You can identify washed-rind cheeses by their reddish-orange rind. They are washed with a solution of brine, wine, beer, or grape brandy during ripening. This liquid feeds bacteria, which causes the cheese to grow an exterior mold that in turn creates a brightly colored interior and robust flavor.
Brick ~ A Wisconsin original, it was first made by John Jossi in 1877. Brick got it's name because of it's shape, and because cheese-makers originally used bricks to press the moisture from the cheese. Brick ranges in flavor from mild when young, to sharp when aged. Brick is pungent, tangy and dotted with many small holes. It is pale in color and firm in texture.
Limburger~ Produced in Bavaria and now considered a German cheese, Limburger originated in Belgium. Made from cow's milk repeated rind-washings in brine are responsible for Limburger's notoriously powerful smell. It is a sharp, soft, and slightly salty cheese.
Muenster~ also known as Gerome, the original French Muenster is noted for a huge, beefy, nutty flavor and a very aromatic rind. The washed rind gives French Muenster, from Alsace, it's distinctive smell. Gerome, an identical cheese, though slightly larger, is from Lorraine. The Danish and German Muensters are much milder than the French Variety. American Muenster's rind is not washed at all.
Appenzeller~ resembling a Gruyere, Appenzeller is light tan in color which is derived from continuous brushing with a special mixture of spices, wine and salt. This process adds a distinctive spicy aroma and flavor. This mountain cheese from Switzerland is made with raw cow's milk. Livarot~ also known as "the colonel" because of the five strips of raffita customarily wrapper around it to stop bulging, Livarot is one of the most pungent French Cheeses. Made from cow's milk this cheese is soft and springy, has a gold interior with little holes. The flavor is strong, beefy, nutty and slightly salty.
Swiss Tilsit~ This cheese is similar to Appenzeller, but softer. It is made from whole raw cow's milk and aged about three months. It's flavor and aroma are nuttier and earthier than Appenzeller.
Taleggio/Robiola Lombardia~ Lombardy's "Taleggio-style" cheeses are usually made from raw cow's milk. Off white to slightly yellowish interior. The flavor ranges from tart and salty when young, to rich, buttery, nutty and meaty when matured.
Vacherin Fribourgeois~ One of Switzerlands finest, this cheese is matured for at least 3 months. It is semi-firm, yet yielding and buttery. It has a meaty quality with a nutty, raw flavor similar to Italian Fontina. The interior of this cow's milk cheese is pale yellow with small holes scattered throughout.
Vacherin Mont d'Or~ When young, this cheeses interior is pale with a slight greenish cast. It is soft and spreadable. The flavor becomes unforgettably velvety and buttery and the texture runny when the cheese is fully ripe.
Contributed by DiB's
Season: available year-round