What Is the Definition of Hard Cheese?

The term "hard cheese" refers to a wide range of cheeses with tastes that vary from mild to pungent. Generally manufactured from pasteurized or raw milk, these aged cheeses are ideal for grating or crumbling.

Because of the aging process, hard cheeses are dry in texture, but they are not wrinkled. Their shelf life is long, and hard cheeses continue to grow in flavor as they age. Many popular hard cheeses are Italian such as Parmigiano, Grana Padano and Pecorino Romano. Other examples of hard cheeses are Gouda styles, most cheddar cheeses, dry jack cheese, Swiss styles and several Tomme styles.