Tuesday, December 29, 2015

What To Do If You Find Mold On Your Cheese

Since cheese is a fresh item, it can be more prone to developing mold than other types of food. The good news, however, is that just because you found a bit of mold on your cheese, that doesn’t mean you have to throw the whole thing out. Sometimes you can still eat most of the cheese, giving yourself the chance to enjoy its flavors.

Intended Molds

Before worrying about the mold you found on cheese, take the time to consider whether it was intentional. Blue cheese, for example, is intentionally filled with mold; that is what gives the cheese its blue veins. Other cheeses come with molds or rinds around them, including Camembert and Brie. The trick for any cheese with intended mold is to know what it should look like. If you see additional mold that shouldn’t be there, then consider the following guidelines.

Soft Cheese

Soft cheese tends to be fresher than hard cheese and that sadly means that once it is moldy, you are done with the cheese. Another issue with soft cheese is that due to their texture and makeup, the mold can actually send threads in the cheese, meaning that mold in one spot can indicate mold all over. There may even be harmful bacteria in the mold, including E. coli, salmonella, brucella, or listeria. The bottom line is that if you see mold on your ricotta, cream cheese, or cottage cheese, or any cheese which is sliced, crumbled, or shredded, you will need to toss it.

Hard Cheese

If you prefer hard, or even semi-soft, cheeses, then you are in luck. Mold doesn’t have the ability to penetrate into these cheeses so if you see mold, you can simply cut it off and enjoy the rest. That means that if you see mold on your Swiss, Parmesan, Colby, cheddar, or something similar, just cut the moldy area as well as at least one inch in every direction. Take care not to let the knife touch the mold as that would contaminate the rest of the cheese.

Preventing Mold

Although you can keep most of your hard cheese even if it sprouts mold, you will always have to get rid of at least a square inch of cheese, if not the whole thing. This makes it very tempting to do your best to prevent mold growth in the first place, and luckily there are some easy things to do. Start by wrapping your cheese in cheese cloth, parchment paper, or wax paper instead of plastic wrap as the plastic will suffocate the cheese and encourage mold growth. Always swap out the cheese paper when you cut off a piece and change the brine for fresh cheese if it starts to get gross. Those steps will maximize the amount of time you have before your cheese gets moldy.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

How To Learn About Cheese

Everyone has something more they can learn about the world of cheese, whether it is the history, flavors, types, origins, or something else. Some people don’t mind simply enjoying the flavors of the food without learning more about them while others prefer to know all they can. Whether you are looking to learn about cheese for fun or to work in a cheese store, here are some easy ways that you can find out more about this delicious food.

Read About It

The most obvious way to learn about cheese is to read about it. You can go to your local library and check out a book or take advantage of the internet. In this modern age, many websites aim to teach people everything they can about cheese. You will find online dictionaries explaining terms, articles about the various types of cheese, information on their history, and more. There are even many cheese shops which have educational sections (however short) on their websites.

Taste Everything

Most experts agree that the best way to learn about cheese is to taste everything you can. This will help you put flavors, textures, and smells with the words you have read and show you what the information actually means. When tasting cheese, try to compare one with another. Buy several cheeses that have one feature in common, such as age, milk type, style, or country of origin and then take your time tasting the cheese. Remember to look, touch, and smell before tasting and keep track of your impressions in a notebook so you can remember them for later.

Take A Class

Believe it or not, there are plenty of cheese classes available around the country. You will find some online and some in-person. If you have the chance, always take an in-person class as this will give you the chance to see, smell, and taste the cheese as you learn about it. Be sure to opt for a class from an expert for the biggest gain in knowledge, although even non-certified cheese experts can teach you something new.

