Category Archives: Semi-hard

What to drink with cheese . . .

Oh the list is endless, needless to say if you like to drink something with some particular cheese then do it!
Don’t worry about what people tell you, everyone is different with our own tastebuds, of course there are suggested options that pair well but if their not to your liking do you own thing!

Here is what I’ve found works for me over the years, of course you may differ but that’s ok.

We’ll, start by working our way down the cheeses and I’ll suggest cheeses from the list that I personally think works best.


These are cheeses which have been produced and have had no aging, so no more than a week old and to be enjoyed soon after production. Like Mozzarella, Ricotta etc.


A fresh wine like a fruity Sancerre or refreshing Rose
A light refreshing crisp ale like a lager
A fresh apple cider with a little sweetness
A Spanish Sherry with a little sweetness
Either a dry refreshing Junmai Ginjo or a sweeter Umeshu


With such fresh cheeses and gentle flavours it’s best to not have anything too overpowering. Anything with a crisp refreshing mouth feel that’ll match nicely with a gentle delicate flavoured cheese


All Brie & Camembert cheeses are classified as white mould cheeses, as well as triple cream Bries. But here they have been put into their own category below.
White mould cheeses are the most versatile of all the cheeses, they marry well with numerous beverages.


White wine of a dry and fruity nature such as Sauvignon Blanc & Rose
Dry barrel oaked wines such as Chardonnay
Full bodied red wines such as Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon
Crisp refreshing Pilsner style cheeses
Dark full bodied beers
Classic savoury Normandy Cider
Port or Sherry
Like wine, from the dry minerality to the sweet dessert wine style


With a delicate interior of the cheese it pairs well with dry wines
More robust Bries such as Brie de Meaux can handle the stronger full bodied red wines
Fresh crisp beers can withstand the stronger style Bries & Camemberts
Dark heavier beers can give a coffee/chocolate & cream effect
Camembert & Cider both hail from Normandy making them a perfect match
The sweetness of a fortified can pair wonderfully with the creaminess of a white mould cheese
Sake like wine, will pair with all manor of white mould cheeses


The dry crumbly citrusy cheeses such as any Holy Goat cheeses from Victoria.
Or classic French Goats cheeses from the Loire valley such as the ash coated St. Maure, or Chabichou du Poitou.


A fruity wine, such as a Sancerre, Riesling, Sauvignon blanc, Un-oaked Chardonnay or fruity Rose.
An equally fruity sparkling wine such as a Champagne or sparkling wine from the Loire valley.
A sweet dessert wine, like a Late harvest Botrytis or similiar.
French Cider, these tend to have more savoury apple notes than the sweeter versions outside of France
A crisp fresh Pilsner, Wheat beer with more malty notes such as a Kronenbourg Blanc.
Junmai Ginjo – A fruity and semi dry Sake, similiar to a Sauvignon blanc


All of the above suggestions match the gentle acidity and fruity notes in these cheeses
Sancerre is France’s Sauvignon Blanc and grows in the Loire valley.
The Loire Valley was originally the home of French Sparklings, until the Champagne region became the largest producer. Hence the name, Champagne now being well known as French Sparkling.
The dessert wine would give a lovely contrasting flavour to the goats cheese, much the same way as you’d drizzle some honey over Goats cheese.



Or strong soft goat’s cheeses, such as a Mothais sur feuille, which is matured in very high humidity and gives way to a softer, creamy fudgey interior. These cheeses when aged can have quite a punch to them, leaving the gentle acidity behind and bringing forth more of a zing on the palate.


A sweet dessert wine as you would with a fresh crisp goats cheese.
A robust red wine such as a Pinot Noir, but try to steer clear of anything with too much tannin such as a Cabernet.
A fortified such as an aged Port or a Spanish Sherry such as a Pedro Ximenez.
A whisky, such as a Japanese or Scottish Whisky variety. Possibly not an American Whisky as the smokiness can over power the cheese I find.
A classic Pale Ale, with a hoppy finish.
Umeshu – A sweet dessert Sake, with a sweet yet slight sourness.


