Top 10 Most Popular Soft Cheeses in the World

10 Most Popular Soft Cheeses in the World - Cheese Origin

From the creamy decadence of French Camembert to the tangy zest of Greek Feta, we’ll delve into the fascinating culinary uses of these beloved cheeses.

Whether you’re a seasoned gourmand or a cheese-loving novice, prepare to embark on a global adventure that will tantalize your taste buds, deepen your appreciation for artisanal craftsmanship, and perhaps even inspire your next cheesy creation in the kitchen.

Top 10 Best Soft Cheeses

CheeseDescriptionTasting ProfileOrigin
FetaA brined curd cheese traditionally made with sheep or goat’s milk.Tangy, salty, and slightly creamy.Greece
RicottaAn Italian whey cheese made from sheep, cow, goat, or buffalo milk.Mild, sweet, and creamy.Italy
Brie de MeauxA soft-ripened cheese made from cow’s milk.Rich, buttery, fruity and nutty.France
PaneerAn unaged, non-melting farmer cheese made by curdling milk with a fruit- or vegetable-derived acid.Mild, milky, and slightly chewy.India
CamembertA soft, creamy, surface-ripened cow’s milk cheese.Earthy, mushroomy, and slightly pungent.France
BrocciuA white, smooth, fresh cheese made from sheep or goat’s milk.Lightly salty, tangy, and creamy.Corsica (France)
Kesong PutiA traditional Filipino soft cheese made from unskimmed carabao’s milk.Mild, soft, slightly salty.Philippines
Vacherin Mont d’OrA luxurious soft cheese made from raw cow’s milkCreamy, almost liquid texture and rich, complex flavors.France & Switzerland
Bresse BleuA blue-veined cheese with a white bloomy rind.Creamy, mild, slightly tangy with a hint of mushroom.France
Saint AlbrayA flower-shaped cheese with a creamy texture and edible orange rind.Nutty, creamy, and slightly acidic.France

1. Feta

  • Country of Origin: Greece
  • Milk Type: Sheep or Goat’s milk
  • Taste: Tangy, salty, and slightly creamy
  • Texture: Crumbly
  • Food Pairing: Greek salad, spinach pie, or grilled vegetables
  • Wine Pairing: Dry Rosé or Sauvignon Blanc
  • Read in-depth guide

Feta is a classic Greek cheese renowned for its unique combination of tanginess and creaminess. Traditionally made with sheep or goat’s milk, Feta is a brined curd cheese that boasts a rich, salty flavor profile. Its crumbly texture makes it an excellent addition to salads, particularly the iconic Greek salad, but it can also be enjoyed with olives or baked into a savory pastry.

Despite its crumbly nature, Feta has a certain creamy aspect that balances its saltiness, making it a versatile cheese that can complement a variety of dishes. This cheese is a testament to the culinary heritage of Greece, offering a taste experience that is both refreshing and deeply satisfying.

2. Ricotta

  • Country of Origin: Italy
  • Milk Type: Sheep, Cow, Goat, or Buffalo’s milk
  • Taste: Mild, sweet, and creamy
  • Texture: Soft and grainy
  • Food Pairing: Pasta, pizza, or lasagna
  • Wine Pairing: Prosecco or Chianti
  • Read in-depth guide

Ricotta is a beloved Italian cheese that is celebrated for its mild, sweet, and creamy flavor. It’s traditionally made from the whey left behind during the production of other cheeses, from sheep, cow, goat, or buffalo’s milk. Its name, “ricotta,” means “recooked,” reflecting this unique production process.

The texture of Ricotta is soft and grainy, making it a versatile addition to both savory and sweet dishes. From being a key ingredient in lasagna and stuffed pasta shells to enhancing desserts like cannoli or cheesecakes, Ricotta brings a delightful lightness and creaminess to any recipe. Its fresh and slightly sweet taste makes it a favorite in Italian cuisine and beyond.

