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Cheese Glossary: The Letter A

This is the first of our posts that will help you to understand all of the terms associated with cheese. We decided that because there are so many different words to describe different cheeses, as well as lots of different techniques used in cheese-making, it would be helpful to explain some of these for our wonderful readers and customers. If you have a word that you would like us to add to the cheese glossary, let us know in the comments below.

Acidity

When cheese is made, bacteria digest sugars in the milk to produce lactic acid. Different factors can be used to make cheeses more or less acidic. Cheeses with a high acidity will be sour, sharp or tart in flavor.

Aged

Cheese that is aged has been left for a certain amount of time in specific conditions. The aging process involves using temperature, humidity, molds, bacteria and time to change the cheese. An aged cheese will lose moisture, making it harder than fresh cheeses. One of our favorite aged cheeses is our delicious aged Canadian cheddar.

Affine

Another word meaning to age cheese.

Affineur

This very fancy term indicates a person who ages cheese. They will decide when it is perfectly ripe and ready for you to eat.

American

American cheese is a processed cheese that is orange, yellow, or white in color and mild in flavor. It has a medium-firm consistency, and melts easily which might by why we enjoy it on cheeseburgers.

Amino Acids

These acids form proteins, which react with other compounds to make cheese tasty.

Amish Butter

Fresh and delicious Amish butter is produced from butterfat, one of the byproducts of cheese making.

Ammoniated

This is when a cheese begins to smell or taste of ammonia. It means that the cheese has over-ripened and should, therefore, not be eaten.

Annatto

An orange-red food coloring that is derived from the seeds of the achiote tree. It is used to add yellow and orange colors to foods including cheese. In larger quantities, it can add a nutty, peppery flavor as well as a peppery aroma to foods.

A point

This is a French term to express that a cheese has reached its peak ripeness.

Appellation

This is a legally controlled name for a particular food or drinks, usually associated with a specific place. These are associated with products such as cheese and wine. There are several different terms depending on the country, including Appellation d’Origine Protegee (France) and Denominazione di Origine Protetta (Italy). We’ll always indicate if a cheese has a specific origin.

Asiago

Asiago cheese is an Italian cheese named for a region in Italy where it was first produced. Its texture varies from semi-firm to firm depending on how long it is aged; anywhere from three months up to a year.

We hope that you will find this cheese glossary useful in understanding more about cheese! Did we miss any ‘A’ words that you’d like to learn about? Tell us below and we’ll let you know what they mean!

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