With such a tang to these cheeses they behave similarly to a washed rind so you can pair them with something more robust to bring forth their subtleties.
The sweet wine and fortified will mellow the tang.
A whisky will bring forth the smokiness.
The red wine and Pale Ale will enhance the sweet leaving a creamy texture.

Be wary of red wine with non aged goats cheeses, the wines tannin and the cheeses acidity create a very unpleasant mouth feel. Be sure to taste your combination first before unleashing it on your guests!

Mothais sur feuille
Mothais sur feuille


Generally your smellier cheeses, with a sticky rind due to the washing during its maturing period. These cheeses are best eaten and smelt little, they have an oozy texture that coats the palate. Created by the monks who used to eat these cheeses on their ‘fasting days’, which is why sometimes these cheeses are referred to as having a meaty texture!
Such things as Epoisse, Taleggio and Raclette are the most well known.


Washed rind cheeses are best with a dry fruity white wine such as a Gruner Vetliner with a savoury finish.
A sweet Sauternes lends well to these cheeses.
With these cheeses having such a strong taste, and softer washed rind a yeasty taste, they lend well to heavy Trappist beers such as Chimay or a light Stout (Porter).
Depending on the strength of the cheese a Cider can be a pleasant pairing.


Epoisse is washed in a pomace brandy, so best paired with the same. The ‘meaty’ texture lends well to such strong flavours. Also from Burgundy, so the old adage what grow together goes together. It brings forward the creamy texture.
Raclette being from more Alpine areas, the local wines tend to be more minerally which match the savoury character of the cheese.
A sweet wine would hide a little of the punch whilst still allowing the flavours to penetrate.
A savoury cider would allow for a little sweetness contrasting with the cheese whilst also allowing the full flavours to come though.
The monks were the ones to play with cheese and created their Trappist beers, both having yeasty notes, they really do marry well together.
chimay and cheese


Such as the Dutch Wyngaard Chevre, Midnight Moon or Queso de Cabra from Spain
These aged semi hard goats cheeses still have a little of the goats cheese acidity but also have a more mellow sweetness that comes through the cheese and a fudgey texture in the mouth


A dry fruity wine such as a Gewurztraminer, or similar sparkling wine.
Sweet dessert wine with Pineapple notes, or try a more gentle fruity Riesling or Chablis with a savoury finish.
A crisp Pilsner or Wheat beer.
Umajun Junmai – a nutty savoriness and yet a gentle citrus note.


A sparkling wine to bring forward the cheeses sweetness.
Dessert wine to match the sweetness with the acidity of the Goats cheese.
Beer to refresh the palate with crisp bubbles
Sake to provide lively vanilla notes and finish with a crisp citrus to contrast the sweetness.

Learn more about Sake pairing here . . .



These cheeses are not for your faint hearted. Most definitely creamy and with minimum 70% fat content it’s not a cheese I recommend eating everyday. But, we have some wonderful suggestions on how to tone down that creamy mouth feel when you cant help but to over indulge!
So, whether you’re into your Brillat Savarin, Delice de Bourgogne or many of the other incarnations, this one is for you!


This type of cheese matches with so many things its hard to narrow down, but here are some of the ways I’ve enjoyed
it. . .

A dry classic French Champagne
A light fruity Rose, to bring forth memories of ‘strawberries & cream’
A sweet dessert wine such as a Vouvray
For something more heavy this cheese stands up to a full bodied Cabernet
A crisp refreshing Pilsner
A heavy Stout, try a Chocolate Stout ‘chocolate & cream’
A full flavoured apple cider with gentle sweetness, I prefer the Sidra del Verano from Spain
With a Tawny Port or for a sweeter version try a Spainish Sherry, Pedro Ximenez
A blended malt whisky from Speyside in Scotland, called Monkey Shoulder
Umeshu – A sweet dessert Sake, with a sweet yet slight sourness.


