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Soft Cheeses


soft cheese = soft paste cheese   Cheeses in this category are often spread on bread or crackers to be served as snacks.  They're usually not used for cooking.  Most soft cheeses should be used within a few days of purchase--they spoil faster than firmer cheeses.  



Boursault   Pronunciation:  boor-SOH  Notes:  This is a soft-ripened, triple crème French cheese that very rich and mild.  For best flavor, serve at room temperature.  Substitutes: Brillat-Savarin OR Caprice des Dieux OR St. Andre OR Excelsior OR Brie OR Camembert

Brie  Pronunciation:  BREE  Notes:  This French cheese is rich, mild, and creamy, and it's soft enough to spread easily on crackers or bread.  As with Camembert cheese, the Brie name isn't protected so there are lots of mediocre knock-offs on the market.  Look for French Bries--they're much better than their American counterparts.   The rind is edible.  For best flavor, wait until it's perfectly ripe and warmed to room temperature before serving it.  Substitutes: Camembert  OR Explorateur OR Paglietta OR Carre de l'Est OR Coulommiers OR Reblochon


Brillat Savarin cheese   Pronunciation:  bree-YAH sah-vah-RAHN   Notes:  This soft triple crème French cheese is rich, buttery, and mild, though some find it a bit sour and salty.   Substitutes:  Boursault OR Caprice des Dieux OR St. Andre OR Excelsior 


Brinza cheese = Brynza cheese = Bryndza cheese Pronunciation:   BRIN-zuh  Notes:   Look for this salty sheep's milk cheese in Eastern European markets.  It's spreadable when young, but becomes crumbly as it ages.  Like Feta, it's good in salads or melted on pizza.     Substitutes:  feta (saltier)



bryndza  See brinza.

brynza  See brinza


Camembert  Pronunciation:  CAH-muhn-BARE  Notes:  This popular soft-ripened cheese is buttery rich and wonderful to spread on hot French bread.   The name's not protected, so there are lots of Camemberts of varying quality on the market.  Try to get a French raw milk Camembert--our pasteurized domestic versions are bland in comparison.   Use within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature.  Substitutes:  Brie  OR Explorateur OR Paglietta 


Caprice des Dieux   Pronunciation:  cah-PREES-day-DYOO   Notes:   This oval French cheese resembles Camembert and Brie.   Substitutes:  Camembert OR Brie OR Brillat-Savarin OR St. Andre OR Boursault   

Carré de l'est = Carre de l'Est  Pronunciation:  kar-RAY-duh-LEST  Notes:   This is a square washed rind, moderately stinky cheese from France.   Substitutes:   Epoisses OR Pont-l'Evêque OR Maroilles OR Brie OR Camembert  


Chaource cheese  Pronunciation:  shah-OORSE  Notes:   This French cheese is similar to Brie and Camembert, but creamier and more acidic.  It's good with champagne.  Substitutes: Camembert OR Brie  


Coulommiers   Pronunciation:  koo-lum-YAY  Notes:  This soft-ripened French cheese resembles Brie and Camembert.  Substitutes: Brie OR Camembert OR Chaource

Crema Danica = Crema Dania  Pronunciation:  CREHM-uh DAHN-ik-uh Substitutes:   Camembert OR Brie

Crescenza  See Stracchino.

Epoisses = Epoisses de Bourgogne  Pronunciation:   ay-PWAHZ Notes:  This well-regarded French cheese is a member of the washed-rind or "stinky" family of cheeses, but it's a bit more subtle than Limburger, Livarot, or other siblings.  It's a little runny when ripe.  The rind is edible--taste it to see if you like it.  Substitutes:  Pont-l'Evêque OR Maroilles OR Muenster

Excelsior  Substitutes:  Boursault OR Brillat-Savarin


Explorateur = l'Explorateur   Pronunciation:  ex-plor-ah-TUR  Notes:  This soft, creamy French cheese is rich and complex.   Substitutes:  Brie OR Camembert

feta   Pronunciation:  FEH-tuh  Notes:  This salty, crumbly cheese is common in Greek cuisine.  It's often stored in brine; if so, you might want to rinse it before using to remove some of the saltiness.  Use within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature.  Substitutes:  Brinza (similar but hard to find) OR Haloumi OR cotija OR ricotta salata (better than feta) OR aged chevre  

hand = handkäse = handkase = harzer kase = harzer käse   Notes:   This German washed rind cheese is pungent and stinky.  It's good with beer, but it would over-power most wines.   Substitutes:  Mainz OR Harz OR Limburger 


Harz  Substitutes:  Mainz OR Hand OR Limburger OR Maroilles OR Livarot OR Brick (milder) OR Liederkranz (milder) Notes: Use within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature.


