Here are the groups of cheeses:

• Fresh cheese (cottage cheese, cream cheese, mascarpone, fresh goat cheese, mozzarella, ricotta, fromage blanc) These cheeses are very mild, soft and moist (Yeah baby! Yeah!)

 Soft, or rind-ripped cheese (Brie or Camembert) Velvety smooth, soft and creamy in texture. This type of cheese ripens from the outside to the center and is good with bread, crackers and wine.

• Semi-soft cheese (Muenster, Port, Monterey Jack, Gouda) These cheeses are more solid than soft and have a wax rind. They’re good for slicing but not grating. They’re great for a cheese board and wonderful on sandwiches.

• Hard Cheese (Cheddar, Gruyere, Asiago) Hard cheese is good for slicing and grating. It’s dryer than semi-soft cheeses and perfect for melting into omelets, sandwiches, sauces and casseroles.

Grating Cheeses (Parmesan, Romano) These cheeses are usually grated because they tend to crumble easily. They are also known as pasta cheese.

• Blue Veined Cheese (Roquefort, Gorgonzola) These are smooth, creamy and a little stinky but damn delicious. They’re great for after dinner, served with bread crackers, grapes and a good port.

Quick Tips
To prevent mozzarella from getting stringy when cooked, add an acid such as lemon juice or white wine. If possible, go to a market that allows you to sample the cheese before buying it. Look the cheese over; there should be no cracks, bruises or mold (unless you are buying a blue-veined cheese.)Bring ripened cheese to room temperature before serving in order to get the most flavor.

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