Talk To Experts

If you can’t find a class near you or simply don’t have the money to spend on taking one, then you aren’t out of luck. Simply visit your local cheese store and talk to one of the cheesemongers or other cheese experts on staff. They will be more than willing to share their knowledge and love for cheese; you will just have to buy a little bit of cheese. Just be sure not to take advantage of them.  You may even be able to find an online chat with a cheese expert who is willing to tell you little known facts or tricks.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Skip Red Wine With Triple Creme Cheese

Triple creme cheeses are decadent and somewhat of a luxury for many people. That means that when you get your hands on this cheese, you want to sit down with a nice glass of wine and take the time to enjoy it. If you have red wine on hand, it may seem obvious to simply go with that wine, but in reality, you will be setting yourself up for an unpleasant experience.

Why You Should Keep Them Separate

The thing to remember is that red wines tend to be incredibly flavorful and they contain tannins which will ruin the cream flavor. That means that if you drink a red wine with your triple creme cheese, you won’t get the full cheese experience. Instead, you want these cheeses to go with a complementary flavor that won’t overpower them.

What To Pair With Triple Creme Cheese

When in doubt, you can always ask a cheesemonger or someone at the specialty shop you bought your triple creme cheese from for pairing tips. There are also some options that work very well, depending on the specific cheese. Delice de Bourgogne, for example, is a French cheese made with pasteurized cow milk. This triple creme cheese is rich, but has a thin and pungent rind for mushroom and strawberry aromas. Instead of drowning out the flavors with a red wine (even one from the same region), opt for white wine or a bubbly drink like champagne instead.

Another type of triple creme cheese would be La Tur, which is made from pasteurized cow, goat, and sheep milk. Unlike Delice de Bourgogne, it has full and rich flavors, so pairing ideas for this cheese can work with a separate group of choices. If you try to pair it with a red wine, you will remove all the richness of the cheese. Instead try something like sparkling Asti Spumante, which is from the same region.

What To Pair With Red Wine

So if you shouldn’t pair triple creme cheeses with red wine, you may be wondering what you can eat with these drinks. There are actually many options, such as soft cheese with washed rinds, including Epoisses. Because they are washed in brine or alcohol during aging, they are better able to handle even strongly flavored wine. Also consider mixed milk or aged sheep cheeses as either will have a more intense flavor to counter the strength of the wine.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Best Cheese Festivals From Around The World

It should come as no surprise that you can find cheese festivals in all corners of the globe. Since its discovery centuries ago, cheese has become one of the most popular foods, largely due to its flavor and versatility. Because of cheese’s popularity, there are many festivals dedicated solely to this food. While many occur in the United States, others require traveling, but are well worth the trip for any dedicated cheese aficionado.

The Festival Of Cheese

The American Cheese Society is one of the biggest names in the world of cheese and each year they host the ACS Annual Conference. This event is part conference, part festival and the crowd is a mix of those who appreciate cheese and cheesemakers. If you attend, you even get the chance to sample some cheeses entered in the rigorous competition.

Vermont Cheesemaker’s Festival

Per capita, Vermont is the state that produces the most cheese, making it the perfect location for one of the best cheese festivals. It is located at Shelburne Farms, a historic site by Lake Champlain, every July and includes cooking demonstrations, tastings, and seminars.

Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival

The other big name in cheese in the United States is the state of Wisconsin which hosts a family friendly cheese festival every June in Little Chute. The festival lasts three days and features cheese curd-eating contests, cheesecake contests, cheese carving demonstrations, tastings, music, and more. As with any Wisconsin festival, there is also a carnival for kids to enjoy.

Great British Cheese Festival

Every year, the Great British Cheese Festival features more than 400 different cheeses made from all types of milk, including water buffalo, sheep, goat, and cow. You will also find plenty of beverages to pick from, including perry (a fermented pear drink), cider, beer, and artisan wine. This event is in a different location each year, but always occurs in late September.

Bra Cheese Festival

If you have your mind set on going to a traditional cheese festival full of history and nostalgia, then head to Turin within Piedmont, Italy for the Bra Cheese Festival. This event takes place every other September and attendees include cheese lovers and experts from around the world. You will find workshops, tastings, special dinners, a wine bar with DIY cheese plates, a cheese market, and a pizza piazza. Because of its location, the Bra Cheese Festival includes very rare artisanal cheeses you won’t find anywhere else as well as 700 different wines.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Easy Cheesy Lunches To Take To Work

Coming up with creative lunches to take to work is a big challenge for most adults. Next time you find yourself dreading eating another peanut butter and jelly sandwich, consider making a cheese lunch instead. It is normal to be hesitant about taking cheese for lunch, especially if you don’t have a fridge at work, but most types of cheese will be fine if they are out for a few hours. Here are some great ideas to get you started.