Humboldt fog cheese  Notes:  This excellent soft-ripened goat cheese has a layer of vegetable ash running down the middle.  It's an excellent table cheese.  The rind is edible, and fairly good.  Substitutes:  Morbier OR Brie


kochkäse = kochkase  Notes:  This German cheese is easy to spread.  It's great on crackers and rye bread.

Liederkranz   Pronunciation:  LEE-der-krantz  Notes:    This cheese was invented by German-American Emil Frey, who wanted to make a domestic version of Limburger cheese. Borden acquired the brand after Frey died, and later sold the brand to a New Zealand outfit. It's hard, and perhaps impossible, to find in the United States. Substitutes:  Schloss (very similar) OR Brick OR Limburger (sharper) OR Maroilles OR Livarot OR Harz OR Mainz OR Hand   Notes:  Use within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature.


Livarot   Pronunciation:  LEE-vah-roh   Notes:  This excellent French cheese is in the washed-rind or "stinky" family.  Though pungent, it's not as overpowering as Limburger.  The rind is edible, but it's not for faint-hearted.  Substitutes:  Maroilles OR Limburger OR Harz OR Mainz OR Hand OR Brick (milder) OR Liederkranz (milder)

Mainz  Substitutes:  Harz OR Hand OR Limburger OR Brick (milder) OR Schloss (milder) Notes:  Use within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature.


Manouri cheese   Notes:  This Greek sheep's and goat's milk cheese is similar to feta, only creamier and less salty.  Substitutes:  feta OR ricotta salata

Maroilles  Pronunciation:  mahr-WAHL  Notes:   This is a stinky washed-rind cheese from France that smells worse than it tastes.  You probably don't want to eat the pungent rind.  Use within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature.   Substitutes:  Livarot OR Pont-l'Evêque OR Reblochon OR Harz OR Mainz OR Hand OR Limburger 

Paglietta   Notes:  This soft Italian cheese resembles Brie and Camembert.  Use it within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature.  Substitutes:  Camembert OR Brie 


Pont-l'Evêque = Pont l'Eveque   Pronunciation:  POHN-luh-VEK   Notes:  This ancient and well-regarded French cheese isn't as stinky as other washed rind cheeses.   It's best not to eat the rind.   Substitutes:  Reblochon OR Camembert (not as stinky) OR Maroilles (stinkier) 



Reblochon cheese  Pronunciation:  reh-bloh-SHOHN  Notes:   This rich and creamy French cheese is quite mild for a washed rind cheese, but it's complex enough to be popular with gourmets.  The rind is edible, but too pungent for many people.   Substitutes:  Pont-l'Evêque OR Brie OR Beaumont OR Esrom OR Beaufort OR tomme (nuttier taste) OR raclette OR Port Salut OR fontina


ricotta salata  Pronunciation:  rih-COH-tah sah-LAH-tah   Notes:  This mild sheep's milk cheese is used more for cooking than snacking.  It's great in salads or in pasta dishes.  Look for it in Italian markets.  Substitutes:  feta (more pungent) OR Manouri   



robiola   Pronunciation:  roh-bee-OH-lah   Notes:   Two distinctly different cheeses go by the name robiola:  Robiola Piemonte is a fresh cheese that's often used on pizza, while robiola Lombardia is an aged, tan-colored soft cheese used for snacking.  


robiola Lombardia cheese = robiola cheese (aged)   Pronunciation:  roh-bee-OH-lah  Notes:  There are different kinds of robiola cheeses; those made in the Lombardy region are washed-rind soft cheeses that are rich and mildly pungent.  Don't confuse this with robiola Piemonte, a fresh robiola cheese from the Piedmont region that's often used to top pizzas or melt into fondues.  Lombardy robiolas include Robiola Valsassina = Robiola della Valsassina  and    Substitutes:  taleggio OR Reblochon

Schloss = Schlosskäse = Schlosskase = castle cheese  Notes:  This Austrian cheese is a marvelous choice for people who like strong "stinky" cheeses.  It's good with beer, but it would overpower most wines.   Substitutes: Limburger OR Brie (not as stinky)

Saint André cheese = St. Andre cheese  Substitutes: Boursault OR Brillat-Savarin OR Caprice des Dieux  Notes: Use within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature.

Saint Marcellin cheese = St. Marcellin cheese  Notes:  A young version of this French cheese is so runny it's sold in small pots; a more aged version is wrapped in leaves.  Both are rich and exquisite on French bread.  Substitutes:  Banon OR 

Stracchino = Crescenza = Stracchino di Crescenza   Pronunciation:  strah-KEE-noh  Notes:   This soft Italian cheese is mild and spreadable.  It's great on pizza.  Use within a few days after purchasing and, for best flavor, serve at room temperature.  Substitutes:  Taleggio (unripened version of Stracchino) 

Teleme  Pronunciation:  TELL-uh-may  Notes:  This is a California cheese with a mild, nutty flavor.  The rind is edible.  Substitutes: Camembert OR jack  




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