Cheese Buying Guide

Cheese is a delicious, versatile food you can serve in a wide range of appetizers, desserts and main courses. This cheese buying guide will show you how to select, store and serve cheese.

Cheese 101

Cheese is a delicious food option with an almost limitless variety of flavours, colours and textures. It also presents a kid-friendly way to add the goodness of dairy to your family's diet. With so many varieties on the market, it's easy to choose a distinct, tasty cheese for any meal occasion. If the menu calls for a crowd-pleasing starter, you can whip up Asiago toasted cheese puffs in no time by broiling garlic, spices, black pepper and Asiago cheese on a baguette. A cheese platter with green grapes and crackers is a great snack option, as are quesadillas with cheddar cheese, bacon and tomatoes. For dinner, lasagna topped with grated Parmigano-Reggiano is a mouth-watering entrée everyone in the household will enjoy. 

Types of Cheeses

Sandwich Cheeses
When you’re looking for a cheese to put on a sandwich, Swiss cheese and American cheese are two classic options. These flavourful cheeses pair well with meats such as ham and turkey, and toppings such as mustard, grilled apples or sautéed onions. For vegetarian sandwiches, fresh mozzarella is a good choice based on its firm texture and taste compatibility with simple ingredients like tomato and basil. If you like your sandwiches spicy, try using pepper jack cheese, which goes well with a wide range of meats, including chicken, beef and ham.
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
American cheese goes hand in hand with grilled cheese sandwiches. You can keep it simple or put a fun twist on this classic by adding healthy ingredients such as peppers, tomato and basil. If you're looking for a stronger flavour, cheddar is a tasty option — especially when served with mango chutney on the side. When you need to please a crowd, try melting mozzarella cheese, butter, garlic powder and oregano on bread to make delicious Italian grilled cheese sandwiches.
Grating Cheeses
Grating cheeses are the ideal complement to pasta sauces, and can also add delicious flavour to soups and stews. Parmigiano-Reggiano is a popular option known for its nutty, slightly spicy taste. You can serve it with your main dish or use it in a cheese plate paired other cheeses, such as Brie, and fruits such as grapes, prunes and figs. If you find the taste of Parmigiano-Reggiano a bit strong, Grana Padano is similar but milder and pairs well with the same food groups. If you’re looking for a grating cheese for salads, aged Asiago cheese is a tasty option, with a distinctive flavour that is slightly sweeter and tangier than that of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Cheeses for Spreading
Goat cheese is a tasty option for spreading thanks to its distinctive tart and earthy flavour. Combine it with ingredients such as garlic, fresh parsley and sun-dried tomatoes on a baguette for a delicious snack. Cream cheese is another versatile cheese-spread option. It has a creamy texture, as its name suggests, and usually a much milder flavour. It's delicious when spread on bagels and crackers or used as dip for chips.

Cheese for Salads
If you're looking for ideas to add zip and texture to your salads, cheese is a good place to start. In particular, blue cheeses such as Roquefort and Stilton have strong flavours that can transform a simple green salad into a taste event. Similarly, goat cheese has a characteristic tangy flavour that pairs well with simple greens. Both cheeses also serve well to complement sweet, citrusy fruits. For a delicious Greek salad, combine feta cheese with tomatoes, cucumbers, black olives, red wine vinegar and olive oil.

Dessert Cheeses
Serving cheese for dessert is a French custom, and can be a nice change from ending the night with a sugar hit. You can use any cheese, but it's a good idea to also serve complementary fresh fruits and fruit spread. An option when selecting dessert cheeses is to go with varieties that have fruits and other tasty ingredients embedded within. Examples your family might enjoy include goat cheese with blueberries, chocolate goat cheese and white Stilton cheese with pear and almond.

Snacks and Appetizers
Cheese is a healthy food to eat as a snack, and with so many varieties, your options are almost endless. Baked brie and baked Camembert are two mouth-watering options your family will love. Simply place the cheese on an oiled baking sheet, bake it until the texture is soft, and serve with baguettes or crackers. A tasty fruit chutney pairs wonderfully with this as well. Cheese plates also work well as snacks and appetizers. If you're serving a variety of cheeses one after the other, start with the mildest flavours first. 

Cheese Buying Tips:

  • If shopping at a cheese counter ask to sample the cheese before buying it
  • Try to eat cheese within one to two days after opening to get the maximum flavour
  • Keep cheese in the more moist parts of your fridge such as the drawer and door compartments
  • If cheese develops pink or yellow mould on its rind, or if the rind becomes brittle and cracked, then it is spoiling and should be thrown away

Cheese Features

Milk Types
Most cheese is made from the milk of one of three animals: goats, cows or sheep. Goat cheese tends to have a tangy flavour; cheese made from cow’s milk is rich and creamy with a buttery flavour; cheese made from sheep’s milk tastes nutty.
The texture of cheese ranges from soft and runny to rigid and grainy. Soft cheeses such as Brie spread easily on baguettes and crackers. Semi-soft cheeses such as Cheddar, Gouda and Mozzarella work well in sandwiches and grilled cheese. Hard cheeses such as parmesan are delicious for grating over pasta sauces.
The flavour of cheese is greatly influenced by the climate in which the goats, sheep or cows are raised and the food they're fed. Countries with distinct cheeses include Italy, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Cheese Serving and Storage Tips:

  • Store cheese at temperatures below 4oC
  • Don't store cheese with other strongly aromatic foods as it may absorb their flavours
  • Wrap unused portions of cheese in wax paper and place them in a loose-fitting bag before storing in the fridge
  • Before serving soft cheeses, keep them at room temperature for at least 30 minutes
  • Before serving semi-soft and hard cheeses, keep them at room temperature for at least an hour
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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