A Sparkling with lots of bubbles helps to cut through the richness of the cheese
Whilst I’m not a huge fan of dark beers, this is like a chocolate and beer cream delight.
However the bubbles in a Pilsner lightens the cheese cutting through the richness.
The sweetness in the Port helps the cheese feel like a all in one dessert luxury
This particular Whisky has a lovely mellow sweetness that pairs so marvelously with this cheese.
A fruity Sake reminiscent of a dessert wine.

brillat savarin cheese


So, now we’re talking of cheeses such as Ossau Iraty, Chebris & Alpine cheeses such as Uplands pleasant ridge from America, or France’s Comte & Beaufort . . . Manchego which we’ll come to later.
Some of these cheeses are made during certain times of the year but for arguments sake were going to put them into this category for now!


Classically a dry fruity white wine pairs best with Alpine cheeses such as a Vin Jaune
Fruity full bodied red wines have their place too
Belgium Pilsners, with a crisp finish or Pale Ale with more hoppy notes
Tawny Port or local Topaques
Karakuchi – with a minerality and upfront fruity notes, perfect for complex cheese flavour profiles


Vin Jaune made in the Comte region (what grows together, goes together)
Ossau Iraty used to have such a pungent aroma/taste that heavy red wines were used to mask the cheese. Thankfully this is no longer the case however the tradition still remains and with its fudgey texture pairs quite well with a fruity full bodied Pinot Noir.
Belgium beers are fruity enough whilst having enough savoury notes to match the complex cheeses
Ports with their sweetness bring out the more savoury notes of these cheeses
Karakuchi Sake, with its minerality makes it a perfect fit for savoury cheeses bring out out its subtle flavours


Talking of classic British cloth bound cheeses (although there are some great American ones too known as ‘bandaged wrapped’) such as Cabot. These are drier and crumblier than your supermarket versions with a tang that lingers on the palate due to the cheese being aged for 12 months or more


Depending on the strength of the cheese, a hearty red wine such as a Shiraz
A dry oak smoked chardonnay
A bold brown ale
A Tawny port
Umeshu, a sweeter style fruity sake


A hearty red wine can match the the strength of a sharp cheddar without becoming overpowering
The oaked Chardonnay will match the dryness of the cheese bringing out the grassy notes
Unless you have an Isle of Mull cheese which has strong whisky overtones so a whiskey would be best!
A full strength beer would match the cheddar without being too strong, what grows together goes together. British Cheddars are best with hearty British ales.
The sweetness of a fortified Port or Umeshu sake contrasts with the sharp cheddar bringing forth other subtle nutty flavours


Gentle Cheddars such as Cantal, Barbers Cheddar or Double Gloucester which have a more buttery texture and softer notes.


A fresh fruity wine from the same region
A crisp pilsner style beer
A crisp savoury cider, not too sweet
A blended malt whisky from Speyside in Scotland, called Monkey Shoulder


The wine would contrast the butteriness of the cheese bringing other flavours through
A Pilsner style beer would cut through the buttery notes with its refreshing bubbles
A refreshing French style savoury cider to contrast the butter notes
This particular Whisky has a lovely mellow sweetness that pairs so marvelously with this cheese.


A sheeps milk cheese, these generally have a natural oiliness to them with hazelnut overtones


A big bold red wine with heavy tannins
Local Rioja wine
Spanish beer from the La Mancha region with malty notes
Spanish Sherry
White Spanish Port
Sweeter Spanish cider like a Sidra del Verano


Manchego is a cheese that pairs wonderfully with heavy tannin red wines and compliment each other
The malty notes of the beer pair beautifully with the nuttiness in the cheese
Spanish Sherry with its sweeter notes brings out the subtler cheese notes
A savoury Spanish white Port would match the savoury notes of the cheese allowing others to come to the fore
The sweeter Spanish cider contrasting the savoury notes of the cheese


Aged Goudas have been aged for 12 months or more and as they age the flavours intensify from a caramel sweetness to a grainy salty texture.


