National Mac & Cheese Day
There’s nothing like gooey, yummy, melted cheese. Essential for burgers, quesadillas, and of course mac & cheese. Today we are celebrating National Mac & Cheese Day and to do so, we are taking a deeper bite into melted cheese. Let’s break it down.
The science behind how cheese melts
Melted cheese is a science. Cheese is made up of protein and this protein is the key difference between good melting cheese and bad melting cheese. When cheese is heated up, the protein breaks and some hold their shape better than others. For example, younger, high-moisture cheeses like mozzarella, Taleggio, brie, Gruyère, Emmental, and Jack are the most reliable melters. Drier grating cheeses, such as Parmesan and Pecorino-Romano are not.
What are the best cheeses for melting?
The best cheeses for melting are called process cheeses. These products are designed to be easily meltable and difficult to break. Start with real cheese, usually a young cheddar, and blend it with extra milk, extra milk protein, and melting salt to prevent proteins from sticking together. A good example of this is American cheese, where they have so much extra liquid added to them, they have very low melting points, allowing for extra-gooey melted cheese.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are acid-set cheeses. Impossible to melt no matter what type of tweaking you implement. Fresh goat cheese, quick farmers cheese, paneer, queso fresco, and ricotta just can’t melt. When heated, the acid in these cheeses lose water, but not proteins. Water will continue to be cooked off, but the proteins in the curd are only going to tighten, holding the cheese together. These cheeses won’t melt, but you can cook or even grill them!
What are the best cheeses for mac & cheese?
Well, good melters with quality taste, like sharp cheddar. Sharp cheddar is the most common, and it works great, and if you’re using a cheesy blend we recommend cheddar as the base. Now, you get to mix in some fun, flavorful cheeses. Gruyère is common, it melts just as beautifully as cheddar, but brings additional tasty flavors to the table. Gouda, Muenster, fontina, Havarti, and Monterey Jack are also excellent options.
Enjoy National Mac & Cheese Day with a melty, flavorful blend of your own. For whichever cheese you choose to call upon, stop by your local Price Chopper/Market 32 to pick it up or shop with us online!
Celebrate with Cheese Pairings!
For many, cheese is a staple when it comes to celebrating, especially during the holidays. Luckily, our in-store delis provide a plethora of tasty cheeses, perfect for pairing with a relaxing drink. We’ve created a list of some of our favorites, each with their ideal beverage pairings. Try these options below and find your new favorite combination!
Vermont Creamery Honey Goat Log: Vermont Creamery Clover Blossom Honey Goat Cheese takes Vermont’s classic, mild fresh goat cheese and blends it with sweet clover honey. The honey pairs perfectly with the tart creaminess of fresh goat cheese. Try it with Barbera wine, Founders All Day IPA or a Belgian Tripel Beer like Ommegang’s Three Philosophers.
Fleur de Franco Brie: A beautiful wheel of French double cream Brie, Fleur de Franco is pleasantly mild and approachable, yet fully flavored with a buttery interior and soft, fluffy rind. Pair it with a sparkling wine, Chardonnay, or a German pilsner like Saranac Adirondack Lager.
Grafton 2 Year Old Cheddar: Fits the classic profile of a New England Cheddar: buttery notes with a bold, sharp tang and a long, nutty finish. The aroma is lactic and bright, with flavors of sweet cream, freshly mown hay, and tangy, cultured milk. Completed by a moderate acidity. Pair it with balanced, full-bodied wines such as Merlot or White Burgundy, or brews such as Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Brown Ale, Brooklyn Brewing Bel-Air Sour Beer, or even Angry Orchard Hard Cider.
Market 32 American Grana by BelGioioso: Made from freshly gathered local raw milk, this premium American Grana Parmesan cheese is allowed to mature a minimum of 18 months on wooden shelves in special caves. During this process, each wheel is hand-turned to ensure proper aging and development of its deep, nutty flavor and granular texture. Try it with bold Cabernet Sauvignon or a bock beer like Shiner Bock.
BelGioioso Creamy Gorgonzola: Handcrafted and aged 90 days in special caves, master cheesemakers hand-rub each wheel with salt and pierce small holes into the rind of the cheese, allowing air to penetrate and facilitate the growth of beneficial mold. This care and craft creates an exceptionally earthy flavor and creamy texture. Cut right through the thin rind and spread on a baguette. Great when paired with a Harpoon Rec League or other light IPA’s.
Any of these ideas pique your interest? Visit us online or at your local store to find all of these pairing items!