Aged Cheese List

August 26, 2013

We are familiar with the rule of refraining from consuming meat after eating certain types of cheese. In Yoreh Deah 89:2, the Remo writes, “And there are those who are strict and do not consume meat after eating cheese (source: Mordechai and Beis Yosef in the name of Maharam; v. Tur Yoreh Deah 89), and such is our minhag, that we do not eat any meat, even poultry, after hard cheese. And there are those who are lenient, and one should not protest their practice, but they must cleanse and rinse the mouth and wash the hands (before partaking of meat after cheese); however, it is preferable to be strict (and wait).” This is the basis for waiting the same time period after eating certain cheeses before then partaking of meat that one waits after eating meat before then partaking of dairy. (V. Taz ibid. s.k. 4.)

The Shach (ibid. s.k. 16) explains that “hard cheese” as referenced by the Remo means cheese which has aged (approximately) six months. Poskim note that after eating pungent, strong-tasting cheeses, one should similarly wait before eating meat, regardless of the cheese’s age. (V. Taz ibid. s.k. 4.)

Below is a list of many varieties of cheese, along with the times for which they are aged. An asterisk next to an entry indicates that the OU’s poskim maintain that one must wait after eating that specific cheese before then partaking of meat.

  • Appenzeller (Swiss-made): Classic: 3-4 months; Surchoix: 4-6 months*; Extra: over 6 months*
  • Asiago: Fresh Asiago/Asiago Pressato: 3-6 weeks; Asiago d´Allevo/Mezzano: 3-8 months*; Asiago d´Allevo/Vecchio: 9-18 months*; Asiago d´Allevo/Stravecchio: over 18 months*
  • Bastardo del Grappa: 3 months
  • Bleu (including Danish Bleu (“Danablu”) and Roquefort) : 2-4.5 months
  • Brie: 3-6 weeks
  • Caciocavallo:  fresh variety: 2 months;  semi-aged variety: up to 6 months*; aged variety: well beyond six months*
  • Caciotta Alpina: up to 1 year*
  • Caciotta al Tartufo: 2-3 months
  • Caciotta di Pecora: 30 days
  • Camembert: 3-5 weeks
  • Ciliegene: 1 week to 30 days
  • Dry Monterey Jack: 7-10 months*
  • Cheddar, Mild (Regular): 2-3 months
  • Cheddar, Medium, Sharp and Aged: close to 6 months, and up to 7 years (!)*
  • Chevre (Goat Cheese): usually aged for two weeks or less; however, if label says “aged” or states a specific cheese variety, may be aged much longer   
  • Colby: 1-3 months
  • Dolce (Mild, Regular) Provolone: 2-3 months
  • Edam: 3 months
  • Emmental (Swiss Cheese-Switzerland): 6-14 months*
  • Feta (cow milk): brined 2-3 months
  • Feta (goat or sheep milk): brined 3-6 months
  • Fontina: 1-8 months*
  • Golden Jack: 2 months
  • Gouda: 3 months
  • Gruyere: 7 weeks-3 months
  • Havarti (Regular): 3 months; however, Aged Havarti: 1 year*
  • Kashkaval: 3-6 months*
  • Marble Cheese: 4-6 months*
  • Monchego:  Monchego Fresco: 2 weeks; Mochego Curado: 3-6 months*; Monchego Viejo: 1 year*
  • Montaggio: 3-4 months
  • Montasio: fresh variety: 2 months; semi-aged variety: 5-9 months*; aged variety: 10 months*
  • Monterey Jack (in American market): 2 months (although foreign market Monterey Jack can be aged 6 months to 1 year*); see also Dry Monterey Jack, above
  • Mozzarella: 30 Days
  • Muenster: 5-7 weeks
  • Parmesan: 10-24 months or more*
  • Pecorino Fresco: 15-45 days
  • Pecorino Romano: 6-8 months*
  • Pepper Jack: Same as Monterey Jack (above)
  • Piccante Provolone: 6-12 months*
  • Primo Sale: approximately 30 days
  • Provola Sfoglia: 3-4 months
  • Provola dei Nebrodi: at least 6 months*
  • Provolone: see Dolce Provolone and Piccante Provolone
  • Pressed Asiago: 6 weeks
  • Queso Quesadilla: less than 1 month
  • Reggianito: 6 months*
  • Romano: 5-12 months*
  • Scamorza: 1 week
  • Speedy Piccante: at least 9 months*
  • Stracchino: 1-20 days
  • Stravecchio: 1-3 years*
  • Swiss – American-made, Baby Swiss and Lacey Swiss: 3-4 months; see Emmental, above, for Swiss made in Switzerland
  • Tabor: 30 days
  • Tilsit: 6 months (when produced correctly *, although it is suspected that much Tilsit cheese is not aged anywhere near a 6-month period)

 

Notes:

1. As mentioned earlier and indicated in the words of the Shach, the six month age is an approximation. The OU’s poskim thus maintain that cheese aged within a general range of this period necessitate waiting.

2.  Asiago d´Allevo/Mezzano, Fontina, Kashkaval and Marble Cheese vary widely in terms of age, and, unlike the case with most cheeses in the list, there exist no specific names or descriptive titles that denote the ages of these cheeses. Consumers should carefully review the labels of these cheeses for any indication of age.

3. American Cheese (“Process Cheese Food”) is typically made from non-aged cheddar that is melted and mixed with additives, and is then solidified and molded.

4. Although goat and sheep milk Feta can be aged in brine for up to six months, the effects of aging cheese in brine are quite different than the effects of aging cheese in dry environments, the latter of which is the predominant method of aging cheese. Cheese which ages (or “ripens”, in technical cheese-making terminology) in dry environments loses moisture and gains firmness throughout the process, thereby creating “hard cheese” for the purposes of waiting before consuming meat. Brine appears to largely prevent such textural aging from occurring. Although there is almost no halachic literature on the subject, it would seem that aging Feta in brine for six months would not per se engender a waiting period before consuming meat. However, aging Feta in brine can impact Feta’s flavor and could create a significant potency of flavor that would necessitate waiting before consuming meat.

Are all Fromages Created Equal? Waiting between Cheese and Meat