Riesling or something floral
Champagne or something bubbly
Karakuchi – with a minerality and upfront fruity notes


The floral notes will mellow out the intense sweetness
The bubbles will have the same effect as above
Sherry will match the cheeses sweetness and contrast its saltiness
The Sake with its minerality will match perfectly for complex cheese flavour profiles


Blue cheeses tend to vary in strength but have a saltiness throughout the pate with a strong smell


A sweet dessert wine with fruity pineapple notes
A dessert wine, like a Late harvest Botrytis or similiar.
Full bodied Pale Ale
Port or Muscat
Spanish Sherry like a Pedro Ximenez
Glen Garioch


The sweetness mellows the saltiness of the cheese
The beer will match the strength of the cheese allowing other notes to come to the fore
The sweetness of the fortifieds pair to bring forth the gentle blue cheese flavours
This whisky has lovely vanilla notes with a gentle smokiness that matches with the cheeses intensity

Be wary of red wine with some blue cheeses, the wines tannin and the cheeses react to create a very unpleasant mouth feel, Metallic almost. Be sure to taste your combination first before unleashing it on your guests!


Such things as a coffee rubbed rind Bella Vitano American cheese, spiced Cumin Gouda, Isle of Mull Cheddar


These cheeses are interesting as they have so many options due to their flavourings

Pair with either a coffee or caramel flavoured drink to match the cheese
or a crisp wine or beer to contrast

Pair with either a spiced Rum or Whisky to match the cheese
or a sweeter fruity wine like a Riesling to contrast

This cheese is made with the milk of cows which are fed some of the leftover draff from the local whisky distillery.
Pair with a local Whisky to match the cheese
or a crisp refreshing white wine like Sauvignon Blanc to contrast

Bella Vitano Espresso

No matter what you enjoy, there is no wrong or right answers. You’ll be amazed just how much the cheeses can change with what you pair with them.
Everybody has different tastebuds!

Chevre d’Aquitaine

History of Chevre d’Aquitaine

Made in the heart of the Basque Country, hence the name Goats cheese of Aquitaine. Aquitaine is in the very South East of France sharing the border with Spain, but this goat cheese is different from those found in either France or Spain.
The goats have a perfect opportunity to graze on the lush green mountainous pastures which helps to produce the creamy unique milk for this cheese.
It is then that the cheese is made in small batches during spring/autumn (February to November).


The cheese is matured by the legendary Herve Mons in his specifically designed cheese ripening tunnel. Here it is matured for up to six months, and during this time it is loving turned and brushed in order to develop a protective natural rind and gain maximum flavour and goodness from the cheese.

chevre d aquataine

Tasting notes

The white interior of the cheese has a luxurious smooth and fudgey texture with a fresh aroma, the cheese notes bring forth subtle caramel notes with a gentle goats cheese acidity.
exhibits a smooth and supple texture and has a mild, pleasant aroma. With further maturation, the interior develops more caramel notes with a hint of herbs.

With thanks for the picture courtesy of The Smelly cheese club, who import, mature many of my favourite cheese.
Check them out here . . .

Asiago family

Pron. Ass-see-ar-go

History of Asiago

A cheese produced in the North eastern part of Italy.
The PDO restricts the cattle & milk to be from the area in order to be called Asiago.
Around 1600, Asiago was first mentioned during an important festival featuring wool and cheeses. The production of Asiago is comprised of 4 Northern provinces; Vicenza, Padova, Trento and Treviso.

Asiago is a town in the Vicenza region, 1000mtrs above sea level.

This cheese is said to be one of the oldest cheeses from the region dating back to . Latin texts mention dairy production in the region during the 5th Century.
During the time when the church would demand ‘rent’ paid in cheese. At the time ewes milk was used, then later cows milk. The PDO became very important to preserve this cheese and its region.


Asiago is available in 5 ages.

Asiago Fresco (Fresh)

has a partial cooking of the walnut sized curds, when it is then salted and then pressed into moulds where the cheese has its stenciled banding applied to imprint the name of the cheese. After 3 weeks it is released yet the cheese doesn’t reach maturity until after 50 days of ripening. It is said to be best enjoyed before 2 months of age.

