National Cheese Day was June 4, so get ready to appreciate one of the world’s most beloved foods!

Cheese is a dairy delight that is in every culture. Archaeological digs and groups have evidence of cheese production from Poland to Egypt in ancient times. Mozzarella, which started around Naples, Italy is the most popular cheese, but there are thousands to choose from. Cheese can be hard or soft, spicy or bland, liquid or solid, or vary from savory to sweet. It is the favorite ingredient in some of the most mouth watering dishes such as pizza, grilled cheese, cheeseburgers, mac n cheese, omelets, Philly cheesesteaks, French onion soup, quesadillas, and cheesecake.

While the United States is the top producer of cheese in the world, plenty of other countries have decadent dairy dishes that use their own cheeses. Our cheddar does go great on just about anything!

Germany is known for its Bavarian Swiss-like cheese, Allgau Emmental. With its nutty buttery flavor, it goes great in Spaetzle! Italy uses mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta, and gorgonzola in its famous Pizza ai quattro formaggi. Canadians use cheese curds on their classic poutines.

The French and cheese are kindred spirits! Tarte Au Maroilles, which is made with Maroilles cheese, is an easy dish to dive into. Truffade is a potent potato pancake that has Gruyere as a key ingredient. I say it is therapy on a fork for those that need comfort. French Fondue, made with Beaufort, Gruyere, Compte, and Emmental is divine dairy! Rich, creamy, silky, and fragrant, this cheese dish is served with bread, meats, and veggies. One could just enjoy the mix by the spoonful though! 

The Greeks have their own love affair with cheese. They make Tirokroketes with feta, gouda, and Graviera. These fried cheese balls are an outstanding appetizer. Spanakopita and tiropita both use feta with tiropita using Kefalotiri too. Both are vegetarian phyllo filled pies that can be used as a light main course or savory starter. Tirenia, which is a cheese pie, uses Kimolian manouri for flavor. It is a dish one can prepare the day before. Manouri is a Greek cheese that is a must try!

Cross the border to South America and try Sopa Paraguaya from Paraguay. This is not a soup, but a corn bread based national dish with queso paraguayo in it. Mote de Queso is a soup from Colombia with Costeno cheese. If you love to grill, then try putting Provoleta cheese on the BBQ from Argentina. It slices beautifully and can be used throughout a meal. 

Some ideas to celebrate this delicious day:

  • Make a charcuterie board to sample several new cheeses with friends and family
  • Add a new cheese to each of your meals 
  • Go to class or watch one online to learn more about cooking with cheese
  • Ask your friends to do a Zoom food fun party with you. Each person adds the name of a cheese that the participants must purchase. When everyone is together, you each taste together and discuss the flavors.

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