Sandwiches And Wraps

The most obvious cheesy lunch for work would be a sandwich. For many people, even doing something as simple as making a wrap instead of a sandwich can liven up their week. The combinations for cheese are endless, but most people choose to pair it with some sort of deli meat and possibly some vegetables. If you’re looking for something new, try cream cheese, cheddar, and deli roast beef. Or combine blue cheese, salami, and olives on ciabatta.

Grilled Cheese

Most people wouldn’t expect it, but you can actually take a grilled cheese sandwich to work if you want. If you aren’t happy with a cold sandwich, then maybe bringing some soup along in a thermos will help as you’ll have something to dip it in. To keep your grilled cheese from becoming all soggy, just make sure it is completely cool before you pack it. Put boiling water in the thermos before the soup to preheat it a bit and keep it warm longer.

Cheese Plate

When you are in the mood for cheese and don’t have much time to spare, simply pack everything you need to have a cheese plate at work. Slice up a bit of your two or three favorite cheese and fill a small container with crackers. Add sliced meats, nuts, and dried fruits for more variety.


It may seem simple, but there is no problem with taking leftover pizza to work. Many people enjoy eating it cold and it won’t have a problem lasting until your lunch hour. If you have a microwave, you can even reheat it just like you would at home. You can even make your own version of a packaged child’s lunch where you construct your own pizza. Get some bread of some sort and bring a bit of sauce and shredded cheese (plus pepperoni if you want) to work. In reality, pizza is just one of many leftover cheesy dishes you can easily take to work for lunch, especially if you have a microwave. Something like lasagna or baked macaroni and cheese will reheat just as well in your work microwave as the one at home.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The History Of Fondue

There are several types of fondues, including cheese and chocolate fondue. While most people realize that cheese fondue originated in Switzerland, not everyone knows the details concerning the early days of this delicious and versatile dish. Next time you sit down with a batch of fondue, consider how far it has come in a few centuries.

Early History

Experts are fairly certain that fondue was first invented during the 18th century in Switzerland. The Swiss saw fondue as the perfect way to use older cheese and bread, providing food for people across the country who didn’t necessarily have access to fresh items during the winter. Villagers quickly discovered that heating old cheese with herbs, garlic, and wine would make a tasty combination. When they dipped old, stale bread inside, it would soften up and become flavorful. Fondue quickly became a Swiss tradition during the winter months, particularly among the poorer communities.

Traditional Mixture

In the early days of fondue, it was made using Gruyere and/or Emmental cheeses. The cheese was then melted with a bit of wine inside a communal pot. Some people would also add cherry brandy, other alcohol, or spices.

Tips For Cooking Fondue

If you plan on taking advantage of the easy and delicious tradition of fondue, then you will want to keep a few things in mind. Although adding alcohol may seem odd and unnecessary, this actually helps lower the boiling point, meaning that the cheese won’t curdle while cooking. If you don’t want to use wine, you can also try champagne, apple juice, or sparkling cider. Whenever you are heating up fondue, you still want to keep an eye on it, however, so it doesn’t start to boil and to prevent a rubbery texture, heat up the mixture slowly.

