Ask the Experts

Traditional blue recipe

Ask the Experts

Naomi Crisante is a food educator, television presenter and food writer with over 15 years experience in Australia’s cheese industry. She is an accredited cheese judge, judges at various specialist cheese shows and represented Australia as a judge at the 2006 World Cheese Championship Contest in Wisconsin, USA. Naomi also managed the Australian Grand Dairy Awards for nine years, since their inception in 1999.

Naomi Crisante Food Communications

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Can I substitute cottage cheese for ricotta for cooking purposes?

In most cases, substituting ricotta with cottage cheese does work, although the texture and flavour will vary a little.

Cottage cheese is more tangy and often wetter than ricotta.

If you are making baked pasta dishes or pastries, it should be fine. If you have a specific recipe that you would like to try with the cottage cheese, then feel free to send it through for me to see if it is suitable.

What is the best cheese to pair with cranberries for stuffing a pork loin ? (I do not like blue cheese)

Thanks for your query.

To partner with cranberries and pork, I would suggest you choose from either a Cheddar style or Eye cheese (Swiss-styles).

Some suggestions for easy-to-find cheeses are Mersey Valley Vintage Club Cheddar (a crumbly cheddar with bite), Tasmanian Heritage St Claire (a sweet and creamy locally produced Swiss-style), South Cape Cheddar or, for a twist , try King Island Dairy’s Smoked Cheddar.

Enjoy the festivities!

After taking off the red wax, is the rest of Edam fine to eat?

The dry surface rind on the Edam underneath the wax is perfectly safe to eat but is not the most palatable part of the cheese, so it is best avoided.

Is it safe to eat the "skin" on Camembert Cheese?

Yes, the rind of Camembert and other white rinded cheeses, like Brie and Triple Cream is perfectly edible.


When is soft white cheese ready to eat?

Most Australian soft white cheeses, such as Brie, Camembert and Triple Creams, made using modern methods, are usually ready to eat from the date of purchase. These cheeses tend to be quite mild with a consistent texture and are best enjoyed close to the Best Before date when they are at their peak.

In comparison, Camembert and Brie that has been hand made in the traditional style will take time to ripen from the outside in, and in doing so, will develop a delicious complex flavour and texture that is worth waiting for.  When young, approximately 4-6 weeks before the Best Before date, the cheese has a chalky centre core and a firm texture.
When matured, usually around the Best Before date, the core transforms into a creamy, luscious textured centre with a delicate flavour and subtle mushroom aroma.

In both cases, serve soft white cheeses at room temperature for best flavour and texture.

Can I eat the white coating on Brie and Camembert?

The thin white rind of soft cheeses has a pleasant taste and is perfectly edible. Most cheese lovers agree that eating the rind and cheese together adds to the taste and textural experience of the cheese. However, if the rind seems too thick, brownish or unappealing, do not feel obliged to eat it. It is perfectly acceptable to remove the rind before you eat the cheese - it comes down to personal preference. If you like it, eat it.

Can I eat the rind of the cheese?

Firstly, it is important to differentiate between an edible rind and a coating or wrapping, such as wax or cloth, which is definitely not edible.

The most appetising edible rinds are the white coatings on soft white cheeses like Brie and Camembert . Some blue cheeses also have edible rinds (such as those made in the Blue Brie style).

However most blue, hard and even eye cheeses have tough, leathery or gritty rinds which, although safe to eat, are not particularly palatable.  For this reason, although these aged cheeses can be served with their rinds intact, the rinds are generally cut off before eating.

The wrapping of cheeses that are cloth matured (like some vintage Cheddars) or coated with wax (such as the traditional red waxed Edam cheese ball) should not be eaten.  Again, feel free to serve the cheese with its rind intact for display, but encourage guests to cut off the rind before eating .

Is cheese high in salt?

At its simplest, cheese is made of a few natural ingredients: milk, salt, rennet and cultures (refer to the ingredients list on the packaging for details). Salt is important for removing moisture during cheesemaking; for inhibiting the development of bacteria so the cheese keeps better and, of course, for flavour.

The salt content of a cheese will vary, but is lower for quick-ripening soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert, and higher for long-maturing hard cheeses like Parmesan and Blue cheeses. Some fresh cheeses such as Fetta can be very high in salt due to the brine in which the cheese is stored. If the Fettas you have are too salty, soak it in water or milk for 5-10 minutes, or select a lower salt Fetta cheese .

With the rind of Brie and Camembert being a type of Penicillium, as I am alergic to Penicillium can I eat this rind?

The white surface mould on the Brie and Camembert Cheeses is in fact Penicillium candidum . We recommend that you refrain from eating the white surface mould rind, if you have an allergy to Penicillium , but you can still eat the centre. This is the best way to still enjoy these cheeses.

What's low fat cheese?

Cheese is generally made from whole milk, but can be made using skimmed or semi-skimmed milk to give a lower fat content. For a cheese to be “low fat”, it must contain 3% fat or less, or less than 3g of fat per 100g of cheese.  This is outlined on the label, by looking at the nutrition information panel.  

The fat content in cheese can vary according to what type of cheese it is. Some lower fat cheeses include cottage and ricotta cheese, and typically have a fat content around 6g to 10g of fat per 100g of cheese.  It is lower in fat due to the way that it is made, and also the higher moisture content .