With a soft elastic texture and irregular eyes, it smells like butter with an yoghurt like acidity, sweet with a slight acidity on the palate.

Asiago Stagionato (Aged)

The milk is left to settle where the cream is removed from the surface and then go through the same process as above with more pressing to remove excess whey.

Asiago Mezzano (Medium)

aged upto 6 months with a compact texture, smells of milk and fresh grass with a sweet taste.

Asiago Vecchio (Old)

aged up to 16months with a firm texture, smells of grass and fresh fruit, mostly pineapple sweetness notes.

Asiago Stravecchio (Very Old)

aged for 15 months or more. A hard textured cheese, golden in colour with very small eyes and notes of dried fruits and spices leaving a sharp aftertaste on the palate


Secrets of the forest

History of Secrets of the forest

Produced by That’s amore in Melbourne Australia. A company who makes traditional handmade fresh Italian cheeses brings us this little beauty.
You would barely know what wonder lurks underneath. . .

Maturing & Tasting notes

Weighing in a little over 1kg this cheese is made with pasteurised Australian buffalo milk and Australian black truffles, then is matured under wild grasses, just like they do with some traditional Italian cheese.

The cheese is then aged for 6 months to produce a semi hard cheese where the earthy flavours of the native grasses infuse the cheese and blend wonderfully with this rich creamy buffalo milk and then the flecks of truffle throughout the cheese lingers on the palate leaving you wanting more!



Pron. Gar-rot-cha

History of Garrotxa

From the Catalonia region of the Spanish Pyrenees, we bring you this semi hard Goats cheese.
This aea is well known for its gorges and cliff faces so suits perfectly for the sure footed goats of the region.
This cheese was revived by passionate cheese makers in the 1980s as the recipe was almost lost but thanks to some hard work this cheese is still around for all of us to enjoy.

Maturing & Tasting notes

This goats cheese is aged for 1-2 months after having a surface of ash rubbed over the cheese, and the aging produces a wonderful coating of a blue grey velvety mould over the cheese known as pell florida.
This rind is perfectly suitable to be eaten as was originally placed over the cheese to keep insects at bay, these days with modern refrigeration its merely for aesthetics.

This cheese is unlike what you’d expect from a goats cheese as its earthy notes balance the acidity which some people find offensive. However the taste is one of a fudgey texture that lingers on the palate with a nutty walnut overtone, forest floor earthiness and a clean smooth finish on the palate.

Garrotxa has even been referred as a dessert cheese so go ahead and have some with of Spains best Sparkling wine or even a Pedro Ximenez Sherry.

Salers cheese

History of Salers cheese

A hard cow’s (Salers cow) milk cheese made with raw milk.
Salers is often compared to and confused with Cantal cheese. But the difference is quite poles apart after having tasted the two.
The AOC regulation states that Salers must be made only from the milk of cows that graze on mountain pastures at an altitude of 1100m from the Canal Auvergne region in the summer. Cantal cheese can be made from the milk of other seasons, producing a vastly different product.
salers cheese


This cheese weighs in at 45kg and at only 50cm across is quite a wheel.
It came to prominence when Maréchal de Senneterre served it at the table of Louis XIV of France.
A man who is also responsible for the introduction of Saint Nectaire and Cantal.

‘Salers de Buron Traditional’ is the bees knees of this particular type of cheese as it is made up on the mountains chalets (buron) in the summer months.
Made in the high pastures of the Auvergne by Marcel Taillé, it is a glorious example of traditional farmhouse production. Spring time Marcel takes his herd of 65 Salers cows up into the mountains where he will spend the following 5-6 months in a small stone cottage which will serve as his home, dairy and cheese cellar.
The cows are milked on the field, a tricky process as Salers cows must be milked alongside their calves.

Marcel produces one cheese each day, and what a beauty it is. Made in wooden vats and according to a recipe that is strikingly similar to a Cheddar.

