- Five new cheese trends making Australia grate again
If there's one Christmas party platter constant, it's cheese. Maybe Jatz, too, but always cheese. Ideally, you want to source your brie and blue from a fromagerie or delicatessen. Somewhere you can chat to staff, try a few things and know you're taking home quality gear.
However, there's a world of cheese choice in major supermarkets now, including imported French and Italian numbers. Is it possible to buy great cheese from a checkout? We thought it would be fun to taste test a few, so when you're doing that big Christmas grocery shop, you can have a better idea of what's worth putting on a biscuit and what to avoid.
The cheese team. From left: James Foley, restaurant manager Gerard's Bistro, Bonnie Shearston, restaurateur, Graham Redhead, cheesemaker and Ben Williamson, executive chef Gerard's Bistro. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams
Grahame Redhead – a professional cheesemaker and cheese judge, Redhead runs intensive two-day cheesemaking courses in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. (Check out cheesemaking.com.au if you're keen.)
Ben Williamson – executive chef of Brisbane's two-hatted Gerard's Bistro and Brisbane Times 2017 Good Food Guide Citi Chef of the Year.
James Foley – restaurant manager and top wine bloke at Gerard's Bistro.
Bonnie Shearston – restaurateur and cheese obsessive behind award-winning Brisbane venues such as Coppa Spuntino, Public, London Fields and Red Hook. "I love cheese almost more than life itself."
I bought a sample of cheeses across different styles and price points at Woolworths, Coles and Aldi. The panel tasted each cheese blind and scored it out of 20 for colour, smell, texture, appearance and, above all, taste. Scores were combined and rounded up to a value out 100.
You will now receive updates from Good Food - Newsletter
Good Food - Newsletter
Get the latest news and updates emailed straight to your inbox.
Tarago River Cheese Company Shadows of Blue $6.67 per 100g
Cow's milk double-cream blue vein out of Gippsland. Aged for up to three months and wrapped in natural bee's wax. Sometimes described as "the brie eater's blue".
Foley: It's delicious. I really like it.
Williamson: Yeah, me too. It's super creamy. An entry-level blue.
Redhead: There's a lovely contrast between the blue and the brie elements.
Best with: A clean, crisp, slightly tart cider
Meredith Dairy Plain Goat Cheese, $5.99 per 100g
Fresh, milky, snow white chevre (goat's cheese) from Meredith, Victoria.
Foley: Phwoar, yeah. I love that texture. So light.
Shearston: For goat's cheese, it's not too goaty. Some of them taste like you're licking the barnyard floor.
Best with: Great by itself but you could also throw it in a piping bag and do some cool stuff over beetroots and walnuts.
Available: Coles and Woolworths
Castello Creamy White, $3.99 per 100g
A soft white cow's milk with the slightest hint of funk from a Danish company more than a century old.
Williamson: It's almost like a really light washed-rind flavour.
Shearston: I love it.
Foley: Yeah, there's a really nice sourness to it.
Best with: Riesling on a verandah.
Available: Coles and Woolworths
James Foley and Bonnie Shearston on the cheese train at Gerard's Bar & Charcuterie, Brisbane. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams
Le Secret de Scey, $5.80 per 100g
More or less the poor cousin of comte, and made in the same region of France. A cow's milk semi-hard with a natural brine washed rind that's almost exactly the same as morbier cheese. When the Appellation d'Origine Controlee (AOC) decreed morbier must be made with raw milk only, this pasteurised sibling was born.
Redhead: It has a depth of flavour most of the other cheeses today don't.
Best with: Dry sherry and muscatels.
Emporium Selection Cabra Goat's Milk Cheese, $2.66 per 100g
Looks very similar to manchego, but this Spanish cheese is made from goat's milk, not sheep's.
Williamson: The acidity is right and there's a nice level of saltiness.
Redhead: It's a good honest cheese. There's nothing outstanding about it but there's nothing bad either.
Best with: A cold can of easy-drinking ale.
Fromager d'Affinois, $6.90 per 100g
Cow's milk double-cream soft cheese from France that's so creamy it will practically turn into puddle if left out too long.
