also be melted on a variety of dishes and cantaloupe
  • High Standards of Quality Control – We Ship with Ice Packs – Ships from New York
  • Product of Veneto, Italy

Flavor

Combines a sharp and fruity flavor in a classic cheese that ranges from crumbly to soft. Similar in flavor to parmesan, but stronger, Asiago is known to add a hint of Italy to any dish. It presents as sharp but the flavor soon recedes into mildness.

Texture

Ranges from a smoothy silk to a firm or crumbly texture.

Pros

  • Mellow but unique flavor 
  • Range of textures
  • Works well with fruit

Cons

  • Texture can be variable
  • Piquant flavor can be too bold

Parmigiano Reggiano

Parmigiano Reggiano - 1 Pound

Parmigiano Reggiano – 1 Pound

  • A wedge of one pound
  • Reggiano is a hard texture cheese, cooked but not pressed
  • Characterized by tiny white crystals grains

Flavor

A somewhat salty, somewhat tangy flavor. Has a bold presentation but not so bold as to overwhelm other foods. This cheese is known commonly as Parmesan, but the full name reveals the region in Italy where these types of cheese originate.

Texture

Hard, crumbly.

Pros

  • Great for sprinkling
  • A little goes a long way
  • Adds instant “Italian” flavor

Cons

  • Crumbly texture
  • Not a good choice for slices

Blue (Bleu) Cheeses

igourmet Maytag Blue - Pound Cut (15.5 ounce)

igourmet Maytag Blue – Pound Cut (15.5 ounce)

  • Ships expedited in an insulated package to ensure freshness
  • Made in the USA
  • Perfect bleu cheese to satisfy the most choosy of palettes
  • Pairs well with most wines, fruit and cheese platters
  • Top filet mignon or cheese burgers

Flavor

Bold, unique, tangy – there is nothing else like the assertive flavor of blue cheeses. The taste of blue involves an incredible depth of flavor, which means it will tend to assert its presence in all dishes, and is best eaten in small quantities, alone, or as a salad dressing.

Texture

Crumbly, although some versions are a little smoother depending on the aging process.

Pros

  • Adds elegance to any dish
  • Great for dressings
  • Pairs well with fruit
  • Compelling marbled appearance

Cons

  • Too strong for some tastes
  • Crumbly and doesn’t slice well

Sharp Cheddar

igourmet Tillamook Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar (7.5 ounce)

igourmet Tillamook Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar (7.5 ounce)

  • Ships expedited in an insulated package to ensure freshness
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Aged over 15 months to give it the most robust, most complex flavor
  • A delicious complement to smoked salmon on a cheese board
  • A must-have ingredient in homemade sauces

Flavor

The taste of this popular cheese can range from mild to quite sharp and stands on its own well. Its flavor is bold and simple and usually lacks depth. Some consider the flavor of cheddar to be difficult to pin down because the amount of sharpness determines the flavor in most cheddar varieties.

Texture

Cheddar comes in various textures, just as it comes in a range of sharpness. It can be relatively crumbly, but modern methods provide for smoother cheddar varieties that are better for thin slices. Even when the texture of a block of cheddar is crumbly, the cheese keeps a smooth creaminess, so it is texturally complex.

Pros

  • Rich flavor
  • Range of sharpness
  • Range of crumbly to smoothe

Cons

  • Common cheese
  • Sharp flavor can overwhelm sandwiches
  • Lacks depth

Brie

French Brie Cheese - Soft Ripened Cheese - Triple Cream - 4.4Lb-Wheel

French Brie Cheese – Soft Ripened Cheese – Triple Cream – 4.4Lb-Wheel

  • 4.4 Lbs / 2Kg
  • Triple Cream Brie Cheese
  • No Preservatives, No Colorings, No Artificial Flavors
  • Made from Cow’s Milk & Hormones-Free Cream
  • Imported from France

Flavor

Brie is mild and forgiving and very similar to Camembert styles of cheese. The flavor is mild enough to work well with fruits but strong enough to be added to sandwiches. Typically, this type of cheese comes on cheese boards with its white rind and pie-shaped wedge.

