Should I eat the rinds of my cheeses?
Before answering this common question, let’s start with the basics:
What is a rind?
A rind is a natural shell that forms on
a cheese during the cheesemaking process. Its prime
role is to protect the cheese’s interior and allow it to
ripen and develop, ultimately enriching its final flavor.
But though these rinds are edible - as opposed to other
coverings, such as wax and cloth - another question
arises: Do you want to eat it?
Before you make the call, here’s a quick "inducation."
The Bloomy Rind
Bloomy rinds are creamy, white and soft, sometimes
even fuzzy. Like with Ile de France Brie
, St. Andre
-typically, mould spoors help transform the
curds, then the cheese are allowed to ripen in a
humidified room. During this affinage the mold grows,
or blooms, to form the rind.
The Washed Rind
Washed rinds, like those on Chaumes
, Pont l’Eveque
and St. Albray
, have noticeably orange or reddish hues.
The color comes from a process of brining or
sometimes swabbing the cheese with alcohol to create
a damp environment for edible mold to grow. Washed
rind cheeses are often the most aromatic, and their
flavors are generally stronger and saltier than
How do you know which rind is for you?
For fromages like Emmental
nothing to consider because the rind is not edible, but
for others, it’s all a matter of perspective. Specifically,
flavor and texture aspects, as each will vary from
cheese to cheese, person to person, based on the
situation. For instance, pairing condiments like jam,
honey or chutney with Brie will change the elements of
the experience, ultimately altering the taste of the
Etiquette and experts agree that if you’re faced with a
rinded cheese in a social setting, cut a wedge that
includes an equal share of the rind. Once it’s on your
plate, trim off the rind if you’d like. It’s impolite,
however, to cut around the rind on the cheese platter
itself. We’ve all seen it happen though, even at the
most sophisticated soirees - as the cheese platter
becomes a pileup of discarded rinds.
Eating the rind - well, that’s another controversy all
together. If you’re the adventurous type, go ahead and
try it. If you’d rather not, politely pass. Should
someone call you unsophisticated in doing so, just tell
them that renowned French cheese expert Pierre
Androuet doesn’t believe in eating rinds, and neither do
you. The choice is all yours.