Cheese Glossary

A lexicon of cheese jargon to impress. Referenced from our favorite authorities.

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Abondances
breed of dairy cattle (Savoie).
Affinage
Curing and maturing of cheeses.
Affine
Cheese that has been matured.
Affineur
Specialist in the maturing of cheeses.
Agrafe
Clip used to secure Eclisse round Brie.
Aizy
Home-cultured starter, sometimes combining starter and rennet.
Alpages
High mountain pastures used for summer grazing.
Alpines
Breed of goat.
Ame
The heart of the cheese, used of the visible whiter centre of Brie or Camembert before it has ripened right through.
A point
'Just right' - cheese neither under, nor over, ripe.
Appellation Nationale d'Origine Controlee
Legal definition of how cheeses are made and the limits of their area of origin. There are twenty-seven ANOC cheeses. There are also some regionally controlled appellations, e.g. Emmental Grand Cru.
Ardi-gasna
Basque word for sheep cheese.
Aromatic esters
Flavour and aroma carrying fatty acids and glycerides in plants, transmitted from pastures to milk and thus to cheese.
Artisanal
Cheese made by hand rather than by machine.
Artisons
Patois term for cheese mites (cirons).
Attrassadou
Wooden rudder for stirring curb (Auvergne).

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Babeurre
Buttermilk.
Bannette
Draining-frame laid across vat to drain large cheeses.
Bara
Auvergne word for well-drained curd used in making Gaperon.
Basco-bearnaises
Breed of horned sheep (Pyrenees).
Baste
Two-handled tub used to carry milk to the buron.
Battoir
Straw-covered grid.
Berger
1. Shepard; cattle herdsman. 2. Sheepdog; dog used to hard cattle.
Bargerie
Building used to shelter sheep.
Beurre
Buttery.
Bidon
Milk churn.
Biologique
Organic farming - i.e. using natural fertilizers and avoiding chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Blancs
Unsalted whole fresh cheeses before any affinage. Not the same as fromage blanc.
Bleute
Cheese with blue or blue-grey surface mould acquired naturally in the cave.
Blondes d'Aquitaine
Breed of dairy cattle.
Blondes d'Aubrac
Breed of dairy cattle of the Rouergue and southern Auvergne.
Blondes des Pyrenees
Breed of dairy cattle.
Bottes
Mats on which cheeses are drained and sometimes sold.
Boutilier
Cheesemaker in mountain buron.
Brebis
1. La brebis: ewe. 2. Le brebis: cheese made of ewes' milk.
Brine
Very salt water.
Brique
Cheese shape, usually rectangular and on the thin side.
Brousse
Cheese made from whey or skimmed milk (Provence).
Brunes des Alpes
Breed of dairy cattle.
Buche
Log-shaped cheese.
Buron
Simple mountain dairy and cheese-store with sleeping space (Auvergne).
Buttermilk
Liquid ramaining after butter making.

