Cheese is a generic term for a diverse group of milk-based food products. Cheese is produced in wide-ranging flavors, textures, and forms.
Cheese consists of proteins and fat from milk, usually the milk of cows, buffalo, goats, or sheep. It is produced by coagulation of the milk protein casein. Typically, the milk is acidified and addition of the enzyme rennet causes coagulation. The solids are separated and pressed into final form. Some cheeses have molds on the rind or throughout. Most cheeses melt at cooking temperature.
Hundreds of types of cheese are produced. Their styles, textures and flavors depend on the origin of the milk (including the animal's diet), whether they have been pasteurized, the butterfat content, the bacteria and mold, the processing, and aging. Herbs, spices, or wood smoke may be used as flavoring agents. The yellow to red color of many cheeses, such as Red Leicester, is formed from adding annatto.
There are many types of cheese, but Cheddar seems to be the most popular here in the Philippines. Most household use it for their sandwiches and cooking, and I have to say it is also the type we use for our pasta and homemade pizza, simply because Parmesan and Mozzarella are very expensive, and Cheddar is such a great alternative. Nowadays, many kinds of cheeses are available in supermarkets, allowing people to discover its varied textures and flavors. Among those I have seen include: Feta, Blue Cheese, Cream Cheese, Ricotta, Parmesan, and Mozzarella. Some kinds may not be available in most supermarkets, but there are deli shops that sells a big range of cheeses.
The Philippines also has its own unique kind of cheese called Kesong Puti (White Cheese), made from unskimmed carabao's milk, and is similar to cottage cheese. I hope I can show an image here, but I cannot find any in my files. Maybe when letter K comes around, I'd share it. :)
One of my favorite Cheese dishes would be Mozzarella en Caroza, which I tasted at C' Italian Dining in Angeles, Pampanga (2008). Big chunks of mozzarella cheese deep fried and served with pomodoro sauce and mushroom slices. Cheese and tomato sure goes well together, that whenever I see deep fried mozzarella sticks (served with tomato sauce) in different Italian restaurants I visit, I can't resist ordering a serving.
At home, one of the simple cheese dishes I always prepare is the Cheese and Green Bell Pepper Sticks, made using strips of cheddar cheese and green bell pepper wrapped in spring roll wrappers. It's a good finger food and appetizer, and sometimes, I eat it as my meal.
I have mentioned that I love cheddar cheese, but there's one more cheese I love:
What's your favorite cheese?