Shearston: It's not very challenging. It's creamy, it's soft, there's a bit of bite, but nothing that makes you say "wow". A good cheese if you're not that into cheese.
Redhead: There's no defects but there's nothing outstanding either. It's just a good, pleasant cheese.
Best with: A slice of nice, crusty sourdough.
B.-d. Farm Paris Creek French Style Double Brie, $3.02 per 100g
Biodynamic and organic brie from South Australia. The wheel is almost as tall as it is wide.
Foley: There's great flavour close to the rind. Sourness. Acidity. But then you've got this chalky centre, which is quite flat.
Williamson: Yeah, I love that creamy part near the rind. There's lactic acid, but it's also quite sweet. Not keen on that centre at all.
Shearston: No. And that centre is the majority of the cheese.
Best with: Quince paste and crackers.
A selection of the supermarket cheese tasted at Gerard's Bar & Charcuterie, Brisbane. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams
Jindi Camembert, $3 per 100g
Oozy, buttery cow's milk cheese from Gippsland. Something of an Australian classic.
Williamson: I like it. Really nice and ripe. There's freshness and milk flavour to it.
Redhead: Out of all the white cheeses we've had, this one is the most developed in flavour.
Best with: A light Tassie pinot noir.
Available: Coles and Woolworths
Coles Triple Cream Brie, $2.50 per 100g
The supermarket's house-brand Australian-made cow's milk brie. Have to give Coles credit for displaying the optional "one star" health rating on the label. (That's one star out of a possible five, by the way.)
Shearston: It's very salty, but I like the rind on it. It has a nice crunch.
Redhead: There's a nice flavour here, but it's dominated by too much salt.
Best with: An unapologetically silly sparkling red on Christmas morning.
What looks like a washed rind doesn't always taste like a washed rind. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams
Emporium Selection Australian Washed Rind, $3.19 per 100g
A molten French cheese you can smell from six feet away.
Williamson: That's f--king disappointing. It doesn't taste like washed rind! It's not strong enough.
Redhead: That's where Australia is at right now though. There's only a small percentage of people who want that smelly, rotten socks flavour with their cheese.
Williamson: If I had a blindfold on, I wouldn't pick that as a washed rind.
Redhead: You're absolutely right. There's no washed rind flavour. I suspect they may have used annatto, an orange dye, on the outside of the cheese to make it look like a washed rind.
Best with: Your second favourite beer and third favourite relative.
Tasmanian Heritage Triple Cream Brie, $3.99 per 100g
The oval-shaped Tassie cow's milk soft white is richer and more developed than its late '90s packaging suggests.
Foley: Look, it's fine. Bring it out at Christmas and no one's complaining, although I do find the rind is too thick.
Best with: Office Christmas parties and prosecco.
Available: Coles and Woolworths
Emporium Double Cream Camembert, $2.25 per 100g
Australian-made in Gippsland with bright, white rind. Not the softest camembert you'll ever encounter.
Foley: It's a crowd-pleasing cheese. It's not an offensive cheese.
Shearston: I just feel that if I ate it, I'd be like "why did I waste a wheel of calories on that?".
Williamson: Yeah, you certainly wouldn't bother trying to wine match with it.
Best with: Healthy slices of green apple and pear.
Emporium Selection English Blue Stilton, $2.98 per 100g
Made in England, this blue is lovely to look at with its mouldy, sexy rind. It's a shame it tastes so bland.
Shearston: The texture's quite nice and there's a good level of mould spread throughout it. It's not too punchy and would suit someone who's not a big blue cheese eater.
Williamson: That acidity is quite volatile too.
Best with: A sipper of port on Christmas Eve (not the nice tawny though).
King Island Dairy Phoques Cove Camembert, $6 per 100g
Named after a cove on King Island's north-west tip, this nutty Tasmanian camembert has an attractive white mould that looks swell on any plate.
Redhead: You can tell by the yellow-ish centre, this is made from the milk of a jersey cow.
Foley: It's pretty boring. I don't mind the soft texture, but there's not much else to it.
Best with: Inexpensive rosé and an aunt you haven't seen for a while.
Available: Coles and Woolworths.
