Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Thursday, February 18 2021

A Cheese Glossary

By: Allison Spurrell
Learning the vocabulary of cheese

I thought it might be helpful to clarify a few cheese terms.

These aren’t descriptors of the taste of cheese, as those are much more subjective. This series will contain terms describing the science, care, and preparation of cheese. Hopefully, these will come in handy to describe what you’re looking for next time you visit a cheesemaker or just your local cheesemonger.

Watch for the next installment at the beginning of March.

Pictured are wheels of Comte aging, an example of affinage.Affinage /Affineur – Like in the rest of the food and wine world, there are many cheese words based on French terms. This is a good example of a term used throughout the cheese-making world that has no easy translation. Affinage is the process of ageing, curing, and caring for cheese during its maturation. Affineur is the person who is doing this and is responsible for knowing when the cheese is at its best. In some cases, cheesemakers send their cheese to an Affineur to age, as they don’t have the room or time to deal with the daily care, turning, salting, etc., that each cheese might require.


Alpine cheese is made from the milk of cows that graze in the high alpine meadows.Alpine – This is a term often used for a summer mountain cheese. When the cows are grazing in the mountains in alpine meadows, the milk's taste is significantly different from that of winter milk when the cows are housed indoors. The flora of each mountainous region is very different, so the nuances of the cheese from these different regions are substantially different. Classic alpine cheeses include Appenzeller, Beaufort, and Gruyere.



GOW suggested alpine wine pairings:



Written By: Allison Spurrell
Allison Spurrell
Allison Spurrell

Allison Spurrell stocks the larders of the city’s finest restaurants and your fridge alike, through les amis du FROMAGE, cheese shops in the Kitslano and Strathcona neighbourhoods in Vancouver which she runs with Joe Chaput. Their shelves are filled with 400 cheeses, including local, raw milk French, Italian and other specialties. They also sell foie gras, pâtés, crackers, biscuits, varietal olive oils, vinegars and other specialty food items and their kitchen in Strathcona prepares popular frozen taken away meals. Les amis du FROMAGE has received Vancouver Magazine's Restaurant Award as a top food supplier to Vancouver’s best restaurants and hotels. Allison is a proud member of Confrerie les Chevalier du Taste Fromage de France. To buy cheese visit: les amis du FROMAGE in Kitslano - 1752 West 2nd Ave | Tel (604) 732-4218 or Strathcona - 843 East Hastings St | Tel 604-253-4218 | www.buycheese.com.