It may seem silly to spend a lot of money on cheese that you will be melting, but always opt for high quality cheese when making fondue. This will give you a uniform melt and consistency and guarantee freshness as well as a more delicious result. To add more flavor, select more than one cheese to include or add some extra flavorings. Good options include mustard, tomato paste, sauteed minced onions, roasted garlic, and fresh herbs. Fondue is always best fresh, but if you end up with leftovers, you can reuse it. You’ll have to get creative, however, and refrigerate it. This will mean it solidifies a bit, so try chopping it up and using it to top vegetables, potatoes, or eggs.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Why Buy Cheese From A Specialty Retailer

When you are buying cheese, there are several different places you can get it from. You can go to your local grocery store, a local cheese retailer, or shop at an online specialty cheese retailer. Whether you choose to shop online or in person, buying your cheese from a specialty retailer will always be the best choice, especially if you value quality and flavor. In most cases, a comparable slice of cheese from a supermarket and a specialty store will be about the same price. The higher price of the cheese store is based on quality.

Unique Flavors

The first thing you will notice about a specialty cheese shop is that they offer a much larger variety. Instead of only having the most affordable or common options, these shops will have an incredibly variety, including specialty and rare cheese. Only this type of retailer, for example, will have a super aged Jurassic cheddar as opposed to a commonly found extra sharp one.

Freshness Or Aging

Another thing to remember is that specialized stores focus on selling cheese. This means that they will always have the highest quality and freshest options available. If they say they have fresh mozzarella, it is fresh, while the same won’t necessarily be true of a supermarket. The same thing is also true for aged cheese so if a specialty cheese retailer says their aged Gouda or cheddar has been aged for a certain amount of time, that information will be completely accurate.

Know What You Buy

Aging and freshness are not the only things that are guaranteed to be better at a specialty retailer. In fact, you will be guaranteed to always know exactly what you are buying. Supermarkets may mislabel their items, but specialty cheese sellers know their product incredibly well and are therefore able to catch mislabels instantly. That means that whether you buy in store or order online, you will be getting the exact cheese you asked for.


When you buy at a supermarket, you are on your own in terms of selecting the right cheese and knowing what you want. Cheese stores, however, will not only sell the cheese, but also offer everything you need to know about it. This means that when you get your cheese, you will know where it came from, how old it is, and some of the perfect pairings to complement it. In other words, you will get knowledge for free along with your cheese by buying from a cheese store.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Give The Gift Of Cheese This Christmas

Every year when Christmas approaches, we start to think about who needs to be on our gift list and what gift would be most appropriate and appreciated. For some people, this planning begins as early as July; for others, it doesn’t happen until about the 20th of December, or thereabouts.

For those we love—our kids, grandkids, parents, siblings, etc.—gifts are chosen with care, thought, and love. But there are a few people on the list for whom it is a little more difficult to shop, as we may not know them as well, but still want to acknowledge their contribution to our lives. These are people such as a boss or co-worker, hairdresser/barber, mailman, babysitter, or neighbor. Or maybe you need a consumable gift for someone who lives in very small quarters, such as in an assisted living or nursing home facility, or a full-time RVer. If you are fresh out of ideas, read on.

The Gift of Cheese

Cheese is almost universally enjoyed. Especially at Christmas time, it is available in a number of attractively packaged presentations. There are gift baskets that contain cheeses, crackers, meats, and maybe a bottle of wine. You can either purchase a ready-made basket, or create a personal one yourself.

It is important, however, to know the person to whom you wish to give the gift well enough to know their basic tastes. If they are teetotalers, don’t buy a cheese gift basket that contains a bottle of wine. If they are vegetarian, forego the ones with meats in them. And of course, if they are vegan, maybe you should consider a different type of gift. However, there are vegan cheeses on the market, so use your creativity to make up your own gift basket with the vegan cheese and “meats,” and a bottle of sparkling, non-alcoholic grape juice.

Cheese-of-the-Month Clubs

For someone whom you would really like to impress, choose one of the cheese-of-the-month clubs. These clubs will send your recipient a different gift box each month of the year. There are different configurations to choose from, including ones that pair cheeses with various accompaniments. Also, you can choose from different schedules, such as four or six months, rather than a full year. Of course, the prices will vary on the frequency of the delivery and the different item that make up the gift box.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Pairing Cheese Without Bread And Crackers

When most people start to think of what they will pair their cheese with, they immediately turn to breads or crackers if they are considering food and wine if they are considering beverages. While these items do go great with cheese, there are plenty of other options as well. In fact, a lot of the time, you don’t even need bread or crackers to make a delicious pairing with your cheese. The following pairings can work either by themselves or with your favorite crackers, making them perfect for those trying to cut carbs or follow a gluten-free diet.


