Hard Cheeses deserve a place on any great cheese plate. The maturation period of these cheeses is usually measured in years, not months. To ripen a cheese to such an extent the cheesemaker must take extra care using the highest quality milk, starter cultures, and rennet. As cheeses mature the proteins break down naturally and go on to form a crystalline texture. These crunchy bits are one of the many pleasurable characteristics of full-flavored hard cheese.