Discover 8 Cheeses That Start with R

French blue cheese Roquefort, made from sheep milk in caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulzonwith grapes on grey stone
© JPC-PROD/Shutterstock.com

Written by Joyce Nash

Updated: December 27, 2023

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People have been making and enjoying cheese — a fermented food typically made from the milk of cows, sheep, or goats — for over 7,500 years. With over 1,000 varieties, cheeses can range widely in taste, texture, and appearance. Keep reading to learn about the delicious cheeses whose names start with the letter “R.”

Raclette

hot Raclette cheese in wintertime

Raclette cheese is the centerpiece of a traditional Swiss dish that is also called “raclette.”

©M. Gahmann/Shutterstock.com

Known for its melting qualities, raclette is a semi-soft cheese made from the raw milk of Swiss cows. Although it originates in Switzerland, its name derives from racler, the French verb that means “to scrape.” This name refers to the common method of heating a wedge of raclette until the top layer melts, then scraping it onto bread or crackers.

Raclette is also the name of a traditional Swiss dish that resembles fondue. The meal features heated raclette cheese as well as an assortment of potatoes, meats, and vegetables to enjoy with the melty cheese.

Ricotta

Ricotta cheese and wooden cutting board on white plaster background. Space for text.

Ricotta is a soft, spreadable cheese often used in lasagna and manicotti.

©fabiomax/iStock via Getty Images

This light, fluffy, Italian cheese can be made from the milk of sheep or goats, but the most common variety is made from cow’s milk. The name “ricotta” derives from the Italian word for “recooked,” which points to how the cheese is made. 

While most cheeses are made from curds, ricotta cheese is traditionally made from whey — the liquid that gets left behind once the curds form during the cheesemaking process. This liquid gets recooked with added vinegar to produce more curds, then strained again to reveal fresh ricotta.

Modern ricotta is frequently made from whole milk rather than whey. The milk is heated with a small amount of vinegar to coagulate the curds, then strained to produce a batch of fresh, light, ricotta cheese.

Romano

Romano cheese

Romano cheese is part of the parmesan cheese family.

©pirtuss/Shutterstock.com

Historians have traced the origins of this Italian cheese to the 1st century B.C. Since then, its popularity has endured thanks to its distinctive sharp flavor. Romano cheese can be made from the milk of cows, sheep, or goats, and you can look to the cheese’s full name to identify its type.

Caprino Romano is made from goat’s milk, while Vaccino Romano is made from cow’s milk. The most well-known type — Pecorino Romano — is made from sheep’s milk and is only made in Italy. Romano cheese must cure for around five months, resulting in a hard, crumbly cheese ideal for grating or shaving.

Roquefort

French blue cheese Roquefort, made from sheep milk in caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulzonwith grapes on grey stone

Roquefort cheese has distinctive blue veins.

©JPC-PROD/Shutterstock.com

Known in France as the “cheese of kings and popes,” Roquefort is a semi-soft cheese with a crumbly texture and tangy, sharp flavor. It is made from raw sheep’s milk and has deep blue veins similar to other bleu cheeses. Roquefort must be cured for five months before it is ready for use, and it is commonly added to salads and cheese boards. Like Pecorino Romano cheese, standards for Roquefort cheese are set by the French government.

Rocamadour

French cheeses Rocamadour and Saint-Marcellin served on olive tree wooden plank with almonds on sunlights

Rocamadour’s name means “small got cheese.”

©barmalini/Shutterstock.com

This French cheese is made from unpasteurized goat’s milk and is part of the cabécou cheese family. In 1995, the French government began regulating Rocamadour to ensure consistent and high quality. This cheese is sold in small discs that weigh 35 grams. The goats that are milked to produce Rocamadour enjoy a highly varied diet, which lends the cheese a mild but distinctive flavor.

Rochebaron

Whole fresh French Rochebaron cheese and pieces on a cutting board

Rochebaron pairs particularly well with fruit and bread.

©Picture Partners/Shutterstock.com

Also called Montbriac, Rochebaron is a type of bleu cheese made in Massif Central, France. To make Rochebaron, cheesemakers start with pasteurized cow’s milk and then add Penicillium glaucum to the curds, which creates distinctive blue veins throughout the cheese.

Rochebaron cheese must ripen for 45 days, including time spent in Massif Central’s caves. Then, the cheese is covered in a layer of edible ash before being packaged for sale. Rochebaron cheese has a mild yet rich flavor that pairs well with fruit and bread.

Roncal

Valle de Roncal landscape in Navarre Spain Cutting farm cheese

Roncal is the first cheese from Spain to be granted DOP status.

©Ana del Castillo/Shutterstock.com

Originating in Spain’s Basque region, Roncal is a hard cheese made from unpasteurized sheep’s milk. This cheese is made exclusively from the milk of Lacha and Rassa breeds of sheep, giving it a sharp, tangy flavor. Roncal cheese needs to age for about six months, during which it develops a thin layer of blueish mold.

Ragusano

Ragusano, historically called caciocavallo ragusano, is an Italian DOP cheese typical of the province of Ragusa and Syracuse in Sicily

Ragusano cheese was previously known as Caciocavallo.

©FVPhotography/Shutterstock.com

Researchers have traced the history of Ragusano cheese to the year 1500, making it one of Sicily’s earliest cheeses. This cheese is made from the milk of Modicana cows, which gives it a spicy, salty flavor. When cheesemakers use milk from a different breed of cow to make Ragusano cheese, it is labeled as “Cosacavaddu Rausanu.”

The cheese is sold in rectangular blocks that are covered by a thin yellow rind. When Ragusano is enjoyed within two months of production, the cheese has a mild, sweet flavor. The cheese begins to develop its distinctive spicy flavor after about six months of aging.

Summary of Cheeses That Start with R

CheeseCountry of Origin
RacletteSwitzerland
RicottaItaly
RomanoItaly
RoquefortFrance
RocamadourFrance
RochebaronFrance
RoncalSpain
RagusanoItaly


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About the Author

Joyce Nash is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel and geography. She has almost a decade of writing experience. Her background ranges from journalism to farm animal rescues and spans the East Coast to the West. She is based in North Carolina, and in her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two cats.

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