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How to Use the Most Popular Cheeses in the World

If you have a passion for cooking, then you probably want to try all of the most popular cheeses in the world. And there are so many! Here’s a list of the cheeses you need to cook with at least once in your lifetime. It’s the shortest list we could make, but you’re still going to scroll a lot while reading!

There are hundreds of types of cheese in the world. Many of them are only known in some countries or areas, but there are some known across the globe. These popular cheeses are used in most recipes because everybody can find them at their nearby grocery store.

If you haven’t yet tried the most popular cheeses, now it’s the time! Taste them in small bites, to feel their real flavor, then experiment with all sort of recipes that require them! If you don’t know which cheese to choose for the dish you want to make, here’s a short guide to the most popular cheeses.

20 of the most popular cheeses and their uses

1. Mozzarella

Mozzarella may be the most popular cheese of all. It’s a southern Italian dairy product traditionally made from buffalo milk. Fresh mozzarella is generally white, usually rolled into balls of different sizes – from perline, which is the smallest (0.03-ounce/1 gram) to ovoline (4 ounces/113 grams). But it can be found in even bigger sizes: half pound balls or pound logs. There also is low-moisture mozzarella, which is aged cheese, harder and with a buttery color.

You can enjoy fresh mozzarella with a drizzle of olive oil, coarse salt, and pepper, because it has a slightly acidic or lactic taste, but not salty. You can make a simple Caprese salad or eat it with tomatoes in a sandwich. Keep in mind that the best pizzas are never without mozzarella!

2. Parmesan

Parmesan, or Parmigiano-Reggiano, is considered to be among the top cheeses by cheese connoisseurs. It’s a hard, granular cheese with a strong, nutty, and bitter taste, and that’s the reason you should add a small quantity to your dishes.

Parmesan is mostly grated over pasta, used in soups and risottos. It is also eaten as is, as a snack or in cheese sauces. You can make crusts with panko, eggs, and parmesan for coating chicken before frying it, sprinkle it over a casserole dish or a salad, or add it into salty muffins.

3. Cheddar

Cheddar cheese is dry and crumbly in texture, with a deep, tangy, nutty flavor. The color varies from ivory to straw to deep yellow. Cheddar is used to top burgers, as well as in other types of sandwiches. You can use Cheddar over casseroles or grated, in cheese sauces such as the one for mac and cheese, or to make veggie pies or quiches.

4. Gouda

One of the most popular cheeses worldwide, Gouda is a semi-hard to hard cow’s milk cheese from the Netherlands. When Gouda is aged the cheese changes its flavor and texture. Aged Gouda has a strong flavor, with a sharp yet sweet taste at the same time.

Young Gouda can be melted, but aged cheese is best as is or grated in salads or over casseroles. If you eat it simple, have it with beer, orange or apple juice, flavored tea, red wine, or white wine.

5. Swiss cheese

Swiss cheese resembles Emmentaler cheese. It’s a pale yellow color, medium-hard cheese. Some types of Swiss cheese are riddled with holes known as ‘eyes’, except for the ones who don’t have ‘eyes’ and are known as ‘blind’. It’s one of the most popular cheeses in America.

Its mild, sweet and nut-like flavor makes it suitable mostly for sandwiches – especially for Reuben sandwiches – but people usually add it to dishes like pies, frittatas, souffles, or omelets, melted on a steak, in cheese sauces or fondue.

6. Emmentaler

Emmental or Emmentaler is what many people think of when they hear of ‘Swiss cheese’ because they’re quite similar. This cheese is mild, a little sweet, slightly nutty, and a bit spicy at the end. You can use it in many dishes, but especially when you make cordon bleu, fondue, grilled cheese, and casseroles.

7. Brie

Brie is a soft cow’s milk cheese from north-eastern France, pale in color with a slight grayish tinge under a rind of white mold. This cheese has a nutty, fruity, grassy, and even mushroom-like flavor, similar to Camembert. Some people find it unpleasantly acidic, others think it’s pleasant, buttery, and a bit tangy.

Brie and meat make a great combo, but you can also spread the cheese over a slice of baguette. You can also serve baked brie with honey and apples, as a sweet dish.

