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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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We're talkin' cheese

Pat McCarthy, owner of DeLaurenti Specialty Food & Wine, offers his tips on tiptoeing into the cheese world.

Tip 1: When in doubt, start soft. Soft cheeses are younger and tend to be more mild. Mid-soft cheeses are older and more flavorful. Firm cheeses tend to pack the bigger punch.

Tip 2: Try a cheese from each animal. McCarthy recommends trying cheese from cows, goats and sheep (and even yaks and buffalo) to get a sense of which variety you prefer.

Tip 3: Then, try the major varieties. Give blue cheese a shot before declaring you hate it. Also try gouda, gruyere, Camembert. Give gorgonzola a whirl.

Karen Gaudette, Seattle Times food staff; photos by Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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