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Cabane
Mountain chalet where cheese is made in summer (Pyrenees, Corsica).
Cabanieres
Workers in the Roquefort caves.
Caghiatu
Freshly curdled milk (Corsica).
Caillage
Coagulation of milk to form curd/
Caillé
Curd.
Caillette
Vell, lining of the fourth stomach of a calf used in making rennet.
Caillotte de beurre
Buttermilk
Cajadhia
Basket-like mould (now usually plastic) used in Corsican cheese production.
Cantalou
Cheesemaker in mountain buron in Auvergne, France.
Canton
French district containing several communes.
Carré
Cheese shape, square.
Casein
Milk’s chief protein, precipitated into curd by use of rennet. It is used to make some cheese labels embedded in the crust. Caséine in French.
Caseus
1. New Haven's premier cheese shop. 2. Latin for cheese derived from the word Casein \Ca"se*in\, n. [Cf. F. cas['e]ine, fr. L. caseur cheese.
Causses
Limestone plateau of the Massif Central.
Cave
Natural cave or cellar in which cheeses are ripening and stored.
Cave humide
Cheese storage cellar with high humidity.
Cazelles
Drystone shepards’ shelter on the Plateau of Larzac, Rouergue.
Cendré
Cheese coated, ideally, with ashes of sarments, but today usually with industrially powered charcoal ready mixed with salt.
Cendré de bois
Wood-ashes, see cendré.
Chalet
Simple mountain dairy and cheese-store with sleeping space.
Charollais (or Charolais)
The beef branch of the old Burgundian cattle breed. The Charollais cheese is named for the Charollais region and should be made of goats' milk.
Châtaignier
Chestnut tree, the leaves of which are used to wrap some cheeses.
Chaudron
Cauldron used for cheese-making.
Chaumes
High pastures.
Cheese-iron
Small metal corer for removing a plug from the interior of a cheese to test aroma, flavor and texture.
Cheptel
Herd
Chévre
La Chévre: Nanny goat. Le Chévre: goats' milk cheese.
Chevrier, chevriére
Goatkeeper.
Claquerette
Wooden spoon used to beat curd in cheesemaking.
Clayette
Straw, reed or wicker mat on which moulded cheeses are set to drain.
Coagulation
The clotting of milk, usually by rennet.
Cocchja
Wooden ladle used in cheesemaking.
Commune
Smallest unit of French local government.
Communes
ProvenÇal term for cross-bred goats.
Concours
Competition.
Couche
Layer of mold.
Coulant
Runny (cheese)
Crémerie
Cheese Shop.
Crémeux
Creamy stage in development of some cheeses.
Croûte-bleutée
Cheese with blue or blue-grey surface mold naturally acquired in the cave.
Croûte-brossée
Brushed crust.
Croûte-fleurie
Cheese with mold-ripened crust.
Croûte-lavée
Cheese salted by washing crust in brine. Wine, beer or eau-de-vie are sometimes used.
Cru
Raw, for example, lait cru (unpasteurised milk)
Cru de lait
Term sometimes used of exeptional quality milk, as with wine.
Curd
The coagulated fats and other solids produced from milk by natural ripening and renneting.
Curd Mill
Mill for grinding curd into pieces, the size of the pieces varying according to the type of cheese.
Cuve
Large-scale vat.
Cuyala
Béarnaise term for mountain chalet where cheese is made in summer. (Pyrenées)

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Dégustation
Tasting.
Demi-écrémé
Half-skimmed. (milk)
Demi-étuvé
Medium ripe. (cheese)
Demi-sec
Halfway stage of ripening of a small goat cheese.
Demi-sel
French cream cheese made form pasteurised milk and salted, at least 40 percent matiéres grasses and 2 percent salt.
Démoulage
Turning goat cheeses from molds.
Département
Modern administrative division of France, often disregarding old provincial boundaries.
Desséchage
Drying.
Domestique
Domestic scale of cheese production, usually just for the cheese maker's own household. (French)
Double-créme
Double-cream cheese, having less than 60 percent matiéres grasses.
Draille
Broad sheep-drovers' path used for transhumance. (Provence)

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Eau-de-vie
Spirit usually made from wine pressings also know as marc.
Écrémé
Skimmed.
Égouttage
Draining of cheeses.
Égouttoir
Draining table for newly made cheeses.
Élevage
Breeding.
Éleveur
Breeder (normally of cattle, sheep or goats)
Ensemencement
Introduction of mold into milk or curd.
Ensilage
Silage (hay stored in a silo which usually begins to ferment)
Épicéa
Spruce, the bark of which is used to encircle Vacherin.
Épicerie
Grocery and provision-merchant's store.
Équinon
Wooden cheese-mold.
Escamadou
Skimmer to assist drainage of curd. (Auvergne)
Étuvé
Mature.

