Doesn’t cheese just make everything taste better? With over a thousand different types—and origins predating recorded history—it’s one of the kitchen staples most of us can’t get enough of. If you share our passion for some oozy goodness, take a look at our list for a selection of popular cheese classics from various cuisines around the world.
Let’s start with the basics. The grilled cheese sandwich is one of the most versatile recipes out there: just grab two slices of your favorite toast, throw any kind of melting cheese in between, and grill it or toast it! If you’re feeling wild, go ahead and top it with a layer of butter, blend different kinds of cheese, or add some deli meats inside—perfect for breakfast, lunch, snacks, midnight cravings; pretty much anytime you want a quick cheesy fix!
It would be unfair not to list Canada’s contribution to the cheese dish repertoire. Poutine is as Canadian as the maple leaf, and it’s a symbol of the Québécois culture! So whether you’re feeling patriotic or just hungry for some comfort food, a traditional poutine with crispy fries, fresh cheese curds and rich gravy is your best bet.
Switzerland’s gift to the world, fondue is a classic when it comes to indulging in cheese heaven. Typically prepared with types of Gruyere, Emmental and Vacherin, fondue comes with its own set of caquelon and long forks to dip cubes of crispy bread in the melted cheese. The communal way of eating it can add to the atmosphere of your wine parties, and the thin, toasted crust at the bottom of the pot marks the perfect ending to this shared gourmet experience.
Cheese is an indispensable part of the Mexican cuisine, as well. You can find it melted, grated, crumbled and sprinkled in their delectable tacos, enchiladas, frijoles and many other iconic dishes. But in a cheese lover’s heart, a basic quesadilla holds a special place. Whenever you’re feeling like having a fiesta, grab your corn tortillas, fill them up with some Oaxaca cheese, and cook them on a smooth, flat griddle. Prepare some salsa and guacamole on the side, and you’re good to go!
For cheese enthusiasts, this popular Indian dish is a great alternative to the meat-based tikka recipes. It’s prepared by marinating chunks of fresh paneer cheese in spices and arranging them on skewers with peppers, onions and tomatoes, before grilling them in a traditional tandoor oven. You can try your luck with adapted recipes for regular home ovens, or order food online if you crave for the real deal. In any case, Paneer Tikka is sure to brighten your day with its crispy but tender texture and its amazing flavor, especially when paired with some delicious mint chutney.
Börek, or sometimes Burek, is the family name of a number of pastries commonly served in Mediterranean, Eastern European and Central Asian countries. Its basic ingredients are yufka (a type of handmade phyllo dough) and cheese, but it comes with countless varieties featuring beef, chicken, veggies, and sometimes even custard or sugar. The most well-known kind of börek though—a cheese pie baked with feta, eggs, oil, cream or milk—is a promising comfort food option for all the cheese lovers out there.
Cheese doesn’t always come in savory dishes or pies, and we couldn’t be happier about it! If you happen to have a sweet tooth, you can go classic with a freshly baked cheesecake or a cheese curd tart, or take it up a notch and explore the sugary world of Sicilian cannoli, ricotta mousse, mascarpone brownies, cream cheese sorbet, or baked camembert with fruits.
The world of cheese is such a wide one that it boasts its own subculture, experts and scientific research. It’s a well-recognized passion, too; June 4th is celebrated as World Cheese Day, and the U.S.A has its very own annual National Cheese Lovers Day on January 20th. So if you’re a proud cheeseaholic yourself, it’s a good idea to explore what different cuisines have to offer—we promise you’ll like what you find!