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ImportedCheeses2Many cheese are now imported, the majority coming from France. Discounting the New Zealand and Canadian Cheddars, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Holland and Switzerland are the biggest cheese exporters.

Several of these foreign cheese do not differ widely in taste from hard English cheeses, while others, especially pungent cheeses such as Emmenthal, Gruyére, Parmesan and the German Tilsit, have a flavour of their own. All the continental cheeses make ideal table cheeses, for cooking, however, it is best to use foreign cheeses only when they are specified in a recipe - more often the strong flavoured Emmenthal, Gruyére or Parmesan - since the mild, delicate flavours of many imported cheeses is easily lost during cooking.

When buying continental cheeses look for the same qualities expected in British cheese - moist without being wet or having a 'sweated' look, and firm without appearing to be dried out.

Bel Paese - One of the most famous of Italian cheese, Bel Paese has an ivory colour and a thin, dark yellow rind. Soft and compact, this cheese has a delicate, slightly salty flavour. It is usually served as a dessert cheese, but it may also be used in cooking.

ImportedCheeses3Bergkäse - Dull yellow with a dark brown rind, this hard Austrian cheese has a high fat content and a mild, nutty flavour.

Caciocavallo - A hard, Italian curd cheese usually made in a pear shape with a ball at the top. The cheese is white to straw-coloured, sometimes with a few holes, and the rind smooth and thin with thread-like surface marks. It has a mild, semi sweet flavour.

Danbo - Mild flavoured and firm textured, this Danish cheese is easily recognised by its regular, even sized holes. Sometimes it is given an added - and unusual - taste with caraway seeds.

ImportedCheeses5Danish Blue - This cheese is also known as Danablu, and was invented in 1914, at the beginning of the First World War, when the importation of Italian veined cheese into Denmark was curtailed. The strong salty flavour of this white cheese with its close blue veins diminishes as it matures. Made from homogenised milk with a high cream content, it has a soft, slightly crumbly texture.

Dolcelatte - One of the most famous of Italian veined cheeses, Dolcelatte is off-white in colour and has blue-green veins running through it. Full, robust flavour and creamy moist texture.

Edam - This Dutch cheese has a mild flavour and a slightly rubbery consistency. It is always encased in a red wax rind. Edam is not unlike Gouda cheese in flavour. The difference between the two cheeses is due to the fact Edam is made from partly skimmed milk, while Gouda is made from whole milk.

Edeloilz - White around the edges, mottled blue at the centre, this German cheese has a strong flavour and crumbly texture.

ImportedCheeses9Emmenthal - Originally from Switzerland, Emmenthal is now also produced in Germany and Denmark, but there is little difference in the flavour. The best kind of Emmenthal is made from milk of the highest quality. The cheese is dull yellow, with holes the size of cherries. It has a distinctive nutty taste. Suitable as a dessert and cooking cheese.

Fetta - A Greek semi-soft curd cheese made from ewes milk. White and very salty, mainly served with salads.

Fontina - This is produced in the mountains of Northern Italy near the Swiss border. It is a soft, fat cheese, slight straw-coloured and with a few holes. The orange-coloured rind is often slightly thicker than on other cheeses. Imitations of this cheese are Fontal and Fontinella.

ImportedCheeses12Gorgonzola -Probably the best-known Italian cheese, named after the village of Gorgonzola near Milan where Shepard of Lombardy spend their winters. The cheese is straw-coloured, mottled with green and has a coarse, brown rind. Sharp flavour,sometimes slightly spiced. Ideally, Gorgonzola should be firm and fairly dry.

Gouda - A creamy tasting soft Dutch cheese with a high butter fat content. Produced in squat moulds, it is golden-yellow in colour. This cheese is not recommended for cooking.

Gruyére - Widely used for cooking because of its full flavour, Gruyére is a hard Swiss cheese, pale yellow in colour honey-comes with holes and having a brown, wrinkled rind. It is higher in butterfat than Emmenthal and has smaller holes. Gruyére is excellent as an appetiser, cooking or dessert cheese.

ImportedCheeses15Halumi - Similar to Fetta,but mature after one month, this cheese is excellent grilled or fried, and has a rubber texture, best eaten soon after purchase.

Limburger - A soft cheese with very strong smell and a spicy taste. It is made from whole cows milk. The rind is Brown and shiny, and the cheese inside is bright yellow, with few holes.

Molbo - A mild-flavoured Danish cheese which has a slightly acid after-taste. Close textured with a sprinkling of holes, the cheese is pale yellow with a red rind.

Mozzarella - Moulded into a flask, egg or ball shape and tied with raffia, this soft, compact Italian curd cheese has a fairly thick rind and a slightly sour taste. It is mainly used as a staple ingredient for the fillings of pizzas.

ImportedCheeses18Parmesan - Strictly Parmigiano Reggiano, Parmesan is another of the better known hard Italian cheeses. It is off-white inside its black rind, and strong and fragrant which makes it excellent cooking cheese. In grated form, Parmesan is one of the staples of the Italian kitchen, being added to soups, polenta, vegetable dishes and pasta.

Provolone - A hard Italian curd cheese made in many different shapes - truncated cone, pear, melon or sausage - and tied with strings. The thin, smooth rind varies from yellow to brown, while the cheese itself is creamy-white. Delicate and sweet after an average ripening of two or three months, it becomes spicy and almost sharp if kept longer, or if the curd has been prepared with kids rennet. A lightly smoked variety is also obtainable.

Quargel - An Austrian cheese made in small rounds, yellow at the edges and white in the centre, Piquant flavour.

ImportedCheeses21Ricotta - Soft, bland Italian cheese with a distinctly ridged rind, Made from sheep milk and a low fat content, it is used in dishes, such as lasagne.

Samsoe - A mild flavoured Danish cheese with a sweet, nutty flavour. Yellow coloured with a firm texture and shiny round holes.

Schlosskäse - A mild flavoured soft Austrian cheese, pale yellow in colour with a heavily creased rind.

Tilsit - Originally made by Dutch settles in East Prussia, this German cheese is also produced in Switzerland and Scandinavia. Tilsit is a savoury, straw coloured slicing cheese, easily recognisable by its loaf shape and small, irregular holes. It has a sharp, slightly sour taste.

ImportedCheeses26Trappistenkäse - Pale yellow cheese with a rich yellow rind, Trappistenkäse is a mild flavoured, semi-soft German cheese made in loaves or bars. It has a firm consistency with round or slitted holes.

Vacherin - Off-white in colour with a rough, mottled rind. This mild-flavoured, semi-soft Swiss cheese is good for spreading, it is also in short supply.

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