8. Camembert

Brie and Camembert look and taste alike, and they’re often served in similar ways. Yet there are subtle differences: Camembert has a deeper and more intense flavor. You can make baked Camembert and serve it with cheese crackers, toasted ciabatta slices, or garlic bread. You can also eat Brie and Camembert as is, with grapes and red wine.

9. Gruyère cheese

Gruyère is a hard cheese, yellow in color, sweet but slightly salty, with a flavor that varies depending on its age. Gruyère cheese is generally known as one of the finest cheeses for baking because it’s great for melting. Traditionally, you use it to make cheese sauce. You can also add it to fondue. It’s a fine table cheese. It can be used grated in salads and pasta. A French onion soup isn’t complete without it.

10. Feta

Feta is a Greek cheese made with sheep and goat milk. It’s a white brined cheese, salty, tangy, and moist, with a texture that can go from crumbly to moderately creamy. Crumble Feta cheese in salads and over roasted vegetables, add it to your sandwiches, add it in tacos and other Mexican dishes. Feta can be also served alongside olives, peppers, olive oil, and fresh flatbread.

11. Monterey Jack

Monterey Jack is one of the few all-American cheeses. It’s a pale yellow semi-hard cheese made with cow’s milk. It has a mild and buttery flavor with a bit of tang, and it’s good for melting.

It’s one of the best options for melting it in casseroles, including a classic like mac and cheese, for making sandwiches, cheese dips, and grilled cheese.

12. Provolone

Provolone is an Italian semi-hard cheese. Its taste varies depending on its age; from sharp or spicy to sweet with a very mild taste. Some versions of provolone are smoked. You can use it to complete your casseroles, pizzas, sandwiches, and baked pasta dishes.

13. Edam

Edam is a Dutch semi-hard cheese, traditionally sold in spheres with a pale-yellow interior and a coat of red paraffin wax. It has a very mild flavor, slightly salty or nutty, and almost odorless when compared to other cheeses. As the cheese ages, its flavor sharpens.

Edam cheese goes well with chicken or potato dishes, in pasta, souffles, salads, fritters, soups, and sauces.

14. Blue cheese

Blue cheese is made with cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, or goat’s milk and has cultures of the mold Penicillium added. That leads to creating blue, blue-grey, blue-green, or blue-brown veins of mold in it. Also, Blue cheese has a distinct smell, that some people find unpleasant. It tastes like yeast, it’s a little spicy, and it’s creamy like butter. Blue cheese adds some class to a simple salad, roasted vegetables, or grilled fruit dessert. You can add pieces of blue cheese to top your veggie soup or puree.

15. Gorgonzola

Gorgonzola is a type of blue cheese, but it’s special because of the small ‘blue’ stripes that actually has in it. It’s a mild, sweet, and milky cheese that is best served with a glass of red wine. You can also stir it into a risotto or slice it on your Quattro formaggi pizza.

16. Roquefort

Roquefort is, together with Gorgonzola, one of the world’s best known blue cheeses. This French moldy cheese is like a moist, crumbly paste. It’s made from sheep’s milk and has a sharp, sweet, and nutty flavor that comes from the yeast.

There are plenty of recipes that use Roquefort, thanks to its distinctive taste and its melting capacity. It’s best eaten as is, with crackers or toast, or with nuts and honey.

17. Ricotta

Ricotta is an Italian whey cheese made from sheep’s milk. This smooth cheese with a creamy mild sweet and fresh taste and a thick texture is very versatile. Plus, it’s low in fat, which makes it a good choice for almost any diet.

Thanks to its low salt content, Ricotta is perfect for both sweet and savory dishes. It’s actually perfect for everything from lasagna to pasta, from pies to cheesecakes. You can spread it on a bread slice and top it with veggies, sunny side up eggs, or fruit, and you can use it to make lots of dips.

18. Cottage cheese

Ricotta and cottage cheese are often compared and some people replace one with the other. But they aren’t all that similar. Cheesemakers separate milk or cream into curds and whey. Then, the curds are used to make cottage cheese and the whey is used to make ricotta. That’s the reason why both cheeses – Ricotta and cottage cheese – have different textures. But they’re both soft and mild in flavor.