Emporium Selection Aged Cheddar Cheese 20 Month, $1.60 per 100g
A pale yellow brick that holds its shape. Made from the milk of Australian cow's milk and aged for 20 months.
Williamson: It's sharper than most of the other cheddars.
Foley: It's not changing any lives though, is it?
Best with: A blended scotch whisky like Johnnie Walker Black.
Cracker Barrel Gold Release Cheddar, $3.30 per 100g
Deep yellow and aged for more than 40 months. These days, Cracker Barrel is made in Australia by Warrnambool Cheese and Butter (majority-owned by Saputo, a big Canadian dairy company).
Redhead: Out of all the cheddars, I personally think this is the best one.
Williamson: It's bloody sharp, I'll give it that.
Best with: A big oaky chardonnay.
Available: Coles and Woolworths
Woolworths Gold English Blue Stilton, $5.33 per 100g
Like all cheeses carrying the name Stilton must be, Woolworths' home-brand blue is made in England. This guy is very crumbly.
Williamson: What is this? The club cheddar of blues?
Redhead: I don't rate either of the Stiltons we've had today.
Shearston: That pasty texture. Ugh.
Best with: Celery sticks nicked from the dip platter.
Grahame Redhead explains why club cheddar is cheating. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams
Mon Pere Brie, $4.80 per 100g
A classic double-cream French brie sold in wedges the size of door stoppers.
Shearston. I do not like this. That rind is overpowering and bitter.
Redhead: Whereas the other white cheeses are very milky, this has an earthy, unclean, farmyard flavour.
Best with: Neighbours you don't particularly care for.
Available: Coles and Woolworths
Miguel Maestre Murcia Wine Cured Goat Cheese, $7.33 per 100g
The Spanish-Australian celebrity chef has a range of cheese to call his own. They're all imported from Spain and this soft, light goat's cheese is washed in red wine during maturation.
Williamson: It smells like grape must.
Foley: You'd want this to be chalkier. It's too fatty.
Best with: A tinnie of Moritz lager.
Coles Australian Vintage Cheddar – Strength 5, $1.60 per 100g
Australian-made "vintage-strength" cheddar native to family fridges across the country. Easy to slice.
Redhead: It's good for a kid's school lunch. That's about it.
Best with: Carrot sticks and sultanas.
South Cape Vintage Club Cheddar, $4.29 per 100g
Club cheddar is made by putting cheddar through a mincing machine or blender. It's then pressed to come out square-looking, but has a super crumbly texture. South Cape's vintage version is aged for a minimum of 12 months.
Shearston: I'm not a fan of cheddars being slightly creamy like this is.
Foley: No, it's too rich. It needs to be sharper.
Best with: Two bottles of wine under your belt on Boxing Day.
Available: Coles and Woolworths
Margaret River Dairy Company Club Cheddar, $4.10 per 100g
A chunky punk of wax-sealed cheddar from Western Australian. Looks fancier than it tastes.
Redhead: It's got that soft, mealy texture you associate with club cheddar. A wax seal means the cheese hasn't had the chance to breathe.
Foley: Yeah, it's not much chop. I think we can all agree club cheddars are bad news.
Best with: Cabanossi and Ritz crackers.
Mersey Valley Ploughmans Club Cheddar, $3.17 per 100g
Onions have been used to flavour the Tasmanian company's "ploughman's" club cheddar, which is meant to be eaten with pickles and ham.
Williamson: This one smells like that corner of your cupboard where an onion's gone wrong.
Shearston: It's horrible. Absolutely disgusting.
Best with: Your drunk uncle in the corner.
Available: Coles and Woolworths
A big thanks to Gerard's Bar & Charcuterie in Brisbane for letting me slice supermarket cheddar on the counter.
