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Is there good supermarket cheese?

I'm lucky to be in an area with great cheese shops. However, every now and then I am in the mood for cheese and the shops are closed. I'm too far from a Whole Foods to satisfy the craving there.

I am guessing that there isn't anything good in the section that keeps the shredded Kraft, but what about the separate section cheese section that most big markets have with supposedly the better cheese?

For me, long ago the better cheese meant Boursin, Alouette and Laughing Cow ... ok, I still like Boursin and Alouette.

Yesterday it was between the Uniekass Aged gouda and Kerrygold Dubliner, imported from Ireland, "Aged cheese with a distinctive taste and a natural hint of sweetness'.

Yeah, fine. The block of generic mild cheddar located under the shredded Kraft tastes the same as this. Same sweaty, wet look when the plastic covering it is removed. Same cheese tray at the hotel convention reception taste.

So is there anything good out there? Or should I just save some money and buy the Velveeta?

Here's a few brands i remember from yesterday (spelling from memory)

Shafts - Blue vein, Serandipity and something else blue
Denmark's Finest - havarti
Zanetti - grassi parmigana regeggio
Soigon - goat cheese
Black Diamond - cheddar
Hoffman's - cheddar
Porter's - cheddar
Rumano - smoked aged jack
Stella - I forget

These are just to jog your memory. I know I don't usually pay attention to the brand when I'm in this section ... All I think is 'better cheese section'.

And, if anyone shops at Raley's, has anyone tried that brie with the fancy tags that says it is hand crafted? It looks pretty, one is a sun tried tomato and the other is some sort of green herb or pesto?

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  1. Kerrygold Dubliner is a terrific cheese. No it is not Cheddar, it is Dubliner, an Irish cheese. Try it, you might be surprised. I get it from Costco in 2lb blocks at a great price, as you might guess. But I've seen it in specialty cheese shops as well, for a substantially higher price.

    True parmigiano reggiano is always good. If genuine, it should have a stamp on the outside rind which says "Parmigiano Reggiano" because it's a DOC cheese.

    I wouldn't feed Velveeta to my worst enemy.

    6 Replies
    1. re: cheryl_h

      I guess we have to agree to disagree on this one. I did try it. That was the cheese I wrote about. Had it for dinner last night. Eating it right now for lunch. Even if it isn't cheddar, to me, it just taste like the generic mild supermarket cheddar.

      1. re: rworange

        Sorry about that. I don't like cheddar at all, not even the best genuine English versions, but Dubliner has me hooked. Perhaps you were expecting cheddar so it disappointed you?

        What cheeses do you like?

        1. re: cheryl_h

          Oh I like everything. The Dubliner was ok, but it wouldn't be something I'd buy again.

          I haven't bought supermarket cheese in years because of the local good cheese shops where it is cut fresh from the wheel. Like a lot of the posters, in the past I bought Tillamock.

          It is just that the better cheese is pricy and I'm looking forward to replies that will tell me what is better or worse. Have you tried any of the other types of Kerrygold cheese. Probably not the cheddar since you don't like Cheddar, but they had four different types at my Raley's.

          1. re: rworange

            IIRC I've tried Kerrygold Gouda and didn't like it a whole lot. That might be just me because most Goudas don't appeal to me either, I find the texture a bit rubbery. Flavor was fine, a bit bland.

            I'm on the opposite coast from you so my supermarket choices are a bit different, but I can get a range of decent goat cheeses at mine. I'm about 10 minutes from Whole Foods so that's my usual cheese shop.

          2. re: cheryl_h

            There's a Kerrygold (i think, i bought an Irish cheese in the supermarket, so I'm prettty sure) that is wrapped in wax paper and sold in a small rectangle. It was really good. Was yours wrapped in wax paper?

            1. re: fara

              Yes it is. At Costco it comes in giant slabs but the wrapping is wax and there's a Kerrygold label. Glad to hear you liked it.

      2. Cabot's Hunter's Seriously Sharp Cheddar - the only supermarket cheddar I get.

        1. Cooks Illustrated did a tasting of supermarket cheddars. They liked Cabot sharp Vermont cheddar and Tillmook sharp cheddar best. I also like the one that comes in a black wax package, though I don't recall the name.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Darren72

            Cabot's is one of my favorites. Extra sharp, Hunter's, and Vintage have different ages but are all very good.

            Trader Joe's has the extra-sharp CHEEP.

          2. I always get Tillamook sharp (not medium!) cheddar when I'm cooking, and usually end up eating the leftovers with crackers. Not bad at all, and really cheap.

            1. Another vote for Cabots. I like the Hunter's Seriously Sharp and the white extra-sharp.

              If you ever need to buy the bagged shredded cheese, I think Sargento is the best of the bunch.

              1 Reply
              1. re: val ann c

                For bagged cheese I also love Trader Joes Italian Four Cheese Blend, I use it on my pizzas! YUM! :)

                --Dommy!

              2. I don't suppose they are in many supermarkets, but I had to add that this week I visited Fox Hill Cheese in Nova Scotia and enjoyed some terrific stuff -- I particularly like their "old gouda", which was a style I had not experienced before. Also the curried quark was very tasty. I somehow doubt that the USDA would allow then to ship direct, but there is an order form at http://www.foxhillcheesehouse.com if anyone is brave enough to try.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Greg B

                  It's all pasteurized. They do ship to the US, and there's no problem bringing it in through Customs. So maybe it would work.

                2. That canned camembert from Germany or Denmark is great covered with breadcrumbs and deep fried.

                  Also, when I lived in California, some of the Safeways carried the Rouge et Noir Brie and camemberts, and those are much better than the brie and camemberts exported to the US from France. However, it's now carried at Dean and Deluca, so I don't know if they're still selling Rouge et Noir at the less fancy California grocery stores.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bearnaise

                    To add a comment 6+ years later, yes, supermarkets still carry Rouge et Noir cheese. The locally owned store in Salinas, CA has a separate cheese department that cuts to order. The Rouge et Noir cheeses are in a separate area with pre-packed cheeses over by the cottage cheese, tofu, etc.

                    Rouge et Noir has some specialty cheeses that are small production and not widely distributed. I imagine that's what D&D carried. Here's my note on the SF Bay Area board about a few (then) new ones,
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/35163

                    In any case, I thought this topic was worth bumping up so that we could talk about what national brands are commonly available at grocery stores and which are worth trying.