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Interesting Facts on Cheese

cheese plate

Cheese is milk's leap towards immortality. 
--Clifton Fadiman

Cheese is a worldwide dairy staple, featured on many-a-platter, sandwich, pasta, soup, nachos, and countless other delectable dishes. It’s easy to affirm: without cheese, your pizzas would be empty; your wine would find no easy pairing -- life would be less cheesy.

The origins of this ancient food predate any recorded history (much like its good pairing partner: wine). Many cheeses were initially founded in the 1500 and 1600s, including Cheddar, Gouda, Parmesan, and Camembert. Charles de Gaulle famously questioned of France, the land of cheese: "How can you govern a country in which there are 246 kinds of cheese?" And today, with the dynamic cheese recipes Americans have: from cheese curds to cheese soup to grilled cheese and cheese fondue—it’s apparent that cheese is a popular food item loved by many.

How to Buy Cheap But Delicious Cheese

wine and cheese on table

Why is good cheese so expensive? What is the difference between expensive cheese and cheaper cheeses? 

First, the number one difference that accounts for the huge price discrepany is the milk that is utilized to make really, really good cheese comes from small herds of cattle—which are far more expensive to maintain and feed. Second, the cheeses that aren’t from your local farmers incur many travel costs, which rally the price even higher.

How can you buy affordable and yet delicious cheese? Start by reading the cheese labels. A cheese’s listed making-location should be incredibly specific. Also, the cheese manufacturer should be transparent about its background. Furthermore, seeing the name of a farm, rather than the name of the state, is far better and will ensure a more flavorful bite.

Naturally, cheese that is made on a larger scale is going to be cheaper. However, which cheeses can actually survive that large-scale production and still deliver quality taste? Opt for Gruyere, an Aged Gouda, Manchego, or Comte.

Tip: For cheaper, high-quality cheeses with dynamic flavor, opt for Manchego, Comte, Gouda, or Gruyere.

If you’re searching for fresh cheeses, look no further than mozzarella, which has the greatest quality for its price in the United States.

Cheese Descriptions and Nutrition Facts

Information is listed per 100 grams.

Cheese Description Calories Carbohydrates Protein Fat
Cheddar Hard, often sharp, English cheese. 403 1.28 24.9 33.14
Gouda Yellow Dutch cheese, most popular in the world, comes in a variety of young and aged cheeses. 356 2.22 24.94 27.44
Brie Known as "The Queen of Cheeses," this French cheese is soft and buttery. 334 0.45 20.75 27.68
Goat Cheese Goat cheese, made from goat’s milk, is low fat, tarty and earthy. 361 1.87 23.52 28.85
Feta Feta is a brined, tangy white cheese made in Greece from sheep’s milk. 264 4.09 14.21 21.28
Parmesan Parmesan is an Italian hard cheese with a nutty and fruity flavor. 392 3.22 35.75 25.83
Nacho Cheese Nacho cheese is a liquid cheese, often taken over nacho chips, with a cheddar-based flavor. 319 5 2 32
Cheese curds Cheese curds are Midwestern, United States delicacies, made from soured milk. They squeak when eaten. 302 3.83 25.96 20. 3

How Much Cheese?

cut cheese wheel

Americans love their cheese—plain, in a nice cheese basket; melted in a luxurious cheese soup or on a grilled cheese sandwich; tart or creamy on a wine and cheese platter.

And, according to this study, Americans are eating about three times as much cheese as they did in the 1970s. That means that in the 1970s, Americans ate about eight pounds of cheese per year, per person. Nowadays, that number has skyrocketed to 23 pounds per year.

Of course, this number is partially thanks to fast food companies, who sneak a slice of cheese into just about everything. Think about it: something can be too sweet, too spicy, too salty, too everything— everything except for too cheesy.

And now: in this age of craft-everything, cheesemongers are making cheese a refined, elevated experience in America once more—offering local brands to retailers everywhere, made from smaller-sized and easily-managed farms.

Living the Wine and Cheese Life

wine and cheese party

Wine and cheese are ageless companions, like aspirin and ahes, or June and moon, or good people and noble ventures
-- M.F.K. Fisher

What's the deal with pairing wine and cheese? Wine elevates the intensity of your cheese-eating experience, and it’s essential to choose a wine that complements, rather than complicates, the flavor of your chosen cheese. This, as you can imagine, can get complicated.

Think about the tannins. When pairing red wines, know that the tannins actually bind to the fat and protein, which actually negatively influences the flavor of some younger wines. Thusly: serve red wines with richer, older cheeses.

Think sweet wines for very salty cheeses. For wines like feta, Gouda, or blue cheese, consider a sweet wine. After all: Americans love the sweet and salty combination.

Consider regions. When choosing wine and cheese pairings, it’s essential to note the region in which the grapes—and the cheeses—were grown and made. For example, the Loire valley’s goat cheese pairs really well with a Loire Sancerre. Spain’s Manchego pairs well with Spanish Sherry and buxom.

different cheese types

For more specific pairing suggestions and tips read on below:

  • Blue Cheese: This moldy, veined cheese has an intense flavor that is best-paired with dessert wines, like Porto or fruity California Zinfandels.

  • Brie: This soft, creamy cheese is best-paired with sparkling wine and champagne.

  • Goat Cheese: This soft and tangy cheese is best paired with a Sauvignon Blanc or a Sancerre.

  • Aged Monterey Jack: This nutty California cheese made from cow’s milk is best paired with a Merlot or a Cabernet Sauvignon.

  • Muenster: This French cheese is best-paired with a spiced white wine, like Gewürztraminer.

  • Parmesan: Italian Parmesan cheese is best paired with a high-quality red, like a Brunello di Montalcino or a Chianti.

  • Roquefort: Often paired with a sweet Bordeaux wine, like Sauternes, or a Rhone Valley red wine. 
  • Edam: Semi-hard Edam pairs well with a white Bordeaux or a Chardonnay.

  • Harvarti: Pairs well with a Tawny Port, a Champagne, or an off-dry Riesling.

  • Gouda: Try a sweet Riesling, an aged Bordeaux, or a Petite Sirah.

Out of Milk app and website help you find the best deals and savings on your favorite cheeses from the stores you already shop.