With age and maturity must necessarily come more discerning tastes. Sooner or later, you’ll have to graduate from beer to wine, from Shining-Kubrick to Barry Lyndon-Kubrick, from Safran Foer to anyone else. And, of course, from cheddar to Stilton. Or Stinking Bishop. Or Garroxta. The Charted Cheese Wheel will help you make the jump from the yellow and mild commodity stuff to pungent artisanal and farmstead cheeses.
The just-released print from Pop Chart Lab indexes the vast, globe-spanning topography of cheese. The graphic collects 66 different varieties (and shades) in one very gooey, crumbly, moldy wheel.
The chart, which the designers call a "cornucopia of cheese," is broken down according to two basic criteria: the animal of provenance and level of hardness that form a fromage’s taste and texture. A little less than three-fourths of the featured cheeses are made using cow milk, while goat and sheep together account for slightly over a quarter of the bunch. (The remaining sliver is made up of two select Buffalo cheeses.) Each type comprises four subcategories of firmness, with each example described as hard, semi-hard, semi-soft, and finally, soft.
"There was a natural cutting off point where once we went over the cheeses found in our research really represented artisanal and not widely distributed varieties," Pop Chart Lab tells Co.Design. Still, the decision to limit the chart to the 66 and not, say, 100 cheeses sprung from aesthetic considerations: "We knew our wheel would be 18-inches in diameter with ¾-in given to each cheese to truly capture the texture and variety. We then broke it down to determine how many would fit in the overall wheel."
The gloriously cheesy spectrum encompasses every hue of orange, yellow, and beige you can imagine. The nomenclature is equally variegated: from Pantysgawn to Humboldt Fog, Val D’aosta to Idaho Goatster, you’ll be hard-pressed to remember them all. Nothing a little testing can’t fix: as per every one of Pop Chart Lab’s projects, the designers spent much time and research doing some field testing. They tasted every one of the cheeses and dutifully took notes on their textures and flavor profiles. (They’re torn between feta and manchego.) They even rubbed shoulders with some of the cheese artisans over at Murray’s Cheese, New York’s oldest and most authoritative cheese shop. The two have struck up a month-long partnership and are raffling five $100 gift certificates, plus a free Charted Cheese Wheel print for big spenders with purchases of 100 bones or more.
So take the wheel for a spin and head to your local cheesemonger. Don’t forget the obligatory crusty baguette.