How can you tell if cheese is good quality? ›
Other than the texture, good quality cheese does not have unpleasant smell, or sometimes has a distinct milk aroma. However, if cheese begins to have rancid aroma, you can be certain that the cheese has gone bad. Good quality cheese can be identified from its texture, i.e. elastic when pressed.What cheese is not processed cheese? ›
Popular types of natural cheeses include unripened (e. g., cottage cheese, cream cheese), soft (e. g., Brie, Camembert), semi-hard (e. g., Brick, Muenster, Roquefort, Stilton), hard (e. g., Colby, Cheddar), blue veined (e. g., Blue, Gorgonzola), cooked hard cheeses (e. g., Swiss, Parmesan), and pasta filata (stretched ...Where in the grocery store should you buy cheese? ›
Most grocery stores have three distinct cheese sections: the dairy department, the deli section, and a stand-alone case where you can find imported cheeses in pre-cut wedges and chunks (believe it or not, that open case is called a “coffin”).Is Cracker Barrel a good quality cheese? ›
From the United States
It has been a long standing tradition in our family to use crackerbarrel cheese to make mac and cheese casseroles. The brand means quality. A it also makes a delicious cheese sauce on colliflour, the texture and taste is smooth, tangy and creamy. Amazon Fresh rarely has it in stock.
If you're looking for the leanest option, your best bet is fresh cheese. Such unripened cheeses include goat cheese, feta, ricotta and cottage cheese.What cheeses should be avoided? ›
Don't eat mould-ripened soft cheese, such as brie, camembert and chevre (a type of goat's cheese) and others with a similar rind. You should also avoid soft blue-veined cheeses such as Danish blue or gorgonzola. These are made with mould and they can contain listeria, a type of bacteria that can harm your unborn baby.Is Sargento cheese processed? ›
While Pasteurized Process Cheese Food is only required to contain 51% real cheese, Sargento® Slices are always 100% real, natural cheese. Because 100% real, natural cheese saves the sandwich. That's the power of real.What is the number 1 cheese? ›
Judges described the Le Gruyère AOP surchoix, entered by Swiss cheese maker Vorderfultigen and affineur (refiner) Gourmino, as a “really refined, hand-crafted cheese” that melts on the tongue and has notes of herbs, fruits and leather. “A cheese with a lot of taste and bouquet.”What kind of cheese does the government stockpile? ›
In August of last year, the agency announced the Cheese Purchase Program to buy Mozzarella, process and natural American cheddar cheese for the National School Lunch Program and other federal food nutrition assistance programs.What is the #1 cheese in America? ›
Data from a YouGov poll of over 8,000 US adults finds that America's favorite cheese is a classic: cheddar.
Why did they stop making Cracker Barrel cheese? ›
Kraft said it has sold cheese products branded "Cracker Barrel" in grocery stores for nearly 60 years, and that the Lebanon, Tenn. -based restaurant chain's planned move into supermarkets would unfairly infringe on that trademark, according to a federal lawsuit filed Thursday in Chicago.How good is Sargento cheese? ›
Subtle and mellow, yet rich in flavor, Sargento Swiss Ultra-Thin slices have a deep, nutty taste - they stand up well to other sandwich ingredients, but also make for a delicious snack straight out of the package. It also melts perfectly, and does not separate when heated.Is Tillamook cheese real cheese? ›
Well, it is 100% real cheese made with high quality milk and no preservatives. Tillamook has also been using the same recipe for over 100 years, so it is easy to say experience is on their side.What's the healthiest cheese the best options according to experts? ›
Cheeses rich in protein and low in fat, like light Swiss cheese, light cheddar cheese, and ricotta, are best for those considering weight management. A “1:10 ratio of protein to calories” is the best way to determine which cheeses fall into this category, according to Martorano.Is Land O Lakes cheese real cheese? ›
This american cheese is an excellent source of calcium and contains real milk and buttermilk for an extra creamy taste and texture.What cheese is anti inflammatory? ›
Or, consider switching to Swiss cheese; one study found the probiotics in this variety could decrease inflammation.What cheese is hardest to digest? ›
So those with particularly sensitive stomachs will want to avoid creamier varieties such as ricotta or cottage cheese at all costs. Sugar is the primary component of lactose that makes it difficult to digest, which means that aged, hard cheeses—which have a lower sugar content—are easier on the stomach.What is the mildest tasting cheese? ›
Fresh mozzarella: Usually made from cow's milk, fresh mozzarella has a mild, milky flavor and soft texture. It's one of the most popular cheeses come summertime, especially when served with sliced homegrown tomatoes, fresh basil, salt, pepper, and olive oil, a dish also known as Caprese.Is Velveeta real cheese? ›
Originally Velveeta was made from real cheese. Today, it's mainly whey protein concentrate, milk protein concentrate, milk, fat, and preservatives. By the Food and Drug Administration's standards, that's not real cheese—which is why the FDA forced Kraft to change its label from "cheese spread" to "cheese product."Are any cheeses clean eating? ›
For those who can tolerate dairy, cheeses can be a healthy and nutritious source of proteins and healthy fats if consumed in moderation. Cheese is allowed in the clean eating meal plan, but with an asterisk. Processed cheese slices or other packaged foods that contain cheese should be avoided.
