Melty, Salty, Smoky, Good: Celebrate American Cheese Month

This may be hard to believe, but when I was a young child, I didn’t like cheese. Wait, what? What kind of kid turns their nose up at grilled cheese, cheeseburgers, and the coveted mac & cheese? This kid. I hated it. Gagged at the thought. I even remember a time when a babysitter fixed me a cheese and mayonnaise sandwich, which I refused to eat. I threw it in the trash, and GET THIS, she retrieved it out and made me eat it anyway! I still remember the taste of Miracle Whip and sliced American filling my mouth as I fought the urge to hurl it all back up. Ick!

But somewhere along the way, I actually came across some good cheese. Some real cheese, not that nasty, processed, fake yellow stuff. That somewhere was my grandparent’s home at Thanksgiving and Christmas time. My grandpa would load up a tray with slices of summer sausage, gourmet cheeses and a variety of crackers. I’m not sure what convinced me to give cheese another try, but I did. It was smoky and good, oh so good. Until recently, I was unable to identify or find this exact same cheese. When our local Whole Foods store offered me an opportunity to write about American Cheese Month (I’m one of their blog ambassadors), I gladly took it. I tried several varieties of cheese from Whole Foods along with recommended pairings from their Certified Cheese Professionals (now that’s a cool job).

Holy Smoky Gouda

Smoked Gouda. That had to be it. As I bit into a slice of Apple Smoked Gouda from Whole Foods, I was once again a freckle-faced girl standing eye level with the meat and cheese tray on Grandma & Grandpa’s mile-long dining room table. I tried this cheese in several different “melty” dishes, as it’s known for it’s supreme “meltiness.” (Yes, these are new words.) My favorite? A good, old-fashioned grilled cheese (with plenty of butter on the bread slices). This combination allowed the full flavor to come forth, and I needed a special moment with my sandwich as I enjoyed every. last. bite.

Smoked Gouda Whole Foods

If you’re like me, you probably freaked when you saw the $14.99/lb price tag. Yes, it’s a pricey cheese, but I bought a $5 chunk that lasted us through four grilled cheese sandwiches, scrambled eggs, and even a cheesy biscuit mix. A little goes a LONG way!

Is a grilled cheese sandwich with apple smoked Gouda from Whole Foods Market Wichita really that much better than one with regular 'ol sliced American? Was making love to your soul mate better than making out with your middle school boyfriend? If your answer is no, then that must have been one heck of a make-out session.

Is a grilled cheese sandwich with apple smoked Gouda from Whole Foods Market Wichita really that much better than one with regular ‘ol sliced American?
Was making love to your soul mate better than making out with your middle school boyfriend? If your answer is no, then that must have been one heck of a make-out session.

Super Salty Romano

I didn’t have much familiarity with any Romano other than Ray. Get it? Sure, I’d eaten it before in dishes, but had never studied its unique qualities. A helpful sign near the grape display pointed me in the right direction. Salty and sweet. And besides, at 20 weeks pregnant, I couldn’t get my wine and cheese fix, so why not settle for a close cousin? (I’ll take that glass of wine shortly after baby is born thankyouverymuch.)

Whole Foods made it easy to pair these two tastes together.

Whole Foods made it easy to pair these two tastes together.

 

My girls and I dove into this tasty snack plate. My youngest liked the super salty flavor of the romano cheese, while my oldest mainly enjoyed the grapes.

My girls and I dove into this tasty snack plate. My youngest liked the super salty flavor of the romano cheese, while my oldest mainly enjoyed the grapes.

 

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Here’s one I thought up on my own. Caramel sauce and salty romano on top of a cracker. Delicious!

Melty Goat Cheese

I’m going to be honest here. I’ve tried goat cheese before. I don’t like the smell, and I was hesitant to give it another try. But when the Cheese Professional told me a certain variety of Avalanche Goat Cheese went with with their selection of olives, I decided to give it another chance. (After all, this was award-winning cheese.) As I sliced into the small white chunk, I was again reminded of that smell I’m not so fond of, but after pairing it with greek olives and those red little pepper things whose name I can’t remember on a slice of Naan. I was in heaven. I popped this bad boy in the toaster oven and minutes later had a delicious pizza to devour. That’ll do goat cheese, that’ll do.

Much like the Gouda, this little hunk of cheese went a LONG way.

Much like the Gouda, this little hunk of cheese went a LONG way.

Look. Just look at this thing. Behold its cheesy beauty.

Look. Just look at this thing. Behold its cheesy beauty.

 

$25 Whole Foods Gift Card Giveaway

Love all this cheesy talk? Licking your screen as you scroll though the post? You’re in luck! Whole Foods is generous enough to give one of my lucky blog readers a $25 gift certificate, so you can sample some of this stuff for yourself. All you have to do is comment on this post on my Facebook page or comment below (or both for extra entries) and tell about the first time you fell in love with cheese. I’ll choose a winner at random on Friday, Oct. 17. Enjoy!

 

 

 

8 Responses to Melty, Salty, Smoky, Good: Celebrate American Cheese Month

  1. I am going to say I do not like cheese very much, I hate the fat that comes from it. As a woman almost in my 50’s I stay away from it as much as I can. Now for the goat cheese; I used to milk goats and the milk and the cheese taste like I would think goat udder would taste. The smell and taste gross. So when I read this I had to laugh at myself and maybe I’ll go over to the wonderful store and try some myself.
    Great post Cat Poland!

  2. Lindsay Pauly says:

    I love cheese! Pretty much always have. I think you have convinced me that I need some of that smoked Gouda cheese :)

  3. Alicia king says:

    Omg!! That grilled cheese makes my mouth water

  4. Melissa doffing says:

    I have always been a cheesehead, but my tastes have grown. I don’t remember when I started liking cheese. My mom tells a story of trying to clean the house and impress her visiting mother-in-law. My grandma looked imposing, but was very kind. Mom thought she had things in tip-top shape. When my Grandma sat on the couch and looked out the window, she just smiled at the hunk of cheddar, with teeth marks that would have perfectly matched up with my 2 year old mouth, sitting on the windowsill.

  5. Kim B says:

    Mmmm, unlike most people I know I do not like cheese on my burgers or most of my sandwiches for that matter. I like to be able to taste the meat and often too much cheese can take away from that. But cheese does have it’s place in my life. I love to sneak a bite (or five) of my kids’ mac n cheese, or occasionally indulge in a good grilled cheese sandwich.

  6. Jennifer Ebner says:

    I have always grown up on cheese – my favorite was definitely my dad’s grilled cheese sandwiches that he’d grill on the bbq!! I love the taste of the smoke with the cheese – and yes i LOVE smoked Gouda also! I didn’t start trying many other cheeses until I met my husband. Being from wine country he knew a lot more about cheeses and what goes with what, so now I have a little larger cheese variety to buy at the store! My kids love cheese – no matter what kind it is! I like that we’re giving them more variety than we had growing up – because the type of cheese you pair with something can really affect whether people love it or hate it!

  7. Jessie C. says:

    I don’t always like cheese. The first time I fell in love with cheese was traveling to Netherlands and taste my first smoked Gouda in a local restaurant. And that became my first love and last.

  8. Jessie G says:

    I love Applewood Smoked Gouda!!! The first time I had this about a year ago was when I fell in love with cheese. Just made some grilled cheese using it, thanks to this post. Can’t wait to try the Romano and Caramel :)

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