Semi-firm cheese: Satisfying & Easy to Love

Tomme de Savoie

Welcome to Part Seven of the “Cheese In Depth” Series.  In the last installment, we explored the delectable realm of funky, stinky cheeses – the Washed Rind style.  Now it’s time to move on to something a bit more subdued…cheeses of the semi-firm variety:  mild, buttery and sliceable with a butter knife.

Usually when I tell people people I am a cheese educator, I’m met with an unabashed “Wow, cool, I love cheese!”  Every so often, though, someone confesses that they don’t really like cheese.  Among those rare few, there are a small number of genuine caseophobes, people who genuinely don’t like the texture, for instance,  and will not be swayed.  For most, though, I believe they just haven’t met the right cheese.

There’s a cheese for everyone — though not everyone will like every cheese.

Because we are part of a culture unfamiliar with savoring cheeses and other complex fermented foods — foods that are alive with biologic and enzymatic activity — we tend to be a bit squeamish about unfamiliar things.

Foods which ripen and eventually rot are mysterious. Many harbor secret fears of rinds or blue veining or pungent, aromatic qualities. Understandably so…they aren’t part of our collective experience.

Even still, my mantra is that there’s a cheese for everyone — though not everyone will like every cheese.  As an educator and advocate for good cheese, I look at it like a mystery waiting to be solved.

Semi-firm cheeses can be an ideal starting point for those just beginning their cheese exploration.

As I begin my sleuthing for the perfect match for the timid taster, I often look to the mellow and easy going flavors of the semi-firm (a.k.a. “sliceable”) cheese style as a gateway to greater cheese bliss.

With their gentle, buttery nuances, the semi-firm cheese flavor profile is pleasant and the texture familiar making it an ideal starting point for exploration for those who have yet to be charmed by cheese.

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