Cheeses are fermented products like beer, cider, sake and mead. Cheeses are made from mare, ewe, cow or goat milk and are most commonly fermented with lactic acid bacteria that convert lactose to lactic acid. Depending on the cheese several other types of microflora may also be added to ripen the cheese. I have always like cheese but became especially enamored when learning put on a lactose-free diet and learning that most aged cheeses have very little lactose because most of the lactose gets drained off in the whey and the bacteria have converted most of rest of the lactose in the milk to lactic acid. If you want to be sure, read the nutritional label on the cheese. Lactose is a sugar. If the label does not list sugar, then the cheese is lactose free.
Cheeses are commonly paired with wine but beer, cider, sake and mead pair just as well. This section reviews my explorations pairing with cheese. While Europeans have maintained a healthy cheese cultured, large firms and processed products dominate a big chunk of the American market. Like beer, cider, mead and even sake, a craft cheese movement is under way, with over 900 craft cheese producers now in the market. Craft cheese makers are artisan cheesemakers producing in low volumes (under 50,000 lbs of cheese per year), often make cheese using milk from their own animals, and sell most of their cheese within the US.
Books on Cheese
Tenaya Darlington Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese: A Guide to Wedges, Recipes, and Pairings
Janet Fletcher Cheese & Beer
Max McCalman and David Gibbons Mastering Cheese: Lessons for Connoisseurship from a Maître Fromager
Patricia Michelson Cheese: Exploring Taste and Tradition
Ben Vinken and Michael Van Tricht Beer and Cheese: 50 delicious combinations by Vinken & Van Tricht