They all have a ripening process. Hand made, artisan, white mould cheeses like Camembert and Brie undergo a ripening process similar to that of avocados or bananas. When they are first made, the cheeses are firm and chalky in texture. As time passes the cheese cultures work on the fats and proteins in the cheese, and they change the texture to a luscious soft and creamy one, and the colour turns to a deep golden yellow. The cheese flavour also increases and is at its best at this point – which is usually around 1 week off the ‘best before’ date.
How can you check if the cheese is at its best eating?
Gently squeeze the sides of the cheese — it should feel like a ripe avocado — or unwrap the cheese and cut it open at room temperature — if it still looks chalky in the centre, simply rewrap it in its original wrapper so it doesn’t dry out and pop it back it the fridge for a few more days.
Always leave cheeses out of the refrigerator for at least an hour before eating to enjoy the best flavours.
Mass made commercial cheeses don’t undergo this process as the way they are manufactured
don’t allow for this process — they are simply the same from the day they made until they expire and consequently lack the flavour and character of Artisan cheeses.
Keep your eye out for handmade artisan cheeses – if you are going to eat cheese, it might as well be a beautiful one!
[from Juliet at Over The Moon Organics]