While Ricotta is described as sweet, cottage cheese is fresh, milky, and creamy, with a moderate saltiness to it. The texture of cottage cheese is chunky, from the curds.

You can use it to top stuffed baked vegetables, like potatoes and pumpkins, in casseroles, pasta, to make a dip or a quick sweet snack (combining it with fruits and granola), in baked goods, or incorporated in smoothies.

19. Mascarpone

Compared to Ricotta (which is smooth, but has a grainy texture), mascarpone has a very smooth texture with no lumps or granularities. Mascarpone is one of the most popular cheeses and is made from cream and citric or tartaric acid, which thickens the cream. It has a milky and slightly sweet taste and a buttery flavor which comes from its high butterfat content.

Mascarpone is best known as an ingredient in the Italian dessert tiramisu. But you can also use it in pasta, mac and cheese, lasagna, or in fresh desserts. Or you can transform it into a dip by combining it with some olive oil, herbs and spices.

20. Halloumi

Halloumi is a Cypriot semi-hard brined cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk, and sometimes also cow’s milk. It’s the best cheese for grilling because it has a high melting point. Because it’s also a salty cheese, you should combine it with something that dims its strong taste.

Just throw it on the grill, then serve it as a starter, drizzled with olive oil and some fresh mint leaves and a glass of wine. You can add it to salads, in omelets served with veggies, in couscous, seafood dishes, or pair it with fresh fruit such as watermelon and pomegranate.

Related Links:

Fondue: The Journey of a Dish from Poverty to Luxury

The Best Italian Dishes to Make You See That ‘La Vita e Bella’

Most American “Parmesan” is Fake: How to Tell if Yours is Legit


Article by Raluca Cristian from So Delicious. View the original article here.

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14 Underrated Charcuterie Cuts To Track Down And Add To Your Boards

If you haven’t heard of charcuterie by now, it’s probably already at your local gastropub, ready for you to give it a try. The cured meat craze has swept across the country in recent years, to the point where most trendy establishments have at least one or two boards on their menus.

Whether you pair them with quality cheeses and wine or just eat the meats by themselves, it’s poppin’ to be popping a few slices into your mouth prior to the entree.

So far, the most common and ubiquitous charcuterie we’re seeing include salamis and prosciuttos, both of which are delicious in their own rights. There is, however, a whole host of other cooked and cured meats that can be featured on these platters, meats that even those with basic knowledge of charcuterie have yet to witness.

Whether you’re building your own at the nearby butcher shop, or have the opportunity to select some unique cuts on the menu, these are a few different charcuterie you should track down. More than just edgy meats that nobody around you has tried, these cuts are treats as delectable as advertised, or in some cases, even more so.

Coppa di Testa

Not many butchers or meat shops make their own coppa di testa anymore, but those that do, make it a real treat. According to partner Steve Sabicer of Jonathan Gold-renowned Electric City Butcher, it is made by rolling up and cooking an entire deboned pig’s head sous vide-style in Italian spices. You can individually taste each part: the soft and fatty jowl, the gelatinous ear, the tender tongue, and even the snout. It is sliced paper-thin, but each sliver comes with a unique variety of tastes and textures.

Sremska

“Sremska” is actually just the Serbian name for sausage, and is not assigned to a particularly special cut. According to meat expert Claudiu Giorgioni from Orange County’s Goodies in the Pantry, the sausage is traditionally smoked and dried. Made with pork and beef, it is seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika, which gives the meat a bright red hue.

Biltong

This is a jerky-like charcuterie you may want to get ready to start seeing everywhere. Industry experts have been naming biltong as one of the popular items to watch for this year as dried meat snacks grow in popularity. Hailing from Southern Africa, Biltong is cured then air-dried before being sliced paper thin. There’s a special machine used to get it to the right thickness, and it should melt in your mouth when you place a slice on your tongue.

Game Meat Pastrami

We all know beef as the meat of choice for pastrami, but that does not mean other animals can be cured and smoked in a similar fashion. At Goodies in the Pantry, for example, Giorgioni will make pastrami out of just about anything: Pork tenderloin, rabbit, goose, venison, and even antelope, which you can see pictured above.