Tasting notes


The cheese are aged for a minimum of 12 months before they are released to the public.
The resulting cheeses are a wonder, with a luscious buttery texture, with a sharp acidity reminiscent of raw onion and floral herbaceous notes.
The interior pate is a rich yellow hue and with a musty crust on the exterior.

Learn more about this fantastic cheese producing area here . . .


History of Nufenen

The official name is Nufener Bio Bergkäse ‘Wurzig’ which translates roughly to ‘Nufener Organic Mountain Cheese, Spicy’.
It is made by the dairy cooperative in eastern Switzerland, in the Graubünden canton, comprising of 22 dairy farmers from the surrounding area. Although the town has grown it has always been a tiny town with only 150 residents in 2000. Nufenen is a relatively young cheese, having only of been in production for some fifty years.

The picturesque town of Nufenen
The picturesque town of Nufenen


The cheese ia a purely d’Alpage cheese, meaning it is only made during the spring/summer months when the cows are grazing over lush fresh grasses and flowers, giving over to a lovely floral cheese.
Nufenen is aged for 5-8 months before being exported.
The rind is washed regularly with a special brine blend and flipped on a regular basis whilst it develops the reddish brown, slightly sticky rind. Much in the same way as Appenzeller another well loved Swiss cheese.
Internally the pate is golden with a scattering of small round eyes, dense and creamy, with a sweet and yet savoury floral notes.


Tasting notes

Its buttery flavour will delight the palate with its semi hard texture, with herbal minerality, nutty tones and yet a wonderful floralness coming through this cheese is definitely a cheese to enjoyed on those cold wintry nights

Queso de Cabra

History of Queso de Cabra

Goat cheese has been made for thousands of years, and probably was one of the first dairy products prepared.
Queso de Cabra, Meaning ‘cheese of the goat’ from the latin ‘cabra’ for goat.
This cheese is a pasteurised Spanish goat’s cheese made in the region of Montes de Toledo which spans East to West across Spain, just north of the region known for Manchego cheese in the Castilla La Mancha.
The goats in this region graze on rich grass and wild herbs, producing a full flavoured cheese.

Manufactured by the Rocinante Company in Spain, this cheese is commonly known as Queso de Cabra or Puro de Cabra depending on age.
la mancha


This cheese has an ivory white colour with a closed texture and small cavities and the distinctive Herringbone on the exterior much the same way as Manchego cheese has.
Aged for a minimum of 1 month there are 3 varieties of this cheese:

Queso de Cabra Puro, aged for 1 month

Queso de Cabra al Vino, aged for 1 month and washed in Red Wine

Queso de Cabra al Romero, aged for 4 months and covered in Rosemary

The flavour of this cheese has a wonderful acidity just as you’d expect from a goats cheese with a faint sweetness and yet aromas of fresh hay, with a nutty buttery finish.

queso de cabra


Pron. Sh-bree

History of Chebris

Produced by Onetik one of the largest producers of this cheese as well as the most loved Ossau Iraty.
This cheese hails from the Basque area of France between the French and Spanish border.

A mixed milk cheese with a combination of sheep and goats milk. A tomme of a cheese weighing in at approximately 4kg,

Tasting notes

With a wonderful combination of both milks, this cheese has a fudgey texture classic of a semi hard alpine cheese with a creamy nuttiness, yet a cleansing acidity coming from the goats milk.
Definitely one of the top mixed milk cheeses.

Lamb chopper

History of Lamb chopper

A relative to the Midnight Moon, lamb chopper is a sheep’s milk cheese made by the Dutch exclusively for Cypress Grove.
A new comer in the cheese world only having been around since the 1980s.

Maturing & tasting notes

Aged only 3-6 months this is a Gouda style cheese, made using pasteurised milk and vegetarian rennet. In a classic tomme shape and weighing in at approximately 4kg per wheel.
Soft and buttery on the palate, this cheese has incredible sweetness redolent of salted caramel and fresh vanilla beans. With a slight hint of citrus to contrast the savoury qualities of sheep’s milk making this cheese a very well balanced cheese.