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A change of pace from everyday brie?

I need to buy some cheese for a small gathering this evening. I have a limited budget (my total spent on cheese for this event should not exceed $20, and it needs to feed 7 people). I want to get three types of cheese.

I often get brie on occasions like this, but I'm kind of bored of the less-expensive brands I often buy. What do people suggest I get as a substitute, keeping in mind that the piece of cheese I buy will still need to be around $7 or less. I want something with a similar texture. I'll be shopping at a very well-stocked Whole Foods.

Opinions on other cheeses I should throw in would be great too!

Thanks!
Dave MP

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  1. I recently bought a small French brie-like cheese for snacks on a plane called "Supreme La Crème de la Crème." It was extremely soft at room temperature, so goes on crackers. I found it in an ordinary supermarket, not WF. Very nice.

    This is it: http://iledefrancecheese.com/index.ph...

    1. A wedge of ripe taleggio is sexier than everyday brie.

      1 Reply
      1. You might want to have a look to see if you can find a wedge of Chaumes -- it's a softer cheese made in the southwest of France. It's NOT a brie, but it's soft, mild, and very different from the usual offerings.

        I used to buy it at Publix in Florida, so I know it has fairly good distribution.

        I would add in a good all-purpose -- a Comte (if you can find it, Gruyere, or a good nutty Swiss -- I like to have something that everyone likes....

        Then a bleu or a chevre would be the typical complement -- Maytag is a great American bleu...I'm out of the loop on chevre; sorry.

        1. If you're on a limited budget, go to Trader Joe's instead of WF!

          For three cheeses in your price range a little more interesting than the norm, I'd get:

          St. Andre (a triple cream instead of the brie)
          Parrano (a medium aged gouda)
          A manchego or something similar

          3 Replies
          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Actually, now that I think of it, I could probably go to Cowgirl in the Ferry Building (SF). Also not necessarily cheap, but I love going there.

            Unfortunately unable to go to Trader Joe's for this errand...but thanks for the tips, especially the parrano which I haven't tried before!

            1. re: Dave MP

              I'm not enamored of Cowgirl. The only thing I go there specifically to buy is their bulk mascarpone, which is heavenly and reasonably priced.

              In my experience everyone likes Parrano -- people who aren't cheeseheads love it, and cheese snobs won't turn their noses up at it.

              1. re: Dave MP

                Too bad you won't be able to hit up TJ's...at $11/12 per lb, Delice de Bourgogne is my go to brie (seen at Costco too).

                Also LOVE cana de cabra, a goat cheese available at WF & Cowgirl. ($16.99/lb at WF).
                http://www.cowgirlcreamery.com/librar...

                edit: didn't realize this is old thread :)

            2. Since your budget for cheese is $20, are there any other things you're putting out that you may be able to trade off...fruit? Bread? etc.?
              As to cheese, I'd make a simple rec of one hard, one semi-soft, and one soft...textures and flavors. Believe me...no expert here, but like art, I know what I like.