When going to the grocery store and seeing the variety of cheeses available, it can sometimes be shocking to see some cheeses that appear to be moldy. Typically, our reaction is to just avoid these cheeses for fear that they may not be safe to eat. But we are here to say that this is not always the case! Eating cheese with mold can open a new world of flavors and textures that add a little something special to any dish or tapa. Today we would like to share ways to safely eat cheese with mold as well as how to begin to distinguish the good from the bad.
What happens if you eat moldy cheese?
The big question is, so what will happen if I eat some moldy cheese? Well, to begin we must first learn a little more about the organisms and the fermentation process of cheese. Naturally, cheeses are composed of molds. Some greater than others. This all depends on the fermentation process of the dairy.
For instance, blue cheeses, like our Deliart Cabrales, and cheeses with a white rind like our Deliart goat roll cheese have higher levels of mold that is visible. And these moldy cheese types are perfectly safe to eat. In fact, the mold adds a lot of extra flavor and texture. This is because the fungi in some cheeses grow in the cavities or on the surface of the cheese.
Thus, providing color as well as producing enzymes. These enzymes degrade the proteins and fats in the paste. This creates a collection of compounds that give the cheese its unique taste, smell, and appearance. Sometimes it can also be a distinguishing factor between artisanal and industrial cheese.
Is moldy cheese safe to eat?
It depends on the cheese. Like we mentioned earlier, some cheeses naturally have mold that is safe to eat. There are also some cheeses that have good molds such as camembert or brie. This is considered good because the mold forms the white outer layer of the cheese making it safe to eat. Moldy cheese is safe to eat when it is formed in a controlled environment. A general rule is to avoid cheeses that have developed mold in a superficial or with an uncontrolled spontaneous growth because they could pose a danger to our health.
However, it is totally understandable if you are too afraid to eat moldy cheese. To prevent this, we recommend learning how to preserve cheese in your home. This way you can prevent it from going “bad”.
How to safely eat moldy cheese
If you happen to have a cheese in your refrigerator that has developed some mold that is not part of its normal characteristics then there are two ways to deal with this. Let’s say you have some firm or semi firm cheese like Manchego, Idiazabal, Murcia al vino or Mahon cheese, and you notice some mold growth. You don’t necessarily have to throw out the entire block of cheese. Instead, you can cut the affected area and a little barrier area to clear it away. Then you are good to go! A good rule of thumb is– the infected area with mold on hard cheeses can be removed without having to throw away the cheese.
Now, you have a soft or creamy cheese and you notice some moldy spots. These types of soft or creamy cheeses must be thrown away. This way you don’t take the risk of getting ill. This is because the mold can spread faster, and it might be more widespread than what is visible.
Nothing better than a quality cheese with mold
It is common to see a diverse range of cheeses in the Mediterranean diet. When you go to Europe you see cheeses that you’ve probable have never seen before. Don’t be afraid of them but give them a try! Many countries pride themselves on their delicious moldy cheeses. So instead of turning your nose at them just taste them. There really is nothing better than enjoying a quality cheese with mold with an amazing wine. It’s one of our favorite past times to do with friends and family!