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Why Does Cheese Wax Come in Different Colors?

Why Does Cheese Wax Come in Different Colors?

From red to purple, cheese wax comes in every color of the rainbow. Although any color of wax can coat any type of cheese, the most common colors are red, yellow and black. The color of the wax doesn’t change the composition or flavor of the cheese, so each color can be used on any type of cheese.

Keep reading to learn more about the meaning of cheese wax colors, along with the most popular cheeses for each color.

Why Does Cheese Wax Come in Different Colors?

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Cheese Wax Defined

This is a special kind of wax specifically intended for preserving cheeses. It works as a seal for the cheese, locking mold and bacteria out while keeping the cheese inside fresh. At Blended Waxes, we make all our cheese wax colors using pigments approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so they’re all safe to use on your cheese.

While cheese wax is paraffin-based, it’s better suited to preserving cheese than regular paraffin wax. The typical paraffin you may know of is more crumbly and brittle than cheese wax, so it doesn’t provide an effective seal. Similarly, cheese wax is much stronger than beeswax.

Cheesemakers wax their cheeses in one of two ways — brushing it on or dipping the cheese into it. Both methods are effective for preserving cheese, but dipping creates a more uniform surface, resulting in a cleaner-looking shell. Consumers can reuse their cheese wax once they’ve finished the block. Just rinse it to remove the last traces of cheese. Then, melt it until it becomes liquid. Once it’s melted, you can either cool it off and store it for later or use it right away.

Red Cheese Wax

The color red provides a particularly striking contrast to the yellow or white of cheese, which is a compelling reason to use it.

One of the most recognizable red-waxed cheeses is Gouda, a semi-hard Dutch cheese with a mild nutty flavor and smooth, creamy texture. Dating back to the 12th century, Gouda is one of the oldest cheeses we eat today.

Edam, another Dutch semi-hard cheese, also comes in red wax. Similar to Gouda in its mildness, Edam cheese is smooth and firm in texture. Because they’re so similar, cheese experts often recommend the same wine and food pairings for each kind of cheese. Both Gouda and Edam also frequently come in yellow wax.

Often, cheddar comes in red wax, too. Ranging from pale yellow to bright orange, it’s a mild semi-hard cheese with a creamy texture. It’s easy to distinguish young cheddar from aged cheddar in the store by looking at the wax color — red for young cheddar and black for older cheddar.

Black Cheese Wax

There are a variety of different cheeses that are coated in black cheese wax. Many times, if a cheese is in black, it means that the cheese has been aged.

For example, aged Parmesan cheese is often found in black wax. Originating in the Parma region of Italy, Parmesan, or Parmigiano Reggiano, is a hard cheese with a fruity, nutty flavor. It’s a great cheese for both snacking and topping dishes like pasta.

Additionally, cheddar sometimes comes in black wax. As it ages, cheddar becomes more crumbly, with a sharper, nuttier flavor. It’s also saltier, as the aging process causes salt crystals to develop in the cheese. This type of cheddar is an excellent snack when paired with crackers, fruit and jam.

Clear Cheese Wax

Although it can be used alone, clear cheese wax is typically used as a base coat for colored cheese wax. Using two or three coats of cheese wax is the standard, so cheesemakers will sometimes use a clear coat before applying the colored wax.

No matter what color the final layer of wax is, it should be opaque enough that you can’t see the cheese underneath. This rule ensures that the wax is thick enough to protect your cheese from mold and ultraviolet (UV) light.

Festive Cheese Wax Colors

Typically made from cheddar cheese, cheese cutouts are popular around the holidays. These are pieces of cheese that have been cut into a specific shape before waxing, and they often come in a variety of wax colors. For example, around Saint Patrick’s Day, shamrock-shaped cheddars in bright green wax appear in stores.

Shop All Colors of Cheese Wax With Blended Waxes

At Blended Waxes, we have cheese wax in just about any color you can imagine. Whether you need a lot or just a little, we can help you find the perfect wax for your cheese. Contact us with any questions, or browse our cheese wax collection to see what we have to offer.