Next time you are trying to figure out what to pair with your favorite Brie, turn to some fresh fruit. Grapes and pears in particular are perfect as they are tart and crisp, allowing them to contrast perfectly with Brie and other creamy cheeses. Another great choice is to add some of your favorite nuts as they will add some additional texture and help bring out unexpected and subtle flavors from the cheese.


As one of the most common cheeses, cheddar can be found in most homes at any given moment. Next time you run out of crackers to pair it with, grab an apple instead. This classic combination combines savory and sweet, which is part of the reason people serve apple pie with cheddar on top. You can also pair your cheddar with chutney as the texture and tang blends perfectly with the grassy notes in cheddar.


Fig jam is the perfect match for Gouda and although it is slightly sweet, the earthy flavor of the figs help counter it. Meat lovers can serve their Gouda with a bit of Fennel salami, letting the burnt caramel flavors of the Gouda combine with the savory ones of the salami.


If you are lucky enough to have access to Gruyere, you have dozens of options for dishes. Try serving it with speck to show off the flavors and nuances of the cheese. You can also find some cornichons as their tangy flavor will help add flavor and texture to nutty and grassy cheeses like Gruyere.


Manchego is another cheese that does well with a specific condiment, particularly honey. This will take rich cheeses made from sheep milk and help bring out their softer side via sweetness. Because Manchego is a traditional Spanish cheese, pairing it with other items found in tapas is a good idea, such as Marcona almonds, which are crunchy and salty.

You can even get creative and try any cheesy combination that you want. Mix and match cheeses, jams, nuts, and meats to find your favorite dishes.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Reasons To Talk To A Cheese Expert Before Buying

Buying cheese can be as simple or complicated as you choose to make it. If you already know what you like, then you may not think you need the help of a cheese expert. Despite this, they can still help you find a new cheese to try or help you learn more about your favorites. Cheese novices will notice lots of benefits from talking to cheese experts, and that is why most cheese retailers have them on hand. Even online retailers will either have an expert on hand to chat with online or include detailed information in their product descriptions. This description will include all the information a cheese expert would give you in store so you can get the same benefits.

Help For Specific Situations

Perhaps the time that a cheese expert will be the most helpful is when you are looking for cheese for a specific situation. Maybe you have a wine that you really want to pair with cheese. Or maybe you need to know which cheese goes best with a particular meat. You might even have guests coming over who you truly want to impress with a unique cheese. No matter the situation, a cheesemonger should be able to suggest a few options or at least a general category of cheeses that would work in your situation.

Narrowing Down Choices

For those who are unfamiliar with cheese, it can be incredibly daunting to try to pick the right one. This is particularly true when you are shopping at a specialty retailer as they tend to have an incredibly wide selection of cheeses you haven’t heard of. Instead of randomly picking the right one, you can talk to a cheese expert and ask for advice. Just be warned that most will not have one favorite cheese; they will have several depending on the type of flavor or texture you want.

Picking Pairings

Similar to their ability to help you in a particular situation, cheesemongers can also be incredibly useful when coming up with pairings. When you select the cheese you want, simply ask for pairing suggestions. They should be able to offer ideal wine, beer, meat, or even fruit to serve with your cheese.

Learning About The Cheese

Finally, cheese experts can help you learn a great deal about your cheese. Instead of simply picking one because you like it, you can know everything about it. Learn about its origin, history, texture, flavor, milk source, and even which cheeses are similar. You will come out of every conversation with a cheese expert smarter than you were before.

Friday, December 11, 2015

How To Make Naturally Smoked Cheese At Home

If you have ventured beyond the simple cheeses, such as cheddar and mozzarella, then you will have probably noticed some which are smoked. Typically, a smoked cheese you find in the supermarket will not be naturally smoked. There are actually types of liquid smoke manufacturers can use to add a smoky flavor to cheese. Instead, you should buy a naturally smoked cheese from a specialty cheese retailer. If you are feeling adventurous, you can also buy some plain cheese and smoke it yourself to save money or experiment.