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Faisselle
Perforated draining mold used for soft chesses. Also, unsalted soft curd sometimes sold in the faisselle.
Faisselier
Large perforated draining tub in which cheese is placed to drain. (Normandy)
Fatoghie
Basket-like mold (now usually plastsic) used in Corsican cheesemaking.
Fenaison
Haymaking.
Ferme-auberge
Farm offering regional dishes from home raised produce.
Fermier
1. Farmer. 2. Farm-made cheese.
Ferrandaises
Disappearing breed of dairy cattle found in the Auvergne.
Feuille
Leaf. Cheese á la feuille are leaf-wrapped.
Fines-Herbs
A mixture of parsley, chives, tarragon, and chervil.
Flamandes
Breed of dairy cattle. (Normandy)
Fleurines
Spore-laden draughts in storage caves which aid teh maturing of Roquefort.
Flush
Spring and autumn seasons of rich pasture giving extra milk yield.
Foin
Hay. Cheese au foin were traditionally bedded in hay during affinage.
Follower
Circular lid used within hoop or mold to press down curd.
Fourme
The old word for cheese dervied from the form or mold it was made in; still used in the Auvergne.
Frais, fraiche
Fresh.
Fréniale
Curd-breaking implement. (Auvergne)
Frisonnes, Frisonnes françaises
Originally Friesian breed of black-and-white dairy cattle, now predominantly of Holstein blood.
Fromage
Cheese. (from Latin forma, shape)
Fromage blanc
Fresh cream cheese either unsalted or with salt content so low that it can be eaten for dessert with sugar or salt.
Fromage cuit
Hard cheese of which the curd has been brought to 65˚ Celsius during making. (For example Emmentaler)
Fromage du terroir
Cheese getting its character from the local soil and pastures.
Fromage fort
Strong preparation usually made from cheese lefovers with liquor and herbs added; usually potted.
Fromage frais
Cheese which has been salted but sold unripened.
Fromagerie
Cheese-dairy; cheesemaking enterprise. Also used by some cheese shops, though crémerie is more common.
Frotté
Rubbed.
Fruité
Fruity flavored.
Fruitiére
Co-operative village cheese dairy using members' raw milk.

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Gape
Buttermilk. (Auvergne)
Garde-manger
Wooden cage with fine-mesh sides hung as airy larder, excellent for keeping cheeses at home.
Gare fromagére
Railway station specially provided for loading of cheeses.
Garrigue
Wild, rocky Provençal land scape rich in the herbs used to garnish local cheeses.
Geotrichium candidum
White mold at early stages of Saint-Nectaire making.
Gerle, gerlou
Two-handled tub used to carry milk to the buron. (Auvergne)
Gispre
Pejorative patois term for a cheese tasting very "sheepy"(Rouergue)
Grises gasconnes
Breed of cattle now mostly used for beef.
Grossiete
Wholesaler, selling en gros as opposed to en detail (retail).
Gruerie
Carolingian word for forests, where Gruyére is derived from. (Franche-Comté)
Gruyer
Foreseter who sold fuel making Gruyére.

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Halle
Covered market.
Halles: Les Halles
Formerly France's great central market; its successor is now Rungis. Is also Anthony Bourdain's Restaurant....what a Francofile.
Hâloir
Place where cheeses are laid out to dry and where some cheeses receive their croûte-fleurie from mold naturally fromed on the walls.
Harpe
Stringed implement for cutting curd during cheesemaking.
Hausse
High, moveable extension to cheese-mold used in early stages of cheese making.
Hollandaises
Breed of dairy cattle pie-noir and occasionally pie-rouge.
Holstein
Breed of black-and-white cattle now dominant as bulls in the breeding of French dairy cattle.
Humide
Moist, humid.

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Impaghia
Low-lying pastures (Corsica)
Industriel
Indicates a large scale, factory style creamery with mechanised cheese making.

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Jasserie, jasse, jas
Sheperd's hut in the mountains for summer cheese making (Auvergne and Rouergue).
Jonchée
A scattering of reeds or rushes from which cheese mates were made.

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Kaiolar
Basque term for mountain cabane or chalet where cheese is made in summer (Pyrenees).

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Lacaune
Breed of sheep milked for Roquefort, hearty blue veined cave aged sheep's milk cheeses.
Laîches
Strips of rattia bound round the circomference of a Livarot cheese.
Lainures
Cracks in a cheese.
Lait cru
Milk neither pasteurised or given other hear treatment such as thermisation.
Lait de mélange
Cheese made from a mixture of milks, with cow's milk usually predominant.
Lait entier
Whole milk as it comes from the dairy animal, completely unskimmed.
Laitierie
Dairy, from artisan to industrial in scale.
Laitier
1. Dairyman. 2. Dairy-made cheese.
Lait thermisé
Milk whcih has been heat treated but to a lower temperature than pasteurised milk for a longer period of time so that harmful bacteria are killed but flavorful enzymes remain.
Laurier
Bay Leaf.
Lavage
Washing (as in croute-lavée).
Lavogne
Dew pond used by grazing animals.
Légumes
Class of pasture plants which collect nitrogen.
Limousins
Breed of cattle, today used mainly for beef.
Linens
Bacterium linens are a slime type bacterium attracted to croute-lavée/washed rind cheeses, imparting a red-orange color.
Lissage
Smoothing the crust of cheeses by hand.
Louche
Ladle used to put curd into molds.
Lutte
Mating season of the Lacaune sheep. General meaning in French: struggle.

