We know what you’re thinking: a whole month dedicated to American cheese?!
Yes, we’ve all been trained to see the phrase and automatically think of those perfectly square, alarmingly yellow slices of “pasteurized prepared cheese product,” but obviously, there’s a lot more to American cheese than Kraft has led us to believe all these years.
October is American Cheese Month, sponsored by the American Cheese Society, and it’s “a celebration of North America’s delicious and diverse cheeses, and the farmers, cheesemakers, retailers, cheesemongers, and chefs who bring them to your table.”
Also known as an excuse to eat pound after pound of delicious cheese made right here in the States. (And add on that fresh layer of blubber to keep you warm for winter!)
A few of our local (ish) favorites:
Capriole’s Sofia goat cheese (Photo: Capriole)
Made on a farm about 30 minutes from Louisville, Ky., Judy and the Capriole team still manage to make it up to the Green City Market a couple of times a month. Their fresh goat cheese logs and wheels (with or without herbs) are always a hit, but the real star of the show is Sofia, a specialty cheese with ribbons of ash, a silky texture and the prettiest flavor.
The first time we tried Milton’s Prairie Breeze, it knocked our socks off. It looks like a plain block of white cheddar, but it’s crumbly and perfect, with a little sweetness and plenty of tang. It’s great alone or sliced on top of a cheeseburger. (Mmm, cheeseburger.) It’s made in Milton, Iowa, about 300 miles from Chicago, but it’s readily available right in the city.
Prairie Pure Cheese
We stumbled on this almost-truly-local cheese maker’s basil tomato feta crumbles over the summer, and it’s pretty safe to say we’ll be stocking up every time we see it. Made in Belvidere, Ill., all their feta varieties are delicious with pasta, over eggs at breakfast or…by the handful.
Do you have a favorite American cheese? Doesn’t have to be from the Midwest…and it doesn’t have to be artisanal! If Velveeta is your top queso, let that chemical-cheese flag fly, baby!
Tell us yours in the comments or tweet us at @ChiFoodPlanet — and vive le fromage!