Which Cheese Rinds Are Edible?

We've all seen it: the wedge of cheese on the platter whose innards have been scooped out, leaving behind the shell that allowed its wonderful flavors to develop. Who left the rind behind, and why?

So long as the cheese coating in question was not made by man alone (like the red wax on Gouda) the rind is safe to eat. Depending on your palate, you may find that a little rind complements the cheese and enhances its flavor. You may also find it too strong, bitter, moldy or textually unpleasant. Remember: we're promising that it's edible, not that it's delicious. Simply man up a little on your cheese-eating — remember, you have to try something a dozen or so times before you know whether you actually dislike it.

Long story short: is the rind on your nice aged Parmesan edible? Yes, and if you don't feel like chewing on it, toss it in a pot of soup for unheard-of umami enhancement. Is the rind on that stinky Camembert edible? Yes, and that's one you should get to know. Is the plastic wrapper you pulled off your goat cheese log edible? No, that was made by man alone. See? Much easier.

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