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Jun 17, 2014 10:39 AM

Better than acceptable grocery store cheeses

Since two good cheese shops are within easy driving distance, I usually don't bother to look at the cheese bins when sent to the local groceries, but when my wife goes she always brings back slabs of Colby and Monterey Jack which I find bland but acceptable.

I was wondering what cheeses you might find at the ordinary corner grocery or chain stores (not upscale grocers like Trader Joes or Whole Foods) that are better than acceptable. I'll start it off with two:

Cabot cheddars are better than average, particularly the ones in the wax wrappings.
St. Andre at groceries seems to be almost as good as the kind I buy at cheese stores.

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  1. We usually have Tillamook medium Cheddar on hand at home.

    1. St. Andre is a brand name, I believe. So it will be the same wherever you buy it (although the quality may not be the identical, due to differences in storage and handling). Same for Cambazola.

      1. TJs is not an upscale grocery store in my mind and the only midrange place I regularly shop so I am including it. They have some good options that have a better price/quality relationship than WF or the farmer's market so some of the cheese stores I frequent.

        I regularly buy their very tasty organic jack, grass fed cheddar, and aged gruyere and that almost covers the kids. Their organic string cheese sucks so I don't buy it. We occasionally buy their shredded mozzarella and it is fine but not organic so I avoid it.

        Elsewhere, Tillamook and Cabot are superior. My local hated Vons has repellant cheese and every cheese-of-emergency purchased there has been both expensive and terrible. True in years past with Ralphs as well. I truly think their buyers hate cheese and hate people who like cheese.

        1. While not an aged version, most supermarkets have swiss gruyere.

          1. This may really be scraping the bottom of the cheese barrel, but I'm a big fan of Kroger's pepper jack. I'll occasionally buy TJ's and don't like it half as well.