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Maître fromager
Master cheesemaker, or cheese expert. Very few are listed by the French Guilde des Fromagers.
Malaxage
Mixing of curd at early stage of cheese making.
Malessui
Cheese going runny between crust and interior. Also called slip-coat.
Manechs
Breed of sheep, either téte-noir (blackfaced with horns) or téte-rouge (red faced with horns) from the Pyrenées.
Marc
Alcoholic spirit made from already pressed wine grapes and vines, very strong and harsh.
Marcairerie
Stone farm building in high pastures of Alsace-Lorraine, used for summer cheese making.
Maitéres grasses
Degree of fatness of cheese, empressed as a percentage of fat in total dry matter. This percentage is constant through out the life of the cheese, where as the percentage of fat in the whole cheese increases as moisture evaporates with the ageing of the cheese and so cannot be precisely defined for the buyer.
Menadou
Wooden paddle for stirring curd (Auvergne).
Menole, Menove
Curd breaking implement.
Mergue
Whey. (Auvergne)
Mérinos
Breed of sheep mostly used for wool but which give milk for Gardian cheeses (Provence).
Meton, metton
Re-cooked whey ysed to make Cancoillotte (Franche-Comté).
Mezadou
Curd-breaking implement (Auvergne).
Mi-chévre
Cheese made with at least 50 per cent goat's milk, usually with cow's milk.
Mignaut
Sloping table for draining whey from curd (Nord).
Moelleux
Soft and velvety.
Moisissure
Mold in or on a cheese.
Moisson
Harvest.
Morge
Brine enriched with scrapings from old cheeses, used to rub surface of Gruyére and other cheeses.
Mou, molle
Soft.
Moulage
Molding.
Mold
1. Wood, metal or plastic container used in cheese making which dictates the shape of the cheese. 2. Fungal species enriching crust of cheeses or blueing their interiors, preferably acquired from the surroundings in which the cheeses are matured, but often artificially introduced.
Moulé á la louche
Cheese whose curd has been hand ladled into the molds.
Moulé á la main
Cheese whose shape has been hand molded.
Mouliner
Curd mill.
Moussé
Cheese which has acquired its first white coat of mold.
Mucor aspergillus
Unwelcome black surface mold removed by Saint-Nectaire makers.
Muzadour
Wooden paddle for stirring curd (Auvergne).

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Normandes
Breed of diary cattle (Normandy).

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Oidium
Mold which forms a greasy suface on cheese.
Oidium auranticum
Sought after brillant red surface mold found on Saint-Nectaire cheese.

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Paghuli
Copper cauldron used in Corsica for cheese making.
Palmarés
Prizewinner.
Pasteurization
Heat treatment to destroy harmful micro-organisms in milk, which also destroys most flavor enriching micro organisms. Typically milk is heated to 144 degrees F for 30 minutes or more, but never higher than boiling for more than 2 seconds.
Páte
Interior of finished cheese.
Pavé
Cheese shape, usually square and thick.
Pays
The native soil, village, district or province. Also used of one's fellow-native: pays or payse.
Pelle
Round cutting-edged shovel used to handle curd (Brie).
Penicillium
Mold family mycellium, of which the common types influencing cheese development.
Penicillium album
White mold, but developing into blue on surface, particularly goat cheese.
Penicillium candidum
White mold commonly used on the crust of soft cheeses.
Penicillium glaucum
Mold producing internal and exterior blueing in cheese.
Pencillium roqueforti
Mold derived from the Caves de Cambalou where Roquefort is blued, and in general use for blueing other types of cheese.
Persillé
Blue cheese.
Petit lait
Whey.
Picardes
Breed of dairy cattle (Normandy).
Pies-noires
The more common of the two types of Hollandaise dairy cattle, black and white, as opposed to the few red-pied.
Pignato
Small earthenware pot used in cheese making (Corsica).
Piquant
Sharp-tasting.
Plomber
To wrap cheese in foil coat.
Pouset
Mushroom shaped implement for pressing out whey (Auvergne).
Prat communal
Communally shared grazing land.
Pré
Grazing land.
Presse-tôme
Ladder like grid for pressing and draining curd.
Présure
Rennet.
Puiset á caillé
Flat, round trowel for lifting curd (Provence).
Pur chévre
Cheese made only with goats' milk.

