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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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What is one ‘serve’ of cheese?

One 'serve' of cheese is about 40 grams. In real terms, this is about two slices, or just under a half-cup of grated cheese, or a wedge of soft cheese about the size of your thumb.

What's rennet?

To make cheese, milk is first separated into 'curds and whey' (solids and liquids ), usually using a few drops of rennet. Rennet is an enzyme found in the stomach of milk-fed animals that helps the animal digest its mother's milk. Because rennet is an animal product, some cheeses are made using non-animal rennet. This microbial rennet is also known as non-animal rennet.

Can I eat cheese if I have a problem with lactose?

Lactose is the main sugar found in milk. It is broken down and digested by the body by an enzyme called lactase. Some people who do not produce enough lactase may have trouble digesting lactose, and for some, it may also cause unpleasant gut symptoms. Although cheese is made from milk , most varieties of cheese have a lower lactose content compared to other dairy products and are generally better tolerated. For specific dietary information, see your doctor or an Accredited Practising Dietitian .

Is cheese a nutritious product?

A good source of energy, cheese, like meat, fish and eggs, is a high quality source of protein. Cheese also contains other essential nutrients such as zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B12, and calcium. To meet our daily calcium needs, health professionals recommend having three serves of dairy a day. A 40g piece of cheese can count as one serve.

Can vegetarians eat cheese?

Cheese, at its simplest, is made of a few natural ingredients: milk, salt, rennet and cultures. Rennet is typically from animal origin. However, some cheeses are made using a non-animal microbial rennet or may be set with acid instead of rennet (such as Mascarpone or Cottage cheese). Cheeses always made using microbial, or 'non-animal' rennet, will usually indicate this on the label, and/or may state 'suitable for vegetarians'.

What is the best cheese to use for a creamy white sauce?

The good news is that you can use most firm cheeses - like Cheddar, Parmesan and Swiss-styles - grated into a white sauce, but for best flavour, choose an aged cheese like a Vintage Cheddar. Vintage Cheddars are at least 12 months old and have a nice bite to them. If you only have a milder tasty cheese , add a little Parmesan for extra kick. If you are feeling adventurous, a little Fetta cheese mixed into a white sauce is also very tasty, as is a bit of Blue.

What wines should I serve with cheese?

Matching cheese and wines can seem a little daunting, especially with the wide variety of cheeses now available. Don't be afraid to experiment and try different wines with your cheeses. Other drinks such as beer or even ciders can also blend well with certain cheeses. See our Cheese and Wine Matching section for further tips and suggested wine pairings .