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?
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.
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.
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.
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.