Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

cheese always made from milk, is in other respects of great variety. Its taste may be almost imperceptible, as in some fresh cream cheese, or very strong, as in the most aged blue cheeses. The texture, which depends largely on water content, can be virtually liquid, as in a ripe brie, or dry and friable, as in many kinds of grating cheeses. The fat content ranges from 1 per cent (schabziger) to 75 per cent (the richest cream cheeses such as Brillat-Savarin).

Size also varies greatly. Some tiny goat’s milk cheeses weigh less than 25 gm (1 oz), a mere five-thousandth of the 130 kg (290 lb) of certain cheeses of the gruyère family; and this is without counting freaks such as the 1,250 lb (567 kg) cheddar cheese made in 1840 by a group of Somerset farmers as a wedding present for Queen Victoria.