You know there is White Cheddar, Romano, Parmesan, Smoked Gouda and Gouda. There were kinds with veggies rolled into them, herbs encased, or already to sprinkle over your salad. You can buy curds and all sorts of Amish or European import varieties. But did you know that there are becoming increasingly more opportunities to by ‘raw’ or unpasteurized cheeses in America? Do you know which is better?
When it comes to choosing a raw or pasteurized cheese there are a lot of factors going into the decision making process. The first is to understand in the USA, raw cheeses must be aged for 60 days which is thought to protect consumers from the bacteria they may contain that can cause Listeria, Salmonella, or E. Coli. The risk of contracting this type of bacteria with modern food preparation, even in the raw world is minimal. If you can get past the worry of this there is a whole new world (or perhaps it’s more precise to say old world) of delicate flavors and textures awaiting your taste.
Most connoisseurs will tell you cheese made the ‘old world way’ is more flavorful and has more naturally occurring enzymes that is good for the digestion and at the same time your taste buds. Not being required to stick with pasteurized opens up a lot of new and delicious choices for a person to try. The ingredients used and the aging process add a lot to the taste. Often people will argue when you go to the extremes it takes to pasteurize a food it can eliminate much of what was originally thought to be desired. It is after all, a process.
There aren’t cases broadcast daily about people contracting this or that from a raw cheese. So the real debate comes down to taste. If you are someone who already enjoys a rich cheese, you should by all means run out and get some of the more interesting raw varieties available to you. You’re sure to be in for a treat and able to see the difference in taste between the kinds.
One word of caution though, if you are pregnant or nursing wait till after to enjoy the many offerings of raw cheese. The chance of getting a food borne illness during this delicate time increases and is far more dangerous as it not only affects you but your unborn or infant child. There is plenty of time to try all the varieties the world of cheese has to offer, so wait a little longer and then try something very extravagant.