What cheese is easiest to digest? ›
Hard, aged cheeses like Swiss, parmesan, and cheddars are lower in lactose. Other low-lactose cheese options include cottage cheese or feta cheese made from goat or sheep's milk.What food Cannot be eaten with cheese? ›
Veer from olive mixes speckled with dried red pepper flakes, really spicy pickled items, spicy meats, hot jellies, mustards, or chutneys, and even crackers with black peppercorns. While delicious, these accompaniments will linger on your palate and hinder your experience of the cheese in its natural state.Is Cracker Barrel cheese processed? ›
Cracker Barrel Cheese Slices Sharp Cheddar Cheese has some nutritional value, is moderately processed, and is estimated to have a very low carbon footprint and a very low water footprint.How can you tell the difference between processed and unprocessed cheese? ›
The major differences between processed and natural cheese are that natural cheeses have the whey (watery part of the milk) pressed out of them, while processed cheese does not; and processed cheese has a longer shelf life as compared to natural cheese.Is Kraft or Sargento cheese better? ›
The emulsifiers allow it to melt easily. Sargento cheese originated in 1949. Sargento doesn't contain as many emulsifiers in it and does not have as much milk fat as Kraft does. This is why many people have better results when melting Kraft rather than Sargento.What is the king of all cheeses? ›
Known as the “King of Cheeses”, Parmesan, or Parmigiano Reggiano was first produced by Benedictine and Cistercian monks a thousand years ago. Over the centuries, it has acquired global prominence and is now a hugely popular choice for food-lovers the world over.Which brand of cheese is best 2022? ›
To crown Le Gruyère AOP surchoix as this year's World Champion Cheese is so well deserved," John Farrand, the managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, which organizes the World Cheese Awards, shared in a statement.Is Great Lakes cheese government cheese? ›
Today, Great Lakes Cheese is a premier manufacturer and packer of natural and processed bulk, shredded, and sliced cheeses and it remains privately owned by the Epprecht family.Does the US government stockpile cheese? ›
After climbing up to 1.52 billion pounds in July, the stockpile settled once again at 1.48 billion pounds at the end of August 2022. Now, the U.S. cheese stockpile weighs more than the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Tower of Pisa, and the Great Sphinx of Giza—combined.Is Velveeta the same as government cheese? ›
What precisely is “government cheese”? Cheese that is included in “commodities” aka the government supplied food items given to poor people also to some Native Americans. It's sort of somewhere between Velveeta and cheddar.
What cheese do Americans eat most? ›
Since 2010, Mozzarella has been the leading cheese variety. Eleven years ago, it accounted for 10.6 of the 33 pounds consumed by Americans. Both measurements have grown in the ensuing years, with Mozzarella sales pushing past 12.3 pounds in 2021.What cheese tastes the most like American? ›
Muenster cheese is the closest in taste to American cheese. And it has a soft and smooth texture that melts very well. You can use Muenster cheese anywhere you would American cheese as a 1-to-1 substitute.What state eats the most cheese? ›
Each State's Favorite Cheese.
Limited. But it's Dairy Crest Limited who can claim not just the warrant, but also Elizabeth's favorite cheese of all: Cathedral City Cheddar (via Food Network).What is the creamiest tasting cheese? ›
Mascarpone. Mascarpone is a thick, soft cheese with a very high fat content. Known for its smooth, creamy to buttery texture and flavor, it can be used in sweet and savory dishes.Which Cracker Barrel cheese is the best? ›
Cheddar Tastes Like Where It's Made
We chose Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese as our winner. It not only melted beautifully but was also the runaway favorite for snacking.
