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Styles of Cheese: Washed-rind

Fresh Cheeses Soft-ripened Cheeses Semi-hard Cheeses Washed Rind Cheeses
Semi-soft Cheeses Surface-ripened Cheeses Hard (Aged) Cheeses Blue Cheeses

Washed-rind Cheeses

One thing to know about washed rind cheeses is that they very often smell much stronger than they taste, especially if you don't eat the rind. If you're not a fan of these cheeses, then your cheese-buying is that much easier because it’s an entire category you can avoid.

Key Flavor and Aroma Characteristics

Barnyardy
Creamy
Fruity
Gamy
Toasted Hazelnuts
Roasted Mushrooms

Common Washed Rind Cheeses:

• Epoisses
• Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk
• Pont l’Eveque
• Munster
• Reblochon
• St. Nectaire
• Torta de la Serena
• Taleggio
• Many specialty sheep cow, goat and cheeses.
These are distinguished by their strong aroma and pinkish or orange-colored rinds, and generally semi-soft texture.

What to look for when buying:

Because of the special bacteria that are used to create washed rind cheeses, the rinds will often be pink, orange, and sometimes tan-colored, depending on their age. The rind should be uniform on a washed-rind cheese and should not be cracked. Be sure to smell the cheese. While it may be quite strong, it should not smell ammoniated. You'll definitely be able to tell the difference. In terms of texture, a washed-rind cheese should give to the touch. Sometimes, it will be extremely soft, which is often a good sign. However, it is likely that when it gets to this stage, its shelf life will be shorter. In other words, eat it soon after you get it home.