You’ll find award-winning cheeses, iconic cheeses, traditional cheeses, protected cheeses: if they’re worth knowing, you’ll find them here.
101 guide – Iconic Cheeses | Chapter one
What is the Academy of Cheese Cheese Library?
A Library of Cheeses
Put simply, the Cheese Library is a large, evolving database of the world’s most delicious cheeses, each entry of which has been professionally checked and verified by industry experts to give the most accurate and up-to-date information, all in one place.
In the same way as a student uses a physical library for study resources, the Academy’s Cheese Library is an online resource for cheese studies and a one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about a particular cheese, including:
- The type of cheese, according to the Academy’s Make (how it’s made in the vat) and Post-Make categorisation (what happens to it after it leaves the vat). This categorisation helps to give an indication of the what the finished cheese is likely to look and taste like.
- Any relevant protected status, eg. PGI, PDO or TSG. This is important as will have an impact on the quality of a cheese and the end price.
- The species and breed of milking animal. The type of milk-producing animal will effect the flavour of a cheese, and can also influence its availability and its cost. Cheeses are typically made using milk from cows, sheep, goats or buffaloes but there are others and some cheeses, for example Feta, are made from a mix of milks.
- Typical Age Profile: Cheeses come in a wide range of age profiles from 1 day to several years! The typical age profile describes the age the cheese is usually sold at and the impact that has on its flavour and texture.
- Whether the cheese is made from raw, pasteurised or thermised (another form of heat treatment) milk.
- The type of rennet used: whether the cheese is suitable for vegetarians, or if animal rennet was used in the coagulation process.
- Any variations of the cheese, eg. whether there are smoked variations or different sizes for example, which is useful information for wholesalers.
- The “Story” behind each cheese: information is provided first-hand by the maker, of the history and culture of the cheese, as well as background information on the cheesemaker and the farm or dairy where the cheese is produced. This section also includes detailed information of how each cheese is made.
- The “Character” of the cheese, in terms of its flavour profile, the texture of the internal paste and the nature of the rind.
- “Perfect Partners”, which as suggests, recommends the drinks and / or accompaniments that compliment the cheese and bring out its flavours.
Alongside this comprehensive information, each cheese is illustrated with images of the exterior of the whole cheese and /or a cross-section of the interior so the reader can make an accurate assessment of the finished cheese.
The Cheese Library, as well as a study resource, has been designed to accompany everyone on their journey to learn about the enormous selection of domestic and international cheeses, and help them build up their own profiles on these cheeses.
Entry Criteria for Cheeses into the Library
The Academy of Cheese has developed the Cheese Library to represent the many wonderful varieties to be found around the world. The cheeses within the Library have been selected because they fall into one or more of the following defined criteria:
- It is significant in terms of the way it has been made.
- It has protected status or is otherwise traditional or culturally significant.
- It demonstrates the range of Makes and Post-Makes in the MPM model.
- It is made using a different milk variety.
How are the cheeses categorised?
The cheeses within the Library can be searched for by name and by the Level at which they are studied, within the framework of the Academy’s courses, eg. Level One, Two or Three.
How can I access the Cheese Library?
The Cheese Library is the most up-to-date and professionally verified cheese resource for students. It is a vital tool that will help Academy of Cheese delegates pass their exams and, accordingly, is one of the benefits available for all active delegates. After gaining certification, alumni can still gain access to the Cheese Library by paying an annual subscription, which will also give continued access to the Cheese Library, as well as other membership benefits, such as third-party supplier discounts.
101 guide – Iconic Cheeses | Chapter TWO
How can the Cheese Library be used within the cheese industry?
Who uses a cheese library?
Thousands of people with a passion for, or professional interest in cheese pass through the Cheese Library each year. Think of it like an online cheese counter, but without the requirement to buy anything.
Whatever sector of the industry you work in, the Cheese Library is an invaluable resource:
For the cheesemaker, as an advertising tool, the Cheese Library features domestic and international cheeses from small, independent farmhouse cheesemakers to large-scale dairy co-operatives and is visible to thousands of subscribers each year.
For importers, exporters and wholesalers who want to brush up on their knowledge of cheeses and find gaps in their catalogues.
