Cheese

  1. Q. When was cheese invented?
    A.

    Cheese is an ancient food whose origins are believed to date from 8000 BCE, when sheep were first domesticated, to 3000 BCE. No conclusive evidence indicates where cheese making originated, but the practice spread within Europe before Roman times.

    The first cheese may have been made by people in the Middle East or by nomadic Turkic tribes in Central Asia. Since ancient times, animal skins and internal organs served as storage vessels for various foods. It’s likely that cheese making was discovered accidentally when milk stored in an animal stomach turned to curd and whey.

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  2. Q. Why does Swiss Cheese have holes?
    A.

    Eyes, the holes in cheese, develop during the curing process. Gas, from fermentation, expands and causes air pockets to form and eventually pop, which creates holes. Contrary to popular belief, cheese with more holes does not taste any different than the cheese with fewer holes. 

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  3. Q. How long is it safe to keep cheese?
    A.

    Soft cheeses should be served soon after purchase. As a general rule, the harder the cheese the longer it will remain fresh. We recommend you follow these guidelines:

    • Hard cheeses generally keep for several months.
    • Cheddar and Swiss cheeses keep for several weeks.
    • Blue cheeses keep up to four weeks.
    • Soft cheeses keep up to two weeks.
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  4. Q. How should I store cheese at home?
    A.

    Cheeses should be refrigerated at temperatures of 35-45°F. Most cheeses should be stored in waxed butcher or pastry paper so it can breathe.

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  5. Q. What is the natural color of cheese?
    A.

    Cheeses are naturally an off-white color with a yellow tint. The orange color is caused by the addition of annatto seed extract, a natural food coloring.

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  6. Q. What does AOC mean?
    A.

    Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) translates as “controlled designation of origin." This is the French designation of process and provenance for cheeses and wines that protects product identity in the marketplace.  AOC means that products are consistently produced in the traditional manner and partially aged in a specific geographical area in strict compliance with AOC standards. Forty-six cheeses have AOC designation in France.

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  7. Q. What does DOC mean?
    A.

    Similar to AOC, Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) is an Italian designation designed to protect regionally controlled cheeses. This designation ensures that products meet numerous quality and geographic standards. Few Italian cheeses are labeled DOC, but as traditional recipes are certified by the Italian trade commission, more will be approved. Parmigiano Reggiano is one of the DOC cheeses.

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  8. Q. What is the ideal temperature to serve cheese?
    A.

    Always remove your cheese from the refrigerator about an hour before serving. Cheese needs to soften up to room temperature to open up the flavors.

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  9. Q. What accompaniments go well with cheese?
    A.

    Wine is an excellent choice to pair with cheese. Generally, the more robust the cheese, the more full bodied and robust the wine. Fresh crusty breads and crackers are also perfect complements, along with fresh grapes, pears and apples. The sweet flavors of premium fruit preserves and honey also marry well with the salty flavors of most cheeses.

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  10. Q. How many cheeses should be served on a cheeseboard?
    A.

    Ideally, you should serve three types of cheeses on a platter. Select cheeses that vary in shape, color and texture. Try grouping them by country: Pecorino Toscano, Asiago Mezzanno and Gorgonzola Dolce. You can also group them by type of milk: Piave (cow milk), Manchego (sheep milk) and Montchevre (goat milk). Suggest that guests start with the mildest cheese and end with a stronger cheese.

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  11. Q. What is the most expensive cheese at Giant Eagle®?
    A.

    In most Giant Eagle stores, our priciest cheese is Roquefort. Roquefort is an AOC cheese from France made the traditional way and aged in limestone caverns for a rare complexity of flavor. Giant Eagle Market District® carries many small artisan-produced cheeses that offer exceptional and unusual flavors and are priced accordingly.

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