The world of Artisan Cheese is exploding in popularity these days. With the banishment of the fat-free fad diets of decades past, consumers are becoming more adventurous in the world of handmade cheeses. Here at Bartlett's, we carry an array of regional cheeses from in and around New England, as well as many imported cheeses from around the globe. There are a variety of different milks that are used to make cheese. Cow's milk, goat's milk, sheep's milk, even buffalo milk. Here we will delve into what makes them different, and how best to pair and enjoy them. Happy reading!
Cow's Milk Cheese
The majority of the world's cheeses are produced using cow's milk, which is known for its creamy and mild flavor. Since cows produce more milk than sheep and goats, cow's milk cheeses are typically more affordable. Cheddar, provolone and gouda are all cow's milk cheeses, and familiar to most consumers. Cow's milk is also used for asiago, brie, grana padano and taleggio. Cheeses can range from soft to hard. Depending on the style, cow's milk cheeses are extremely versatile in cooking applications and as additions to a cheese board. Cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese and swiss cheeses are all made from cow's milk,
whose versatility knows no bounds.
Von Trapp Farmstead "Oma," and Jasper Hill Cellars "Landaff" are two of our favorites.
Goat's Milk Cheese
Most goat cheeses are produced in France, though domestic production has picked up since the 1990s. Goat cheese, or chre, has a tangy flavor and unique aroma, which differs slightly depending on how long it's aged. The fat content is similar to cow's milk cheeses, though the taste differs due to the fatty acids and what the goats are fed on. Goat milk contains less lactose than cow's milk, which lessens your exposure to this milk sugar, an important benefit if you're lactose-intolerant. Additionally, when compared to cow's milk, goat's milk provides more calcium, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B-6, selenium, copper and niacin. Like cow's milk cheeses, goat cheeses can range from soft to hard, and are also made into similar cow's milk varieties like goat Gouda, blue cheese, or cheddar. Typically, the tangy, soft goat chevre cheeses are well suited to complement fresh salads, dishes with fresh herbs, or crumbled on top of roasted vegetables, pizzas, and egg dishes.
Some of our favorite goat cheeses include
Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog, Bucherondin, and La Tur.
Sheep's Milk Cheese
Sheep's milk cheeses are almost always semi-soft and are known for their smooth texture and slightly oily property. Sheep's milk cheeses include feta, halloumi, manchego and pecorino Romano. Contrary to popular belief, sheep's milk is similar in flavor to cow's milk, exhibiting buttery qualities without the barnyard pungency that goat's milk sometimes can have.
Sheep's milk contains more total solids, fat, protein, carbohydrates, calcium and phosphorus than cow's and goat's milk. Sheep's milk is also highly nutritious, containing more vitamin A, B, and E than cow's milk. Both sheep's and goat's milk are more easily digested than cow's milk and have less lactose present in the milk as well. Sheep's milk is commonly made into cheese, butter and sometimes yogurt. The semi-hard varieties are well suited to light-bodied red wines, while the blue varieties would pair well with citrusy or sweet white wines or sherries. Pairing Sheep's cheeses with nuts, olives, and herbaceous breads and crackers are sure winners as they complement the nutty, savory and grassy notes present in the milk. Sheep feta is a fine choice for a little salty boost to a variety of dishes.
Some sheep's milk cheeses we love are
Manchego Artesano, P'tit Basque and Ossau Iraty.