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What is your 'workhorse' cheese?

Now I love cheese. To me a good cheese is something to be savored. But sometimes, quality is not required. When a cheese is going to be grated, melted or made into a sauce. Usually I go down market for that instead of a cheese I'd eat with alone (or with fruit or crackers). For that purpose I usually get Stewart's brand extra sharp cheddar. It has a nice bite, it's not to rich and melts excellently. For blue cheese dressing I usually get some danish blue at the local Butcher's shop, or if I'm making my devils on horseback ( bacon wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese), I get the generic chevre from the supermarket.
What about you?

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  1. My "everyday" cheese are all ones I can find at my local stop and shop. I use these for my cooking but if I was making a cheese plate I'd probably go to the farmers' market or a supermarket like Fairway or Wegman's with a more gourmet selection.
    -Cabot sharp cheddar
    -Vikos sheep/goat milk feta
    -Vermont butter&creamery goat cheese
    One thing I won't buy at stop and shop that I use almost weekly is mozzarella. I buy the handpulled balls of mozz at Fairway or Whole Foods in bulk and freeze them. Can't stand the stuff they have at S&S.

    2 Replies
    1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

      Freezing doesn't affect the texture of the mozzarella? I've never done it because I thought I'd end up with rubber.

      1. re: sr44

        I think it loses a bit of the moisture and texture of fresh-from-the-store mozzarella but we use it on pizza and for those purposes it works very well! I wouldn't freeze it if I were going to eat it uncooked/plain.

        I'll admit this too-- I freeze my "workhorse" feta and cheddar too for use in cooking if I have extra. I barely notice the difference in my defrosted feta. The cheddar's texture is affected (basically turns to curds when you defrost it) but I'm just going to crumble it on top of something (burrito, frittata, etc.) anyway.

    2. Tilamook extra sharp white Cheddar.

      1. I just made stuffed dates with blue cheese and bacon this weekend (those horses in a race they flew off the platter!)

        My every day cheeses judging my the cooler includes:
        brie, ash goat cheese, smoked gouda, white cheddar, sharp jarlsberg swiss, table blue, dry ricotta, farmer's cheese and and a nice parm wedge.

        1. Three cheeses I almost always have:

          A wedge of good parm
          A sharp cheddar
          An aged gouda

          1. Humboldt Fog
            Ewephoria or Prima Donna gouda

            3 Replies
            1. re: psb

              Really? Brillat-Savarin as an everyday cheese?

              1. re: jpc8015

                Well, it's not like I eat it every day, but those are my standards. There is a good cheese shop near my lab which:
                1. has decent prices
                2. will let you taste before buy
                3. will cut small pieces with no fuss

                So it's possible to keep fairly fancy cheeses around at reasonable cost. For example after a long exercise bike ride, I ate my Brillat wedge which was probably like $3.50. It is so rich, a small amount goes a long way. That is cheaper than a smoothie ... I havent done the calorie math tho :-)

                rich cheese = small quantity

                I have been mulling over whether it is "efficient" to get cheeses above $16/lbs, as there is another place near by which has smoked salmon for $16lb and I tend to like that more. Possibly the SS went up to $20. Also it is a bit less convenient. Oh the cheese shop also has a cream cheese-smoked salmon spread which along with a baguette is my "everyday" snack.

                Maybe I missed the point of the question.
                The cheeses listed above are the ones I never seem to get tired of and are pretty consistent in quality. I see this as a diff question than "what's your fav cheese under $10/lbs" ... to me those are all "melting cheeses" or "hiking/camping cheeses" these days.

                BTW, #3 above is super important. For example, I like La Tur, but I think the shop will only sell a whole or half round, and even the half round is more than I want unless buying for a dinner party etc. I think most of the yuppie-type cheese shops in my city would not be thrilled if you spent 15min tasting 6 cheeses and buying 4, but in small enough quantities to only spend $15. However the cheese shop I mention above is run by an bunch of communists and there is no such bad vibe.

                1. re: psb

                  If you can find a regular supply of it at a reasonable price, and get them to cut smaller quantities then good for you. The only places I have seen it want you to buy the whole form. That is a bit pricey.

            2. My 'go to' cheese is a sharp (or extra sharp) Cabot cheddar. I also like Jarlsberg and, for blue, Maytag. If I'm melting, I often buy Sargento shredded.

              1. Tillamook medium Cheddar gets a lot of run in my house. We use it on sandwiches, melt it on burgers, grate it over chips for nachos, put it in mac and cheese, and on and on...

                1. Dubliner (kerrygold) without a doubt. We use it everywhere we'd use cheddar (it's like a nuttier cheddar) and at Costco it's only 5.99/lb. We pre-grate a tupperware of it and use it for salads (or the rare mac n cheese treat). Sliced, it makes awesome grilled cheese and cubed, it's nice in spaghetti.

                  1. Workhorses: somewhat generic...but always on hand

                    Sharp cheddar
                    Pepper Jack
                    Philly cream cheese
                    Some variety of blue

                    1. Parmesan
                      Extra sharp NY cheddar

                      1. (Almost) always in the fridge:

                        Safeway sharp cheddar for melting/cooking only
                        block of best parmigiano reggiano I can find (I prefer to grate it fresh as needed)
                        chunk of Jarlsberg for the SO's lunch sandwiches
                        block of Barrel feta
                        a few vacuum packed specialty cheeses from a local gourmet shop for cheese "emergencies" (I know vac packing is frowned upon but better that than no cheese)
                        a few wedges of whatever non-table cheeses look interesting/ripe at my local deli (the Parthenon in Vancouver in case anyone is familiar with it)

                        And yes, I have a dedicated cheese drawer in my fridge. It was designed to hold vegetables, I believe, though no such interloper has ever resided in its recesses :-).

                        1. My name is Peg and I'm a cheese addict.
                          If I had cheese in the house there's no way I could not eat it.
                          But my body likes to store fat when I eat cheese.

                          When I eat cheese it has to be the main event - I don't cook with it, I always eat it plain, as my main protein.
                          I only buy cheese that is 'worth' the fat.

                          So I don't have a workhorse cheese.
                          I have fabulous blue cheeses, goat cheeses, ewe cheeses, hard cheeses, soft cheeses, washed rind cheeses, fresh cheeses, matured cheeses.... but not often.

                          1. we always have a wedge of good reggiano parmigiano and one of pecorino romano in the house for grating,

                            1. Cabot's Hunter's Sharp cheese is my standard cheddar.

                              I go with either Vermont Butter & Cheese, Westfield Farms (local to MA) or President goat cheese.

                              For an aged parm-reg, it's whatever the supermarket has available.