A perfect balance of moisture and aridity, these cheeses provide a firm, slightly springy texture with a delicate blend of savoury and tangy flavours. Usually dense in consistency, the cheese is often made by compressing curds into a solid, draining them of any remaining whey in the process. Taken directly from their moulds, some cheeses (i.e. Gouda, Edam and Jarlsberg) receive a coating of wax, thus avoiding the need for brine. Typically, semi-hard cheeses are aged anywhere between 1 and 6 months depending on each specific type.
Having aged less than half a year, semi-hard cheeses are characterised by their relatively mild taste and aroma. Due to the lack of moisture, the fragrance rarely pronounces itself too strongly. Semi-hard cheeses often are characterized by soft touches of hazelnuts and seared butter, along with a diverse line-up of mellow nuances. Semi-hard cheese melts and spreads evenly when grated, with firmer and slightly older cheeses guaranteeing neat slices every time. Opting to grate the cheese yourself delivers a clearer palate than shop-bought variants, which tend to be a mixture of multiple types.
Often wearing a wax or cloth coating, semi-hard cheeses with natural rinds are edible all the way through, intensifying in flavour towards the exterior.
A roster of adored classics, semi-hard cheeses show their full beauty when served beside vibrant flavours of fresh fruit or a deep red wine.
Hardly ever in need of introduction, this English treasure has become a permanent resident in global cuisine. Cheddar has a maturity anywhere between 2 months to over 2 years. Depending on the age, Cheddar can be found with a diverse range of textures and tastes. Some are even mixed with chilli, black pepper and onion.
Pair with a dry red wine, zesty pear and roasted nuts.
Sharing a name with its town of origin, Gouda features a lightly beige-coloured body made using milk from either sheep, cows or goats. It has a sweet and nutty flavour, often with a light and mild aroma. As it ages, flavours become more piquant and the texture crystallises.
Pair with a slightly bitter beer or a deep red wine.
This gentle Dane is easily recognised by its interspersed eyes and near-white interior. Loved for its creamy consistency, it offers a smooth and subtle flavour. As it ages, its profile increasingly resembles that of Cheddar - both in taste and texture.
Pair with a light white wine or a simple pilsner beer.
A cheese plastered in history and tradition, Gruyère acquires its flavours from rich cow’s milk. The texture is flaky and granular with age, with younger variants being denser. Revealing full-bodied, fruity tones, the flavours slowly journey towards nutty and earthy with a mild finish.
Pair with berry jam, sliced pear and grapes.