Whether you prefer soft or hard, aged or fresh, stinky or not, there's no denying that cheese is a much-loved food staple to many. It’s no wonder that it has a day of its own to allow us to celebrate and indulge. A recent survey by Taste Atlas found these to be the most popular cheeses:
Camembert, made from cow's milk, has a soft, creamy interior while its exterior is covered with a white, mouldy rind. When ‘ripe’, it has an intense, pungent smell and flavour.
Gorgonzola, aka ‘stinky cheese’, was first produced in 879 AD in Gorgonzola, a town outside Milan. Made with cow's milk and distinguished by a blue marbling of mould, the blue veining is created by inoculating the milk with penicillin spores.
Paneer is made from cow's or water buffalo's milk and has a soft, crumbly texture. It has origins in India and Bangladesh and dates back to 6000 BC. It is often used in curries and, unlike most cheeses, does not involve rennet in the production process, making it vegetarian friendly.
Brie is a soft French cheese made from cow's milk. It has a delicate rind covered in white mould. It is important to let Brie reach room temperature before eating to fully appreciate its flavours.
Parmigiano Reggiano or Parmesan as it is more commonly called, is considered to be among the world's top-quality cheeses. It is made with semi-skimmed cow’s milk and has a hard, gritty texture. Its flavours range from nutty to robust and slightly piquant, depending on how long it has matured.
Ricotta is a soft cheese made from sheep's, cow's, goat's or Italian water buffalo's milk. Technically it is not a cheese but a creamy curd made by reheating the whey, a by-product of cheesemaking, hence the name ricotta which means re-cooked.
Feta is a Greek cheese made from sheep's milk or a mixture of sheep's and goat's milk and one of the key ingredients in a Greek salad. It is made in large square molds and preserved in wooden barrels filled with brine to keep it fresh and preserve its acidity.
Cheddar, a cow's milk cheese, is one of the most popular cheeses in the world and was first produced in Cheddar, England in the 12th century. It is a hard cheese and ranges from white to pale yellow in colour. When young, it has a smooth texture but becomes crumblier and gets a sharper flavour when left to mature.
The top cheese in the world is Mozzarella, a soft, stretched curd cheese made with water buffalo’s or cow's milk. The ancient tradition of making mozzarella dates back to the 4th century BC with the first reference to its name found in a 1570 cookbook.