All types of cheese start as curds, obtained from the coagulation of casein (the main protein in milk) using lactic ferments or rennet. It is drained to separate the curd from the lactoserum (whey) and fromage frais is obtained. Other cheeses are made in a mold, sometimes pressed and salted, and then ripened. During the ripening process, each cheese develops its own texture, flavor and aroma under the influence of yeast and mold.
There are over 1,000 types of cheese available. They are split into groups according to the way they are produced and the type of milk used to make them. For example: soft cheeses, hard cheeses, cheeses with herbs, cottage (spreading) cheese, goat's cheese, fromage frais, etc.
The benefits: Variable. Fromage frais and cottage cheese are great for dieters because they're low in calories (46 Kcal per 100g 0% fat and 70 Kcal per 100g 20% fat fromage frais). They're rich in protein and they fill you up. Other cheeses are, for the most part, very fatty, salty and calorific - especially hard, dry cheeses. However, they are bursting with protein and calcium.
Intake: Thumbs up to 0-20% fat fromage frais, which can even be a protein-rich substitute for meat and fish now and then. As for other cheeses, it's best to enjoy them from time to time in smaller quantities (30-40g per portion). Remember to go easy on the bread, butter, red wine and salad dressing they often go hand in hand with!