How Smoked Cheese Is Professional Made

As mentioned, some manufacturers (typically mass-producers) will use liquid smoke to add the smoked flavor to cheese. Artisanal cheese and those found from quality retailers, however, will use a natural method. There are smokers that the cheese can be placed in and they will waft smoke over aging cheese. Many high quality options, however, smoke the cheese using natural wood. Common choices include alder, chestnut, hickory, oak, and apple, with the flavor of the cheese partially depending on the wood used.

Cold Smoking

If you’d rather make naturally smoked cheese instead of buying it, then one choice is to cold smoke it. Start off with any cheese that isn’t too soft and if you want the smoky flavor to enter the whole piece, make sure you cut the cheese into pieces that are 4x4x2 inches or smaller. Dry the cheese by unwrapping it and leaving it in the fridge at night, then wipe off the moisture. You can then buy a cold smoker or an attachment. You will then cook the cheese on wood pellets or chips for 1 to 6 hours, turning it once (or more), before putting it in the fridge for 1 to 4 weeks.

Hot Smoking

When you smoke cheese, it always need to be cool, even if you are using a hot smoking method involving a grill or hot smoker. Ideally you should put the cheese on top of a grate on a large pan with ice. Start up your smoker or grill and make smoke using flavorful wood pellets. Make sure there is plenty of smoke before adding the cheese and then check it every 20 or so minutes. Smoke the cheese for a half hour to six hours and let it cure at least a week in the fridge.

Using An Old Refrigerator

You can also naturally smoke cheese by adjusting an empty refrigerator. Put a hot plate in the bottom of the fridge with a pan of wood chips on top. Then add the ice to the middle rack and smoke the cheese on the top rack. Once again, refrigerate the cheese afterwards.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Tips For Making The Best Nachos

Nachos are a very popular dish as they can be a light snack or a meal. They are also great for larger gatherings, such as watching a movie or as an appetizer before a dinner party. Next time you want to make some nachos, don’t just settle for store-bought tortilla chips and processed cheese. Keep these tips in mind and you will have the best nachos possible.

Get Creative With Cheese

The most important part of any nachos is the cheese, but most people opt for boring American cheese or cheddar, which is a bit better. Instead of going with a processed cheese or just plain cheddar, try combining different cheeses. For the best results, use multiple cheeses. Throwing in Monterey Jack will add some ooziness, like most people prefer in nachos, but the sharp cheddar is perfect for some tang. Don’t ever buy pre-shredded cheese; instead, buy your own and grate it right beforehand so it is fresh and flavorful. Instead of sticking to traditional cheddar, try adding in some smoked Gouda, jalapeno jack, or even some Asiago. Just be sure to pick a cheese that melts well, such as Muenster or Gouda, as opposed to a non-melter like ricotta.

Make Your Own Chips

If you aren’t careful with the chips, your nachos could easily become a soggy mess and impossible to eat. Opt for the thickest tortilla chips you can find or make your own. All you have to do to make your own tortilla chips is buy some tortillas, cut them up, and fry them. You’ll be able to taste the difference.

Load On The Toppings

Everyone has a different idea of what goes well on nachos, but most people like to have at least some toppings. Meat is a popular choice, but be sure to season it while cooking. You can also use some onion, chopped cilantro, hot peppers, beans, guacamole, tomatoes, avocado, or even cubed mango.

Keep Some Things Separate

Ideally, you will bake your nachos in the oven, but you don’t want to add every ingredient before hand. In fact, the softer items should be added either right before you serve the dish or placed on the side. These last-minute items include guacamole, beans, tomatoes, avocado, and sour cream. They will all make your tortillas soggy if you add them too early, so be careful.

