Possibly one of the most loved foods in the western world, and for good reason-- it’s delicious! Cheese, oh, cheese-- it’s one of our favorite ingredients. It turns a basic sandwich into something decadent; melted cheese transforms steamed vegetables from a boring side dish into a family favorite; and by itself cheese is always a winning appetizer at a party…
In 2016, Denmark had the highest per capita consumption of cheese worldwide, according to Statista. We love cheese in the U.S., too. America's cheese consumption has been steadily increasing over the past 20 years even as our consumption of milk has decreased, according to an article on Marketplace. Cultures around the world have incorporated cheese into their diets for centuries, or millennia in some cases.
There’s raw cheese, roasted cheese, boiled cheese, steamed cheese, melted cheese, brined cheese, and many more variations.
There are beloved cheese dishes and snacks unique to every state in the U.S. and nearly every country in the world. Colombia has pandebono; India has paneer tikka; Greece has halloumi saganaki; Texas has queso; Wisconsin has cheese curds-- this list goes on.
Types of cheeses
There are so many ways to make cheese, and a variety of milks to use which change the flavor and consistency. Most cheeses are made from cow or goat’s milk, although sometimes sheep’s milk is used. Let’s review a few of the most commonly used and popular cheeses:
A pungent, moldy cheese that looks like something you shouldn’t eat is actually the name for a family of cheeses that include Gorgonzola, Cambozola, Roquefort, and Stilton.
Named after the region in the U.K. from which is originated, Cheddar-style cheeses have been around for a long time. Most cheddars are hard cheeses and made from cow’s milk.
Like so many ingredients and dishes we're familiar with, goat cheese originated in France and made its way to the U.S. Goat cheese is so soft it can be used as a spread. Its flavor is often mild, with the texture being the stand-out element. The flavor can range from very mild and almost tasteless to slightly salty.
A French cheese named after the area from which it originated. It's a soft cheese made from cow's milk with an edible rind. There are many different types of brie cheeses, ranging in softness. It melts well, but can be eaten at room temperature or melted. Brie can be served as an appetizer, and also goes well on a sandwich or burger.
This semi-firm cows milk cheese originated near Monterey, California. Made in monasteries by Franciscan Friars, according to Cheese.com, this is truly an American cheese.
High in protein and often considered in the category of health or diet food, cottage cheese consists of soft cheese curds of slightly different sizes.
This Italian cheese is what is used on pizza, and most Italian dishes Americans are familiar with. It is also used to make “string cheese.” Mozzarella di Bufala is a pricer version of mozzarella that is very creamy and is often found throughout many regions of Italy. Traditional mozzarella is made from buffalo milk.
When cheese is in a dish, it's often the star ingredient. Whether it's a side dish, brunch recipe, or party appetizer, cheese is the ultimate comfort food in any form.