3. Brie de Meaux

Brie de Meaux
  • Country of Origin: France
  • Milk Type: Cow’s milk
  • Taste: Rich, buttery, fruity, and nutty
  • Texture: Soft and creamy with a bloomy rind
  • Food Pairing: Baguette, apples, or grapes
  • Wine Pairing: Champagne or Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Read in-depth guide

Brie de Meaux is an exquisite French cheese named after the town of Meaux in the Brie region, located near Paris. Recognized as an AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) product since 1980, this cheese carries a rich history and reputation, earning it the nickname “Le Roi des Fromages” or “The King of Cheeses.” Made from raw cow’s milk, Brie de Meaux is characterized by its soft texture, bloomy rind, and a flavor profile that is wonderfully complex.

Its taste is milky and rich, underscored by sweet and buttery notes of mushrooms, truffles, and almonds. The cheese is particularly savored for its robust, earthy, and pungent qualities, distinctly setting it apart from other varieties of Brie. Pair Brie de Meaux with a fresh glass of Champagne to truly savor its royal flavors.

4. Paneer

  • Country of Origin: India
  • Milk Type: Cow’s milk
  • Taste: Mild and milky
  • Texture: Soft and slightly chewy
  • Food Pairing: Curry, spinach, or peas
  • Wine Pairing: Riesling or Chenin Blanc
  • Read in-depth guide

Paneer is a traditional Indian cheese that holds a special place in South Asian cuisine. It’s a non-melting cheese made from cow or buffalo milk by curdling heated milk with lemon juice, vinegar, or other food acids. Paneer is known for its mild, milky flavor and slightly chewy consistency. Its unique non-melting characteristic makes it perfect for grilling or frying, often served in cubes as a main ingredient in classic dishes like paneer tikka or palak paneer.

With its high protein content and versatility, Paneer is not only a staple in vegetarian diets but also a beloved ingredient that adds a delightful touch to a variety of dishes.

5. Camembert

  • Country of Origin: France
  • Milk Type: Cow’s milk
  • Taste: Earthy, mushroomy, and slightly pungent
  • Texture: Soft and creamy with a bloomy rind
  • Food Pairing: Baguette or apples
  • Wine Pairing: Cider or Pinot Noir
  • Read in-depth guide

Camembert is a renowned French cheese, originating from the Normandy region. It’s crafted from cow’s milk and is well-known for its bloomy, edible rind and creamy, soft interior that melts in your mouth. The cheese ripens from the outside in, resulting in a velvety texture that becomes increasingly runny with age.

Camembert boasts a rich, buttery, and slightly earthy flavor profile, with subtle hints of mushrooms and a unique aroma. It’s often baked until gooey and served with bread or fruits, making it a staple on any cheese board. With its distinct taste and texture, Camembert is truly a testament to the art of French cheesemaking.

6. Brocciu

  • Country of Origin: Corsica (France)
  • Milk Type: Sheep or Goat’s milk
  • Taste: Lightly salty, tangy, and creamy
  • Texture: Soft and smooth
  • Food Pairing: Figatellu (a type of Corsican sausage), or in desserts like fiadone
  • Wine Pairing: Vermentino or Grenache
  • Read in-depth guide

Brocciu is a traditional Corsican cheese, made from either goat’s or ewe’s milk. Celebrated as a national food on the island of Corsica in France, it’s uniquely different from other soft cheeses. It’s made by heating whey and then adding milk, which gives it a light, airy texture and a fresh, slightly tangy flavor.

Brocciu is often consumed fresh, within 48 hours of production, but can also be aged for a few weeks. This versatile cheese can be used in a variety of dishes, both savory and sweet, including omelets, pastas, and desserts like fiadone, a type of Corsican cheesecake. With its distinct taste and texture, Brocciu is a true gem of Corsican gastronomy.

7. Kesong Puti

Kesong Puti
  • Country of Origin: Philippines
  • Milk Type: Carabao’s milk
  • Taste: Mild, soft, slightly salty
  • Texture: Soft and slightly crumbly
  • Food Pairing: Pandesal (Filipino bread roll) or ensaymada (Filipino brioche)
  • Wine Pairing: Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio

Kesong Puti, also known as Filipino White Cheese, is a soft, unaged cheese that takes pride in its roots in the Philippines. It’s traditionally made from unskimmed carabao’s milk, giving it a delicate, creamy texture that melts in your mouth. The process involves curdling the milk with vinegar, citrus juices, or sometimes rennet, resulting in a mellow, slightly salty, and tangy flavor.

