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Cheese IQ: All the Lingo You Need to Know

Garrotxa cheese

Walk into a well-stocked cheese shop and you enter a linguistic jungle where the names of what you want could be in at least five different languages. As if choosing from the array of cheeses isn’t enough to contend with, how on earth does one pronounce some of the choices? It can be a little inhibiting. So, to help you avoid miscommunication at the counter, here’s a short primer on global cheese-speak, one name at a time.

Bleu d’Auvergne = bluh doe/VERN
Cabécou = ka/beh/KOO
Chabichou du Poitou = sha/bee/SHOO dew pwa/TOO
Époisses de Bourgogne = ay/PWAHZ deh boor/GO/nyuh
Fleur du Maquis = fler doo MACK/ee
Garrotxa = ga/ROAT/cha
Gjetost = YET/ost
Hoch Ybrig = hockh EE/brig
Idiazábal = ee/dee/ah/ZAH/bahl
Ossau-Iraty = OH/sew ear/ah/TEE
Vacherin Mont d’Or = VAH/sheh/ran mon/DOOR
Valençay = val/on/SAY

Kate Arding

Kate Arding is an independent dairy consultant specializing in small-scale cheese production and an original co-founder of culture: the word on cheese. A native of Britain, Kate has worked in the farmhouse cheese industry for 18 years, first as wholesale manager for Neal's Yard Dairy in London and later helping establish Cowgirl Creamery and Tomales Bay Foods in California. Since 2003 Kate has worked extensively both in the United States and overseas as an independent consultant, specializing in affinage, sales and marketing, and helping small-scale cheesemakers adapt to changing market demands.