Who doesn’t love cheese? No one, that’s who. But, do you know how to buy cheese? If all you are doing is buying those single slices wrapped in cellophane, or going to the deli counter at your local grocery store and asking the guy behind the counter to cut you a few slices of American, you are selling yourself short. The next time you have a hankering for some delicious cheese, keep some of these buying tips in mind. You’ll end up with the best cheese ever!
If you want a really good hunk of cheese, avoid the grocery store. You are far better off going to your local cheesemonger or a specialty cheese shop. The cheeses that are available at the grocery store are okay, but it is rare to find an extremely good piece of cheese there. Also, be sure to shop at a busy store. The products move faster, so you will always be assured to have fresh cheese. Do your taste buds a favor and make the extra stop at the cheese shop.
Folks who run cheese stores love to talk about cheese. So, make friends with the purveyor of your local cheese shop and start asking questions. You will learn more than you thought there was ever to know about cheese. Even if you don’t have any questions at first, just listen to what your cheesemonger has to say. Those who are passionate about cheese will freely share their information with you, and you will get an education you can use to pick out the best pieces of cheese you have very had. Don’t forget to ask for recommendations, and don’t be shy to try new varieties.
Don’t buy pre-cut cheese.
Whenever possible, do not buy pre-cut cheese. It is far better to have your cheesemonger cut your cheese to your specifications. If the cheesemonger balks at your request, it is a red flag that indicates that it is time to find another shop. Pre-cut cheese is easily dried out and often loses flavor. If you are going to pay for a product, you want it in its best and most natural state.
Pay attention to all of the cheeses a shop sells.
Take the time to notice all of the cheeses your chosen cheese shop sells. You want to make sure that only high-quality products are being sold at the shop. This is a primary indication that the cheesemonger’s standards are high. If there are low-quality cheeses being sold alongside higher-quality ones, it shows a lack of commitment on the part of the store owner, and you will want to purchase your cheese elsewhere.
When you go to the cheese shop, ask if you can taste the cheese before you buy it. This is the best way for you to determine if you are going to like the product or not. If the staff at the cheese shop do not let you taste as many cheeses as you want, it is a sign to shop elsewhere. However, that does not mean you should head over to the shop on an empty stomach and turn the cheese-tasting into your lunch. Be sure to be polite and only sample those in which you are truly interested.
Ask to try different cheeses.
Stop being a creature of habit. Make it a rule that every time you go into the cheese shop that you will try one different cheese. Go out on a limb and taste a cheese that is different from the ones you usually go for. This is a great way to expand your horizons and increase your cheese knowledge. You are not under any obligation to purchase cheeses you sample, so there is no risk involved. Keep in mind that you are not going to like every cheese that you try. But, you just might find a new favorite that you never would have thought of purchasing before. Always keep in mind, after you have tried a few cheeses and the cheesemonger has spent some time with you, that you should buy something before you leave the shop. Although cheesemongers love sharing their knowledge - they are in the business to make money.
Now that you know a bit about buying cheese, find your local cheese shop and try out your new skills. Once you get your cheese home, make sure you store it properly so it stays fresh for as long as possible. If you are looking for a cheesy snack in the meantime, try munching on some gourmet cheese snacks from John Wm. Macy's CheeseSticks. Their baked CheeseCrisps and CheeseSticks are delicious and won’t hurt your waistline. They come in a variety of cheesy flavors including Asiago and Cheddar, Sesame Gruyere, and Dijon Swiss to name just a few. Whichever flavor you choose, you will be sure to love them. You can even add them to your next cheese board, too.
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