In fact, as it stands today, Cheez-It crackers are the #1 most popular cracker brand sold in America! With over $1.2 Billion in US retail sales, this brand continues to dominate its market year after year! Not to mention, Cheez-It crackers come in Original, Puff'd, Snap's, Grooves, Duoz, and Mixed.
- Alaska. alaska state on map. Despite fans' pleas, there's no Cracker Barrel in the state of Alaska. ...
- Hawaii. hawaii welcome sign. ...
- Vermont. vermont welcome sign. ...
- Washington. washington state welcome sign. ...
- Wyoming. Wyoming welcome sign.
The only evident difference is in different levels of heat treatment, which, as with cheeses, negatively influence the quality. The higher the temperatures, the greater the damage. The highest quality is raw milk, followed by pasteurized, microfiltered, high pasteurized, UHT and then sterilized.What affects cheese quality? ›
For reproducible cheese composition and quality, it is critical to control the rate and extent of syneresis. The cook temperature, pH, curd particle size, and the extent of agitation are characteristic to each variety and were probably introduced/applied empirically long ago by artisanal cheesemakers.
How can you tell if cheddar cheese is good? ›
It must be stored in an unopened package in the coldest part of your refrigerator (below 40 degrees Fahrenheit). Once opened, however, cheddar should generally keep for a few months. Be sure to check for mold, odor, a slimy texture, or sour flavor before digging in. It's always better to be safe than sorry!What should I look for when buying cheese? ›
Look for flavor cues on the package. While not every package has these, those that do will feature words like creamy, soft, tangy, sharp, robust and aged. These are indicators of the style of cheese and its flavor profile.Does the brand of cheese matter? ›
“Everything is inspected and regulated before it gets on the shelf. Those blocks of cheese and butter are all good no matter the label.”What are the 4 characteristics of hard cheese? ›
Cheese: Types of Cheeses – Hard
Because of the long ripening period, hard cheeses have very low water content, develop strong taste and aroma, and are crumbly and dry, making them appropriate for grating.
As a cheese matures, bacteria produce enzymes that break down fats and proteins producing the rich, almost beefy, sharp flavors. Other factors including the starter culture, salt and moisture in the cheese contribute to a Sharp Cheese flavor that intensifies as the cheese ages.What cheese lasts longest unrefrigerated? ›
Soft cheeses such as cream cheese, cottage cheese, shredded cheeses, and goat cheese must be refrigerated for safety. As a general rule, hard cheeses such as cheddar, processed cheeses (American), and both block and grated Parmesan do not require refrigeration for safety, but they will last longer if kept refrigerated.How does Gouda cheese taste? ›
What does gouda taste like? Gouda comes in many different varieties, with lots of different flavor notes. Young gouda, aged just a few weeks, is sweet, mild, and a little fudgy. As gouda ages—months or even years—it develops more caramel notes, nuttiness, and even a little tang.Is cheese good as long as it's not moldy? ›
After opening, you can safely store most soft cheeses in the fridge for at least 7 days and most hard cheeses for 3–4 weeks. Carefully inspect hard cheeses for mold and cut off any spots, but toss soft cheeses and crumbled, shredded, or sliced cheeses (whether hard or soft) if you see mold.What cheese is on recall 2022? ›
On September 30, 2022, Old Europe Cheese, Inc. recalled their brie and camembert cheese. The company has also temporarily stopped producing these cheeses. CDC is advising people not to eat, sell, or serve recalled cheese.What are the top 10 cheeses? ›
- Brie. ...
- Camembert. ...
- Cheddar. ...
- Gouda. ...
- Gruyere. ...
- Mozzarella. ...
- Parmesan. This is a type of cheese which includes several hard and grainy cheeses, such as Parmegiano Reggiano, “the King of Cheeses”, and Grana Padano. ...
- Pecorino. This name denotes all Italian cheeses originally made from sheep's milk.
What are the 4 types of cheeses? ›
Cheeses come in eight varieties including blue, hard, pasta filata, processed, semi-hard, semi-soft, soft and fresh, and soft-ripened.