Kesong Puti is often enjoyed fresh, wrapped in banana leaves, which adds a hint of nostalgia to its taste. From being paired with pandesal (Filipino bread roll) for breakfast to being used in various dishes, Kesong Puti is a testament to the rich and diverse culinary heritage of the Philippines.

8. Vacherin Mont d’Or

Vacherin Mont d'Or
  • Milk Type: Cow’s milk
  • Taste: Rich, robust and earthy with a hint of milky sweetness
  • Texture: Creamy, almost liquid when fully ripe
  • Food Pairing: Crusty bread, boiled potatoes, cured meats
  • Wine Pairing: Full-bodied white wines like Chardonnay or light reds like Pinot Noir
  • Read in-depth guide

Vacherin Mont d’Or is a seasonal soft cheese, hailed as a crown jewel in the culinary world. Originating from the Jura mountain region bordering France and Switzerland, it’s crafted with raw cow’s milk collected during the winter months. The unique practice of encasing the cheese in spruce bark imparts a distinct, resinous flavor to its already rich and creamy profile.

When fully matured, its texture becomes sumptuously runny, making it a perfect accompaniment to crusty bread or boiled potatoes. With its robust, earthy taste balanced by a hint of sweetness, Vacherin Mont d’Or offers an indulgent and unforgettable tasting experience.

9. Bresse Bleu

Bresse Bleu
  • Country of Origin: France
  • Milk Type: Cow’s milk
  • Taste: Creamy, mild, slightly tangy with a hint of mushroom
  • Texture: Soft with a bloomy rind
  • Food Pairing: Baguette, pears, or walnuts
  • Wine Pairing: Beaujolais or Côte du Rhône
  • Read in-depth guide

Bresse Bleu is a luxurious soft cheese that hails from the Bresse region of France. It’s a blue-veined cheese, made from pasteurized cow’s milk, known for its indulgent creaminess and distinctive tangy flavor. The cheese sports a bloomy white rind that encases a soft, ivory-colored paste with blue-green mold veins running throughout.

Despite the intense color of the veins, Bresse Bleu offers a surprisingly mild and balanced flavor, making it an excellent introduction to blue cheeses. Its rich, buttery texture combined with a slight hint of spiciness makes it a versatile cheese, perfect for enhancing salads, pasta dishes or simply enjoyed on a slice of crusty bread. Bresse Bleu truly embodies the refined flavors and gastronomic prestige of its home region.

10. Saint Albray

Saint Albray
  • Country of Origin: France
  • Milk Type: Cow’s milk
  • Taste: Nutty, creamy, and slightly acidic
  • Texture: Creamy with an edible orange rind
  • Food Pairing: Bread, apples, or on a cheese board
  • Wine Pairing: Bordeaux or Merlot
  • Read in-depth guide

Saint Albray is a distinctive, flower-shaped cheese that originates from the Aquitaine region of France. Made from pasteurized cow’s milk and ripened for two weeks, this cheese showcases a unique blend of flavors and textures. It is often compared to Camembert, but it stands out with its milder flavor profile.

Its aging process imparts a robust, hearty flavor while maintaining a smooth, creamy texture. Saint Albray is characterized by its pronounced light taste and unique color, making it a delightful addition to any cheese board. Despite its slightly strong aroma, it’s a crowd-pleaser with its fine flavor and distinct appearance.

Final Thoughts

We’ve traversed the globe, tasted the creamy, tangy, and mild flavors that each cheese has to offer, and delved into their rich histories. From the artisanal traditions of the Mediterranean to the innovative craftsmanship in France, these cheeses are not just delicious but a testament to the diverse cultures and culinary expertise around the world.

We hope this exploration has not only broadened your cheese palate but also inspired a deeper appreciation for the art of cheesemaking.

Remember, the world of cheese is vast and varied – there’s always a new flavor to discover, a new pair to try, and a new recipe to master. So, keep exploring, keep tasting, and above all, keep enjoying the wonderful world of cheese! Bon Appétit!

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