Cheese + Specialty

Curating a superlative collection of artisanal cheeses from local pastures

Whether you are planning an event or grabbing a snack, you will easily find delicious cheese at reasonable prices. Our staff is delighted to provide recommendations for pairings or information about our quality products. 

Cheese Catagories


Fresh Cheeses have not been aged, or are very slightly cured. These cheeses have a high moisture content and are usually mild. They have a very creamy taste and soft texture.  Examples include Italian Style Mascarpone, and Ricotta, Chevre, Feta, Cream Cheese, Quark and Cottage Cheese.


Soft-Ripened Cheeses are ripened from the outside in, very soft and even runny at room temperature. The most common soft-ripened cheeses have a white, bloomy edible rind that is sometimes flecked with red or brown. Examples include brie and camembert styles, triple crèmes, as well as particular branded cheeses produced throughout North America.


Semi-soft Cheeses have a smooth, generally, creamy interior with little or no rind.  These cheeses are generally high in moisture content and range from very mild to very pungent.  Examples include blue cheeses, colby, fontina styles, havarti and Monterey Jack. Many washed rind cheeses fall into this category.


Firm/Hard Cheeses vary in style and flavor, ranging from very mild to sharp and pungent. Texturally, they can be elastic at room temperature to very hard (needing to be grated). Examples include gouda, most cheddars, dry jack, Swiss (Emmenthaler) styles, Gruyere styles, many “tomme” styles and Parmesan styles.


Blue Cheeses have a distinctive blue/green veining, created when the penicillium roqueforti mold (necessary for the cheesemaking making process) is exposed to air. This mold provides a distinct flavor to the cheese, which ranges from fairly mild to assertive and pungent. Blue cheeses are found in all of the categories above, except for fresh cheeses. Examples include French (roquefort), Italian (gorgonzola) and Danish blue styles.


Washed Rind Cheeses are surface-ripened by washing the cheese throughout the aging process with brine, beer, wine, brandy, or a mixture of ingredients, which encourages the growth of bacteria. The exterior rind of washed rind cheeses may vary from bright orange to brown,  with flavor and aroma profiles that are quite pungent, yet the interior of these cheeses is most often semi-soft and, sometimes, very creamy. Examples include some tomme-style cheeses, triple-crème, and semi-soft cheeses, similar to Epoisses, Livarot and Taleggio.


Natural Rind Cheeses have self-formed rinds, grown during the aging process. Generally, no molds or microflora are added, nor is washing used to create the exterior rinds. Natural Rind Cheeses that do exhibit molds and microflora in their rinds get them naturally from the environment. Most natural rind cheeses are aged for many weeks to develop their flavor as well as the rinds. Many “tomme” style cheeses fall into this category, especially the French Tomme de Savoie and Mimolette, as well as the English Stilton (also a blue), and Lancashire cheeses.


Pasta Filata Cheese are mostly of Italian origin. The pasta filata cheeses are cooked and kneaded or spun. This family of cheeses can range from very fresh to hard grating cheeses, depending on the cheese and the producer. Examples includes Italian style Mozzarella, Provolone, and Scamorza.

Additional Resoures:

A printable Local Cheese Pairing Guide. All items listed are available at Linden Hills Co-op.

An engaging story about the process of making Pamigiano Reggiano, featured in the New York Times.