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Quinon
Wooden cheese mold.

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Recuite
Literally 're-cooked'. Cheese made from the solids precipitated in reheated whey.
Rennet
Distilled extracts of the abomasum (fourth stomach of the ruminant) containing enzymes whcih break down the solids in milk into digestible form, helping coagulation. Some plants (for example thistle) can have the same effect as rennet.
Repassé
Very over ripe cheese, often used to make fromage fort.
Rocou
Ruddy vegetables coloring matter.
Romarin
Rosemary.
Rove
Breed of goat particularly know for their use in Provence.
Ruminant
a hooved animal that digests its food in two steps. 1. By eating the raw material and regurgitating a semi-digested form known as cud, 2. then eating the cud, a process called ruminating. These animalsinclude cattle, goats, sheep, llamas, giraffes, bison, buffalo, deer, wildebeest, and antelope.
Rungis
France's most important wholesale food market found in the southeast of Paris and is the replacement to the original and great market Les Halles.

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Saanens
Breed of goat.
Salage
Dry salting, either of the curd or of the exterior of the cheese.
Salers
Breed of dairy cattle native to the Auvergne and northern Rouergue.
Saloir
Salting room.
Sangle
Spruce bark circlet put round Vacherin cheese.
Sarments
Vine roots or prunings traditionally used to make wood ash for cendrés cheeses.
Sarriette
Herb related to savory, often used to top goat cheeses in Provence.
Saumure
Brine.
Sec
Term used for fully ripened goat cheese when the surface is firm and usually mold coated.
Séchage
Drying.
Séchoir
Place where young cheese are put to dry.
Seigle
Rye, rye bread, used to harvest mold in the Caves de Cambalou.
Sérum
Whey.
Silage
Green fodder fermented and stored free of air for winter feed. May taint cheese flavor, so excluded by some AOC regulations.
Sonde
Cheese-iron.
Starter
Lactic bacterial culture used to start transformation of solids in milk into cheese.
Syndicat
French trade or professional association. Usually in order to gain an AOC a producer must join a syndicat.

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Taches rouges
Desirable red patches of mold on surface of a cheese.
Tarentaises
Breed of dairy cattle from the region of that name, usually called Tarines. Also a goat's milk cheese from the Haute Savoie.
Tendre
Mild.
Thermization
the heating of raw milk for at least 15 seconds at a temperature between 135 degrees F and 154 degrees F.
Tintinajo
Belled leader of flock of sheep, or of herd of cows or goats.
Toile
Cheesecloth.
Tôme, tomme
1. Small round goat cheeses when young. 2. Large pressed cheeses from all types of milk usually wider than they are tall.
Transhumance
The movement of flocks or herds from winter pasture or stabling to high mountain pastures in summer.
Trappiste
Term often appled to monastically made cheeses.
Trieur
Experienced affineur who irons a smaoke of cheese to teset its maturity.
Triple-créme
Cheese made form full cream milk with added cream, attaining 75% matiéres grasses.
Troupeau
Flock or herd of sheep, goats or cows.
Tuffeau
Porous cliff, in the caves of which mushrooms are grown and cheeses matured.

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Ultrafiltration
Separtaion of milk solids by a filter of 99.9 percent fineness. Used in industrial cheese making.

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Vache
1. Cow. 2. Cows' milk cheese.
Vacherie
Stabling for cows, including the milking parlour.
Vell
Skin of the abomasum (fourth stomach of the ruminant) from which rennet is distilled.
Vendange
Wine harvest.
Vigneron
Wine grower.
Vignobles
Vineyards.
Vosgiennes
Traditional cattle of Alsace and Vosges regions.

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Whey
Residue of milk after most of the fats and other solids have been coagulated into the curds. Usually drained and used to make 're-cooked' cheeses such as Ricotta, or fed to pigs.

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