When it comes to gooey hot cheese, there is no such thing as too much, especially when it gets cold outside. Consider the following cookbook titles that have come out in the past year alone—I Heart Cheese: A Cookbook: 60 Ooey, Gooey, Delicious Meals for Serious Cheese Lovers, Melted Cheese: Gloriously gooey recipes, from fondue to grilled cheese & pasta bake to potato gratin and Hot Cheese: Over 50 Gooey, Oozy, Melty Recipes. Published in the Fall and Winter, their releases timed perfectly to coincide with cravings for hot cheese in chill temperatures. And there’s a bevy of reasons for the buzz!
Practically every culture that celebrates cheese also embraces a signature dish focusing on melted cheese, from Swiss fondue to pizza, French onion soup to Mexican queso fundido, and even the Greek saganaki.
“Applying heat to cheese, in my mind, is akin to setting the stage. A pot of fondue begins to bubble; a halved wheel of Raclette starts to blister and caramelize; a baked round of Brie or Camembert puffs up just waiting to unleash its ooze of melty goodness” says Hot Cheese author Polina Chesnakova adding, “You create a moment of suspense that's mesmerizing and exciting—and that's before you even take a bite! Of course, when you do dig in, you're hit with waves of delight and satisfaction that keeps you coming back for more. If you look at it this way, hot cheese is modern-day magic, which is why it appeals to peoples of all ages and walks of life.”
A story in Popular Science attempted to solve the mystery of why melted cheese tastes so good. Their conclusion was that it has to do with mouthfeel. Melted cheese takes on a “creamy texture that people find appealing” says author Daniel Engber, “All the sensations associated with melted cheese—smoothness, gooeyness, and warmth—connote a fatty treat.” Melted cheese doesn’t have to be fatty. A perfect example is the cozy Potato Soup with Pears and Bleu d’Auvergne, just a little crumble of the intense blue cheese adds tons of flavor.
Charles Duque, Managing Director of the French Dairy Board says, “Cheeses like Raclette and Comté are particularly popular in the winter because of how delicious they are when melted.”
Chesnakova recommends Comté frequently in her book Hot Cheese. Comté is made with less salt in large copper kettles. Both the use of salt and choice of kettle enable easy melting and a nutty-sweet flavor. Chesnakova notes, “It's super versatile because it melts beautifully. You can stir it into a gratin or pasta dish; sprinkle it onto tartines and pizzas; use it in a filling to stuff vegetables or meat. You can even bake with it! Fold it into pie dough, scones, and biscuits, or use it to top savory tarts and galettes... And two, it packs a ton of flavor and will make anything you use it in delicious. Depending on how long the cheese is aged, flavor notes can range from buttery and sweet to fruity, spicy, and nutty. You really can't go wrong with Comté.” Duque says other mountain cheeses that are famous for melting include “Gruyere and Emmental, which in addition to Comté are often the main ingredient in fondue recipes.”
In the cooler months, we get hungry after engaging in outdoor activities, such as shoveling snow or ice skating. This winter take a cozy and virtual trip around the world, subbing views of running rivers with flowing cheese. Hot cheese dips, tartines with Camembert and pears, and flatbread with Saint-Nectaire and Raclette are all perfect appetizers or snacks that provide the mouthwatering satisfaction of gooey cheese. For more ideas for delicious dishes to enjoy in cooler temperatures visit cheesesofeurope.com.
About the Cheeses of Europe
The Cheeses of Europe Marketing Campaign, orchestrated by Cniel (The French Dairy Inter-Branch Organization) and funded in part by the European Union, was designed to create awareness for the variety of European cheeses available in the US market and to suggest ways that American consumers can incorporate those cheeses into their diets, recipes and lifestyles. The campaign’s goal is to increase the appeal of European cheeses and strengthen their competitive position in the growing specialty cheese category.
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THE CONTENT OF THIS ADVERTISEMENT REPRESENTS THE AUTHOR’S POINT OF VIEW ONLY AND IS THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE AUTHOR. THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY USE THAT MAY BE MADE OF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED THEREIN.