Graph of cheese varieties

Visual Classification of Cheese

This radial dendrogram shows the classification of cheese groups by their characteristics and production process. The ring color represents the milk source. For more information, hover over the cheese or the process.
Cow Sheep Cow, goat, sheep, buffalo Cow, goat Cow, goat, sheep
Cow, buffalo Cow, goat, sheep, camel Goat, sheep Cow, sheep

Legend


This is a radial Dendrogram visualizing the different groups of cheeses originating in the Middle East, Europe, and North America. This graph is based on a graph of cheese varieties found on Fundamentals of Cheese Science by Patrick F. Fox, Timothy P. Guinee, Timothy M. Cogan, Paul L. H. McSweeney. The advantages of their classification is that it includes processes, and types of cheese. As an added bonus this graph includes the animal where the milk comes from. This is represented with a colored ring around each cheese variety.

When you hover over each cheese, you will find detailed information about the source, type, rind, aroma, taste, and country of origin. These descriptions should be enough to give you an idea of the result of the process, and decide the cheese you would like to try next time you are in the dairy section. The blue circles in the middle describe the main process used in making each cheese variety.

I am not a connoisseur of cheese but it was particularly encouraging to find I had tried at least one cheese in most of the groups. It also made a lot of sense to find that cottage and cream cheese had a similar appearance and flavor and went through the same basic process. Also that surface ripened cheeses had a similar look and coloring. Furthermore, it was not surprising that Roquefort was produced from internal mold, or that Brie and Camembert had surface mold that gave it a soft white exterior and light color.

Made by Luz K. Molina with D3.js.

Resources and Inspiration


The code used for this graph was modified from Cluster Dendrogram. The cheeses were drawn using Krita. The information on each individual cheese variety came from Wikipedia and from Cheese.com.

This visualization was created after viewing the graph on Popular Science called "Meet the hard-working microbes that make your favorite cheeses". I was quite intrigued with the different microbes displayed. I have a degree in biology and I found it quite interesting and reminiscent of microbiology classes. So that infographic actually made me think on the science behind the process. I definitely spent some time looking at it. But it was hard to group each variety with a specific organism. I decided I wanted a more detailed graph. One that gave me more information on each cheese. I found that the source of milk is of major interest, but does not seem to be that important when it comes to classifying cheese. Besides, most of the varieties use just cow milk. The main characteristic used to catalogue cheese, are the physical characteristics. But after looking at a few catalogues, they don't seem to make much sense. Fundamentals of cheese provided the most comprehensive organization. There is a physical component, a microbiological component, and the process to produce the cheese.

I excuse myself for not including Colombian trademarks such as Queso Campesino and Queso Costeño. I also wanted to include delicacies like Halloumi but the screen has a limited space, and I wanted to focus in the most common cheese varieties.

This was not an easy graph to complete. I had constant cravings of Roquefort, Cheddar, and Camembert. Reminiscences of Emmental and Gruyere. Good thing we make quesadillas at home at least once a week. Is there anything better than CHEESE?

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