Layer The Dish

A final thing most people don’t think about is to layer your nachos. Instead of simply making one layer of tortilla chips and piling all the cheese and other items on top, repeat this process. Start with chips, then add cheese and toppings. Then repeat this process. This makes the dish much easier to eat and will increase the number of servings you can make at a time.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Reasons To Throw A Cheese Tasting Party

Next time you find yourself looking for an idea for your next party, consider a cheese tasting. This is actually one of the simplest types of parties to throw as you only need a few basic supplies. Not only is it easy to plan, but you will be able to try new things and eat as much delicious cheese as you want.Here are just some other reasons to consider throwing a cheese tasting party.

No Cooking Required

A big problem with many parties is all of the prep work involved, such as cooking and cleaning. While you will have to clean your house before a cheese party, you won’t have to cook a single thing unless you want to. It may be fun to serve baked Brie or a cheese-based dip, but this is completely optional. Instead, you only need to put the cheese on trays with the appropriate serving utensils and labels.

Try New Things

A cheese tasting party is also the perfect opportunity to try new things, particularly cheeses that are less common. If there is a cheese you’ve heard about, but never tried, throwing a tasting party may give you the motivation you need to buy it. The party is also the perfect opportunity to splurge on a fancier or artisan cheese you’ve always wanted. Best of all, you won’t be the only one trying new things; your guests will be doing so as well.

Learn About Cheese

A cheese tasting party isn’t just about enjoying the cheese, although that is a main component. It is also the perfect chance to learn about cheese. When you pick a variety, take some time to learn where it’s from, its common pairings, and its flavor and texture. You can even share this information with your guests on little labels by each cheese.

Limitless Combinations

Even if you have thrown a cheese tasting party in the past, you can easily do so again. There are at least hundreds of cheeses, meaning that you could host a tasting party every day of the year and never serve the same one twice!

Formal Or Casual

Don’t forget that you can make your cheese tasting party as casual or formal as you want. For a formal affair, serve the cheese in courses at a table, pairing each with wine. For a casual party, simply spread the cheese around the room on different trays, all which should be clearly labeled. You can do as much or as little as you want with the cheese party.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Fun Recipes With Muenster Cheese

Although many people like to say the name Muenster cheese, not everyone knows too much about it, or how to cook with it. This soft washed rind cheese is made using cow’s milk and the traditional cheese, which is name protected, comes from France. The name of the cheese, Muenster, comes from the town where it originated. You can expect a red coating on Muenster due to its washed rind and it has a savory, tangy flavor with a strong and stinky aroma. The texture can range from sticky to smooth to creamy. Whether you have true Muenster cheese from France or a similar product, these recipes take advantage of its texture and flavors.


The easiest way to eat your Muenster cheese is in a sandwich of some kind. It makes for a delicious variation of the classic grilled cheese sandwich and works with a range of breads and fillings. Instead of melting the cheese, try combining it with turkey and your favorite vegetables. You can even use Muenster cheese on a tuna melt, cheeseburger, or bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich.


Cheese always makes potatoes better and Muenster is no exception to this rule. Next time you make a batch of scalloped potatoes, try swapping out your usual cheese for Muenster and be ready for a delicious combination of flavors. You can even melt Muenster on your next baked potato for additional calcium.


Most Italian dishes call for either mozzarella or Parmesan, depending on the type of dish and hardness of cheese needed. In many cases, however, you can swap one of these out for Muenster. Instead of making chicken parmesan, use Muenster cheese instead. This cheese also goes wonderfully in stuffed shells (particularly when mixed with other, more traditional options) and baked ziti. Although it’s not technically an Italian dish, even macaroni and cheese is delicious with Muenster instead of or in addition to your standard choice.


Fondue is traditionally made with Emmental or Camembert cheese, but any good melter will do. For something you probably haven’t tried before, make it with a bit of Muenster next time. This dish is not only fun to make, but fun to eat as well.

