What is Artisan Cheese?
Artisan Cheese is cheese that is produced primarily by hand, using a natural process. By natural process we mean, milk fresh from the dairy is pasteurized, and with the addition of cheese culture and rennet, it is cooked, drained and formed in to roundels. These roundels are then aged and cared for in special aging rooms till it matures. Matured cheese roundels form a hard rind which protects the cheese within while it ages. Should you eat the rind? We recommend you discard the rind, but there are die hard cheese lovers who do eat it.
What to look for while buying artisan cheese ?
Check to see the packet is vacuum sealed
Buy small packs depending on how much you use at a time
Reject a packet if there is fungus on the cheese
Fat residue in the packet, indicates the cheese has been transported/stored in high temperatures and has melted. This will result in a loss of flavor and texture
Each piece of cheese will have one section of rind, it will be a different in colour than the cheese itself
How to store your artisan cheese
Do not freeze, when you thaw it, it will lose flavour and texture
Vacuum packed pieces can be stored up to 6 months in your refrigerator
Once the vacuum seal has been opened finish it within a week, remember it has no preservatives
Keep opened packs loosely wrapped in foil or better yet bees wrap/parchment paper
You can rub the cut faces of the cheese with a light coat of olive, canola or another vegetable oil, then store in an airtight container in the fridge. If any mold starts to grow, it will be on the oil, not the cheese itself. Then, you can just wipe it off with a paper towel and rinse under lukewarm water.
Soft cheeses like mozzarella and ricotta need to be kept sealed in their original containers as they will not keep fresh for more than 3 days.