Texture

Silky and semi-soft.

Pros

  • Silky texture
  • Adds fanciness to any cheese board
  • Mild and unique flavor

Cons

  • Rind makes it impractical for sandwiches
  • Crust appearance not always a hit

Swiss Cheese

Swiss Raclette Quarter Wheel (Approximately 2.5-3 lbs)

Swiss Raclette Quarter Wheel (Approximately 2.5-3 lbs)

  • Imported from Switzerland
  • Cow’s Milk
  • Semi-soft Texture
  • Excellent for Melting or Fondue
  • Picture depicts a quarter wheel

Flavor

The taste of swiss is unique. It has a tanginess that sets it apart from other types of cheese, but also a mildness. The tangy flavor comes through with the first bite, but fades away fairly quickly.

Texture

Silky but firm. Slices well, and is a hard cheese. Never crumbly.

Pros

  • Stands on its own or mixes with fruits or bread
  • Unique “holey” appearance
  • Popular as the gateway to “exotic” cheeses

Cons

  • Unique flavor not for everyone
  • Doesn’t melt well

Camembert

Le Chatelain, Camembert, 8 Ounce

Le Chatelain, Camembert, 8 Ounce

  • Specialty Cheese

Flavor

Mild and tangy, with a hint of piquancy, and without any saltiness, this cheese doesn’t shout but quietly states its case. The flavor is a bit too tangy and “moldy” for some but isn’t strong. This cheese has such a great texture that flavor is a secondary consideration for some cheese lovers.

Texture

Silky and pudding-like with a hard, whitish crust.

Pros

  • Unique tangy flavor
  • Creamy texture
  • Instant “fancy” spread
  • Pairs well with bread and crackers

Cons

  • Can be messy
  • Crust appearance not always a hit
  • Too runny to slice

Gruyère Cheese

Gruyere Cheese 14 Oz

Gruyere Cheese 14 Oz

  • Made from Cow’s milk
  • Flavor: Nutty and Sweet
  • Recommended Wine: Reisling, Alsace
  • Product of Switzerland
  • Hand cut to order

Flavor

This cheese offers a unique flavor with a whisper of sweetness and an underlying mild sharp taste. The flavor is dependent on the age of the cheese, more than other types of cheese. Melts wonderfully and pairs well with both bread and fruit, and is often used in fondue

Texture

Depends on how aged the cheese is; can range from hard and grainy to creamy depending on its age.

Pros

  • Can be grated, sliced, or melted
  • Medium rich flavor
  • Full spectrum of flavors
  • Extremely versatile

Cons

  • Flavor can vary by batch
  • Somewhat expensive

Gouda

Glacier Ridge Farms Smoked Gouda Gourmet Spreadable Cheese 8oz (One Cup)

Glacier Ridge Farms Smoked Gouda Gourmet Spreadable Cheese 8oz (One Cup)

  • Great for pasta recipes, potato topping, vegetable dip & sandwich spread!
  • Microwaveable. Remove lid and film.
  • Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat as needed. Caution: Product will be hot.
  • Made with 100% Natural Cheese
  • Delicious hot or cold

Flavor

This Dutch produced cheese is the perfect accompaniment for any cheese board. The flavor is sharp and its golden color makes for a great presentation. Gouda is a rich tasting cheese, typically made from cow’s milk, that is popular with its balance of mildness and boldness.

Texture

Gouda is a very hard cheese, but smooth rather than crumbly.

Pros

  • Golden color
  • Hard but silky
  • Rich with plenty of flavor depth

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Not great for sandwiches
  • Doesn’t melt well

The Verdict

It is difficult to rate cheeses with finality because their popularity relies so much on individual taste. Some cheese lovers prefer bold flavors like cheddar, or unique cheeses like Swiss or blue cheese, but many prefer a cheese that will blend in to other dishes. For unique flavor that doesn’t offend, for a great texture, and for versatility, the best cheese is gruyere. Mozzarella is the top pick for an every day cheese, however. It works well on a fruit board, is great for sandwiches, and blends nicely with other cheeses. For a special occasion? Go with Camembert on a board with some fancy crackers or bread!

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