For cheesemongers, regular access to this comprehensive catalogue of cheeses, will give credibility and authority to their staff when selling cheese, whilst also arming counter staff with the knowledge of which pairings to offer their customers. This, in turn, can lead to increased opportunities to up-sell products, such as specific wines or chutneys to compliment a cheese. For mongers with an online presence, the Cheese Library is an invaluable resource to cross reference against and ensure their own descriptions and details are up to date.
Chefs and Sommeliers looking for pairings will find expert inspiration from the Library, whether the cheeses on offer are made in Britain, Brazil or Belgium. The inclusion of provenance and flavour profiles will allow a Sommelier to impart such relevant information to their diners and add to the theatre of a cheese trolley.
How can the Cheese Library be used by enthusiasts?
When discovering new cheeses, to know the provenance behind a cheese can only add to the tasting experience. To know how a cheese was made; to understand its cultural and historical background and be able to build a story behind what you are tasting allows for greater enjoyment, as well as the ability to share that knowledge with your guests. At its simplest level, each entry gives dietary information, such as whether a cheese is made with vegetarian or animal rennet, if the milk was pasteurised, or which milking breed the cheese comes from, to allow you to make considered choices.
The Cheese Library also suggests appropriate drinks and accompaniments to pair with each cheese.
101 guide – Iconic Cheeses | Chapter three
How can the Cheese Library be used by enthusiasts?
Discover New Cheeses
When discovering new cheeses, to know the provenance behind a cheese can only add to the tasting experience. To know how a cheese was made; to understand its cultural and historical background and be able to build a story behind what you are tasting allows for greater enjoyment, as well as the ability to share that knowledge with your guests. At its simplest level, each entry gives dietary information, such as whether a cheese is made with vegetarian or animal rennet, if the milk was pasteurised, or which milking breed the cheese comes from, to allow you to make considered choices. The Cheese Library also suggests appropriate drinks and accompaniments to pair with each cheese.
101 guide – Iconic Cheeses | Chapter four
What is the relationship between the Academy of Cheese and their Cheese Library?
Industry approved cheese library
The Academy of Cheese is proud to have developed this industry-approved asset. We continue to work with cheese makers and international wholesalers in order to build the Cheese Library whilst maintaining the accuracy of its entries.
Aside from meeting a defined criteria for inclusion within the Cheese Library, such as having protected status, or demonstrating a certain process in its development according to the Academy’s Make Post-Make model, there is no set qualification for cheeses to appear. Preference and priority will, however, be given to Patrons and Supporters’ cheeses, as well as those that are studied at Levels One, Two and Three.
101 guide – Iconic Cheeses | Chapter five
How does the Cheese Library differ at Levels One, Two & Three?
The number and styles of cheese studied at each level of certification is appropriate to the delegate’s expected breadth of cheese knowledge. In studying the cheeses, the delegates are required to taste; to assess with the Structured Approach to Tasting Cheese; and to recognise each level’s specified cheeses by name, Make Post-Make class, species of milking animal, protected status, heat treatment, rennet type and country/region of origin.
The Level One Cheese Library
At this foundation level, 25 of the world’s most iconic cheeses are studied. The cheeses have been chosen to provide a sound understanding of each of the key Make Post-Make cheesemaking techniques, from a soft, fresh goats’ curd to a hard-cooked Parmigiano Reggiano. They have also been chosen as cheeses that can be sourced relatively easily regardless of the delegate’s country of residence to allow accessibility.
The Level Two Cheese Library
Delegates are required to recognise a further 75 specified cheeses (as well as the 25 studied at Level One). The cheeses have been selected to include:
- Important cheeses in cheesemaking development.
- All sub Makes and sub–Post-Makes from the MPM model.
- Further iconic cheeses from major cheesemaking countries, particularly cheeses that have protected status or are otherwise traditional or culturally significant.
- New cheeses which have become examples of best-in-class innovation in cheesemaking.
- A mix of cheeses made from different milks.
The Level Three & Four Cheese Library
A further 200 cheeses have been selected to be studied in order to attain Level Three and Four Certification. * The list was refined in consultation with cheese experts from around the world who were asked to recommend the cheeses that they felt best represented their territory or country, its history, climate, terroir, and culture. The assessment for this level will demand a higher level of recall of the details of each cheese, including the species of animal and cheesemaker.
* The Level Three Cheese Library can be studied as a standalone course, without previously studying Levels One and Two.
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