Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What Color is Your Cheese?

You've heard the saying that a diner eats first with her eyes, meaning that the way things look can influence our perception and enjoyment of food. Over at The Kitchn, the resident Cheesemonger Nora Singley wrote a post about the origins of the different colors of cheese and what they can indicate about the type of cheese you're looking at.

Here's the shorthand:
Orange: artificially colored cheese, including cheddar and processed cheese
Yellow: Grass-fed cows' milk
White: Goat
Blue: Contains mold

What I found most interesting was that, while cows' milk contains beta carotene, goats' milk does not. That means that if a cow consumes more beta carotine in its diet, its milk will contain more beta carotine and cheese made from this milk will be more yellow. On the other hand, no matter how much grass a goat eats, its milk and cheese will be perfectly white. Some food historians believe that the reason people began dyeing cheese orange was to mimic the yellow color of cows' milk cheeses from the spring and summer, times of the year that the cows' normally would be eating more grass and also times of the year when the milk was full of fat and flavor.

(Image: Blue Cheese, a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 image from Liz Davenport's photo stream)

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