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To Eat or Not To Eat. That is the question . . about cheese rind.

I love the rind on many cheeses. But I also have that prissy American paranoia about sanitation. In France the cheesemongers handle cheese, money, itchy noses, etc., all with the same hands and without washing in between.

In general, I just make believe I never saw anything and eat the rind. But, seriously, what do others think about this?

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  1. As far as the American paranoia, I can only refer you to your (French) shrink. Cheese, mind you, is how antibiotics were developed, so you really don't have to worry about bugs. Especially in raw cheese ones.

    It is a matter of taste. Eat the rind if you like it, don't if you don't. Anthony, the ultimate genius of cheese, often says that the rind of cheese is like the clothes of a lover -- you take them off before the act, in general. I tend to agree with him as rinds are often where there is the most strength in taste and I like creaminess and flowery tastes. But some just love rind exactly for that reason.

    Also, my dog loves rind.

    Of course it also depends on how the cheese is being used. DCM initiated to baking my Maroilles (on any kind of vegetables) and there the rind definitely stays.

    1 Reply
    1. re: souphie

      Years ago I remember a French hostess commenting at table, "You cannot be American. Americns don't eat the rind." As you write, eat it if it tastes good to you, don't if it doesn't.

    2. I save my parm rinds and put them in sauces.

      DT

      2 Replies
        1. re: Davwud

          I always save the parmesan rinds, but end up with a huge collection in my freezer. When I made French Onion Soup a couple of weeks ago, I just threw in all the rinds.

        2. I don't see a problem with eating the rind... I think it does depend on the type of cheese though, as someone already mentioned. I also think that it takes better if the cheese and the cheese rind are in a dish where it is burt

          1. I don't eat the rind on Pont l'Évêque because I find it gritty. Some cheeses like Tomme de Savoie have unpleasantly hard rind, while soft goat cheese wrapped in leaves (like Banon) gets awfully mouldy. I eat most other rinds, and my dog loves them all!

            1. Not a question at all in my book. I eat 'em, all of 'em. Was at a cheese gathering the other day where a couple of the name cards said not to eat this or that particular rind. Totally ignored them.

              What doesn't kill me makes me stronger & all that.

              1. It's strictly a personal preference, not a sanitation issue. For bloomy rind cheeses--those with a white mold rind, like Brie and Camembert--I think that eating the rind is part and parcel of fully enjoying the cheese, but I know peoople who cut it off. I feel the same way about washed rind (stinky) cheeses, like Epoisses, although some other cheeses in this category have bitter rinds. An artificial rind (wax or plastic) found on a few kinds of cheese should obviously not be consumed. Natural rinds are edible, but not all are appealing or flavorful. Among those that are not are rinds covered in blue or green mold, which are unbearably musty (for example, Garrotxa), rinds that are gritty (Pont L'Eveque, as someone else has pointed out), and rinds of very aged cheeses that are too hard to bite into (Parmigiano-Reggiano). However, Italian mothers let their children chew on Parmigiano rinds to extract the flavor, just as we might chew a piece of gum. If you're tasting a cheese for the first time, try a little bit of the rind. If you like it, go ahead and eat the cheese, rind and all.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cheesemaestro

                  As others have said, I cube mine up and throw in soups.