Speck

Prosciutto speck shares a lot of similarities with its more famous cousin, prosciutto di parma. Both are salted, spiced and cured for a long period of time, and both come from pork legs. Unlike prosciutto di parma, however, speck goes through a smoking process, which imparts a different flavor and texture to the meat. It also predominantly comes from the top round of the pork hind leg, whereas prosciutto is usually a whole one.

Lomo

Widely popular in Spain, lomo is air-cured pork tenderloin. It can be done with or without the thick cap of fat you see in the one pictured above, which adds loads of flavor and creaminess to the meat. If you’re in Spain and looking for a cured meat feast, this is a tasty, budget-friendly alternative to jamon iberico, even if the lomo is made from Iberian pigs itself.

Sujuk

There’s several ways to spell this spicy beef sausage, including sudzuka, sujuk, sucuk, and others. Popular across the Middle East and Balkans regions, its cumin, garlic, and red pepper are the predominant flavors you’ll find no matter where you are tasting sujuk. It tends to be dried for several weeks before being sold, and is especially good on flatbreads like lahmajoun.

Culatello

Culatello is known by many as the “king of cured meats” because of its intense flavor and the process it goes through. A pork’s hind leg (the same used to make prosciutto) is deboned, netted, and cured for at least a year before being softened in wine for a couple of days. It is produced exclusively in the flatlands north of Parma, Italy.

Finocchiona

This looks like the salami we’re used to, but is much more regional and not as well known here in the United States, where Genovese salami is more common. Finocchiona is native to Tuscany, and gets its exclusive name and flavor from being cured with fennel seeds. Their aromatic fragrance adds a punch to the salami you will not get from other variants.

Virsli

Photo courtesy of Claudio Gonzalez

This is another generalistic term for “sausage” that can be applied to variants from Vienna, Romania, Hungary, and other places. Typically, this type of sausage is smoked and can then be served boiled or grilled. The spices vary by region, according to Giorgioni, who says that while Romanians typically use a lot more garlic, you may find a lot more hot paprika in Hungarian virsli.

Salumi Rosa

You’ll be hard-pressed to find this cut (pictured in the bottom part of the above platter) outside of Bologna, Italy. The city’s signature charcuterie is made in a style similar to mortadella, but only the pork shoulder meat is ground. Lard is “marbled” into the cut before it’s cooked, giving it the effect of an almost checkered sliver of meat. It’s best eaten thinly sliced with a good loaf of bread.

Eastern Prosciutto

Photo courtesy of Claudio Gonzalez

This specifically refers to prosciutto made in parts of Eastern Europe, since the process differs a little bit from Italy. Both are whole, salted pork hind legs, but in Eastern Europe the entire leg is also smoked, making it less salty than the Italian counterpart.

Liver Mousse

Liver mousse is technically charcuterie because the term refers to cold cooked meats. As such, pates like this can be commonly found in butcher and charcuterie shops all over the U.S. The key to cooking these is to seal the top with a layer of animal fat, almost like natural Tupperware. It is then baked in a water bath, bain-marie style, to keep the temperature even and prevent parts of the mousse from overcooking.

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This Cheese Shop Has A $500 Cheese Plate On Their Secret Menu

Located among the shops at Center Street Promenade in Ctr City Anaheim, the Center Street Cheese Shop should be at the top of your list of places to visit in 2018.

Specializing in cheeses, meats and wines from around the world, all you’ve ever wanted to discover about all of that can be found at this spot.

Even if it’s just a quick bite for lunch, or if you’re catering for a party of 30, the Center Street Cheese Shop is the ideal spot for some of the rarest cheeses and charcuterie combinations on the West Coast.

Currently, the Center Street Cheese Shop is offering what they’re calling the “$500 Cheese Board,” featuring a decadent and indulging assortment of cheese and meat combinations.

On this platter of goodness you can find everything from Stilton Bucheron, a three-week-old goat cheese, some Alpine swiss coated with edible flowers, a four-year-old gouda from Holland, an Italian cured meat called bresaola and duck prosciutto – just to mention a few.

If you haven’t stopped by yet, be sure to check it out. The menu is always changing, which is even more of a reason to check in and try something you’ve never experienced.

Photos by Pete Pham


Created in partnership with Visit Anaheim