Published On: June 22, 2023

When it comes to imported cheeses, your choices are abundant and diverse, offering a wide variety of flavors and textures. Did you ever notice how some aged cheeses have a uniquely delicious, lightly crunchy texture to them? One of the many fascinating things that set imported cheeses apart is the presence of those incredible, naturally occurring, crunchy bits called “tyrosine crystals”. They’re a delightful part of cheese appreciation and definitely provide both taste and visual appeal. Let’s delve more into the world of imported cheeses and uncover the magic behind these tiny, crunchy crystals.

Cheese-making is a tradition that dates back centuries. From the iconic Parmigiano Reggiano of Italy to creamy Brie from France and nutty Gruyère from Switzerland, imported cheeses cater to a wide range of tastes. The careful craftsmanship, traditional production methods, and use of high-quality ingredients contribute to the exceptional flavors and textures that make these cheeses highly sought after around the world.

One intriguing natural feature found in many aged imported cheeses is the formation of tyrosine crystals. These tiny, visible crystals give aged cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano, Gouda, and Cheddar a unique textural experience. Tyrosine crystals are formed through the breakdown of proteins during the cheese aging process. As the cheese matures, the protein clusters into crystals, resulting in a delicious crunch when you take a bite. The crystals add a subtle burst of flavor and a pleasant mouthfeel, elevating the overall sensory experience of enjoying these cheeses.

Apart from their appealing texture, tyrosine crystals also contribute to the flavor profile of imported cheeses. These crystals contain naturally occurring amino acids that impart a rich and savory taste. When incorporated into your recipes and meals, imported cheeses with tyrosine crystals can elevate your dishes to new heights. Try grating some Parmigiano Reggiano over pasta for an added burst of umami or enjoy the crunchy texture in our Italian Kale Salad with Pancetta and Parmesan. You can also pair a sharp aged Cheddar or Gouda with crisp apples for a delightful crunchy-sweet contrast. The crystals even enhance the look of these cheeses, lending a fun sparkle and textural contrast to your favorite cheese boards.

The world of imported cheeses opens you up so many culinary possibilities! Whether you’re a cheese connoisseur, love hosting, or are an adventurous home cook; experimenting with cheeses that boast tyrosine crystals can be a fun way to add sophistication and uniqueness to your menus.

So, next time you’re at the cheese counter, don’t hesitate to try a new variety and savor the unique pleasure of tyrosine crystals. These tiny, crunchy crystals not only enhance the texture and flavor of the cheese but also add a touch of sophistication to your culinary creations.

Want to learn more about how imported cheeses are made and aged? Check out our piece All About Aging.