Can you eat the cheese rind? Have you ever paused for a second with this question in mind and some deliciously looking cheese in your hand? We sure did!

This is one of the most common questions and a very fair question to ask. Above all, if you’re a cheese lover (and we know that you are), you want to have a full sensory experience of the cheese you’re tasting.

To cut it straight to the point, as long as cheese rind doesn’t have some solid material like cloth, paper or wax, you can eat it if you want to. The solid material rinds are the only type that is not intended for eating. These rinds act more like outer protection and do not add the flavour. However they are still perfectly safe to eat if you do, so don’t worry too much if you did eat one.

This is to say, there is one natural edible rind that we weren’t brave enough to eat. This is the rind of Garroxta cheese. This delicious cheese develops a suede-like dark grey rind while maturing three to four weeks in natural caves in the Spanish Catalonia region.

Why cheese needs a rind

First of all, what is cheese rind?  The cheese rind is basically an outer shell of the cheese that forms as a natural part of a cheesemaking process. Most types of cheese you’ll ever come across will feature a rind.

Cheese rind has two major roles to play in the cheesemaking process. Firstly, it acts as a protective blanket to the cheese. Secondly, it adds unique flavour and texture to the cheese itself. Above all, cheese rind can even change the flavour of cheese or significantly improve its favour.

What cheese rinds are made of

Generally speaking, cheese rinds are either edible and non-edible. The only non-edible ones are the rinds from cloth, paper, wax and bark. Everything else falls into the edible category. Out of edible cheese rinds, there are bloomy, washed and natural rinds.

Bloomy rinds are soft and fluffy with a creamy and mushroomy flavour. Bloomy rinds develop on the cheeses like Brie and Camembert due to the use of Penicillium Candidum.

Washed rinds form when cheeses are treated with brine mould-bearing agents during the cheesemaking process. This encourages the growth of bacteria and enhances the flavours of the cheeses.

Finally, natural rinds form as a part of the aging process. You can find these rind on cheeses like Parmesan or Gruyere.

Cheese rinds to try

We’ve got some amazing cheeses with edible cheese rinds in our Deli for you to try. Here are a few we recommend trying:

  • Ossau-Iraty. One of the oldest cheeses out there, even predating the English Alphabet. Its home is in Southwest of France along the Spanish border. Ossau-Iraty has a very distinct strong smell. The rind is natural with a chewy texture. You don’t have to eat it (if you don’t want to), but we do really enjoy this cheese with the rind.
  • Moro Di Vino is known as a drunken cheese. Naturally, it’s rinds are purple from the wine it’s submerged into during the cheesemaking process.
  • Oen by Bruney Island Cheese with a pungent washed-rind. Bruney Island Cheesemakers wash this cheese in Pinot Noir and wrap it in vine leaves to be carefully matured.

Visit us at our Deli to get some of our delicious cheeses listed above and more.

Can you eat the cheese rind?