Other Options

Because of its flavors and melting abilities, the sky is the limit when coming up with fun ways to use your Muenster cheese. You can make fried cheese sticks, quesadillas, or even a souffle. Simply let inspiration strike and your creativity flow.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Creative Ways To Use Colby Jack

While Colby and Monterey Jack are both fairly popular cheeses, Colby Jack is a bit less common. Colby Jack is essentially a combination of the other two cheeses. It was first created by blending Monterey Jack and Colby before the pressing process. This leads to a semi-soft cheese with a marbled orange and white surface. The cheese is made from cow’s milk and has smooth texture, with tangy, sweet, smooth, mild, and creamy flavors. This delicious cheese can be eaten by itself or with some crackers, but there are also plenty of creative options.


When you are looking to spice up your favorite sandwich, Colby Jack is the perfect choice. The cheese goes especially well with darker breads such as rye and pumpernickel and a wide range of deli meats. Because Colby Jack melts well, you can use it to make a cold or a hot sandwich, depending on the texture you want from the cheese.


As mentioned, Colby Jack is considered a good melter. This means that it is the perfect addition to any casserole, particularly if you want to change the flavor of the dish or simply create something unique. In reality, you can swap out any cheese for Colby Jack in a casserole for delicious results. You will notice, however, that many casserole recipes with this cheese follow a western or Tex-Mex theme, such as a green chili and chicken casserole or a cowboy casserole.


Tex-Mex is actually a very popular theme when it comes to Colby Jack recipes. You can make almost any Tex-Mex dish with this delicious cheese, since it combines beautifully with spicy flavors. Try creating some yummy tacos, nachos, taco dip, bean dip, or even a southwestern style rice bowl.

Mac And Cheese Bacon Pie

If you would like to make a savory pie as opposed to a sweet one, then try using some Colby Jack cheese. One delicious option would be to make a pie crust using bacon (arranging it so there are no holes) and then bake macaroni and cheese with Colby Jack inside of it.


Whether you are looking for a cheese to cook into your next soup or one to sprinkle on top, Colby Jack can be the answer. Its melting properties let it to melt uniformly into your soup, but if you want to keep the dish’s texture more liquidy, simply sprinkle some grated Colby Jack on top before serving.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Getting To Know The American Cheese Society

When most people talk about cheese experts in the United States, they first think of the American Cheese Society (or ACS). Even if you are simply a cheese enthusiast, you will likely hear about the American Cheese Society at some point. This is the largest organized group of cheese professionals in the country and they are also responsible for certifying cheese experts. The ACS hosts annual cheese conferences and competitions and aims to increase cheese knowledge and appreciation and is an important part of the cheese community in the United States.

Their History

The ACS was founded by Dr. Frank Kosikowski from Cornell University in 1983, with the first annual meeting taking place that year. The society originally included cheesemakers, retailers, enthusiasts, and academics, a trend which continues today. The first ACS Competition took place in 1985. Although the organization started out small, the American Cheese Society has grown quickly, particularly within the last few years.

Becoming A Member

If you decide to join the American Cheese Society, you simply have to pay a fee. The only requirement is that you are interested in cheese and would like to learn more about this food. There are three different membership levels so whether or not you are a cheese professional, you can join the organization.

Certification Exams

One of the most popular parts of the ACS is their certification exams. They offer an exam known as the CCPE or Certified Cheese Professional Exam, which is actually the only exam of its kind. It is very challenging and requires experience, but passing the exam gives you the designation of an ACS CCP (ACS Certified Cheese Professional). This certification is well-respected throughout the cheese industry due to the high knowledge of anyone who earns it.


The American Cheese Society hosts annual conferences, and although they are aimed at members, there are opportunities for non-members to attend specific events. You will typically find cheesemakers, cheesemongers, cheese experts, and more as well as specialty food and drink, including cheeses. There is always an Awards Ceremony where the society honors the top cultured products and cheeses of the year. Another event is the Festival of Cheese, with well over a thousand cheeses.


The American Cheese Society also hosts an annual cheese competition for cheesemakers, whether they are part of a business or individuals. The competition is, however, limited only to cheeses that are currently available for sale, so home producers can only enter if they sell their artisan cheese. Before picking the winners, the judges rank them based on technique and aesthetic appeal.

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