Cheese spread is perhaps the first cheese we know and remember growing up, and among the many kinds of cheese spread found all around the world from requeijão cheese in Brazil to Obatzda in Germany, the first we know is probably that yellow-orange goo in a glass bottle or plastic tub, a processed affordable cheese spread made for mass consumption to fulfill a very basic need among consumers, which is to have the taste of cheese in their bread.
Regardless of country and local preference, we cannot deny the fact that cheese spread is an important and constant item on the grocery list. It is delicious, healthy, convenient to eat, and many kinds of cheese spreads are affordable.
Cheese Spread Trivia
- The word “almogrote,” which refers to a cheese spread from the Canary Islands, is believed to have been derived from the Arabic term al mojrot, which means cheese sauce.
- Cold pack cheese is an invention of a Wisconsin tavern owner.
- Philadelphia Cream Cheese was not invented in Philadelphia, but in New York, in 1872.
- The best farmers cheese is a warm farmers cheese because this makes it easy to spread.
- Which cheese spread is the oldest? Moretum can stake a claim. Ancient Romans had this herb cheese spread they eat along with bread.
- Pimento cheese is an important part of the diet of World War I soldiers.
Cheese Spread Buying Guide
The first thing about buying cheese spreads is knowing different kinds of cheese spreads.
- Almogrote – described as a cheese pate made from goat cheese, pepper, oil, and tomato. This kind of cheese spread originates from La Gomera in the Canary Islands.
- Beer cheese – This is made from cheese (processed cheese or sharp cheddar cheese), beer, garlic, dry mustard, horseradish, and cayenne pepper. Beer cheese originated from Kentucky.
- Benedictine – This is also called Benedictine spread originating from Louisville, Kentucky, and created by Jennie Carter Benedict. The ingredients include cucumbers, cream cheese, onion, cayenne pepper, and salt.
- Brie spread – Brie is a cheese from the town of Seine-et-Marne in France.
- Cold pack cheese – This is also known as club cheese or crock cheese. This originated from Wisconsin and is made of cheese, spices, fruits, vegetables, and even nuts.
- Cream cheese –
- Creole cream cheese spread – Creole cream cheese is a heritage food in New Orleans and you can buy Creole cream cheese spread in a tub in the grocery or supermarket.
- Cup cheese – This is brought to the US by the Mennonites and Amish who established the Pennsylvania Dutch settlement in the US during the late 17th century.
- Farmers Cheese – This pressed cottage cheese is also called farmer’s cheese or farmers’ cheese. Rennet and a bacterial starter are added to coagulate and acidify milk from cows, sheep, or goats.
- Requeijão cheese – You’ll find this cheese spread if you are in Brazil or if you are doing your grocery shopping in a specialty store selling authentic Brazilian food. They use cow’s milk or goat’s milk to make this cheese spread.
- Fromage blanc – This is a creamy soft cheese made using either whole milk or skimmed milk, and cream. A real fromage blanc is fat-free but because the cream is added for flavor, the fat content increases. The French name translates to “white cheese.” This cheese spread is also known as maquée, originating from the north of France and the south of Belgium. You can eat fromage blanc like eating yogurt. It is great with fruit, spread on bread alongside jam, or even when used for savory dishes.
- Fromage frais – This is another cheese from France. This is different from fromage blanc because fromage frais contains live cultures when sold, and in the case of fromage blanc, the process of fermentation has been halted.
- Fromage fort – This is made by blending pieces of different leftover cheeses along with white wine, garlic, herbs, pepper, and leek broth. It is not uncommon to find small quantities of blue cheese in fromage fort. Other types of cheese used in fromage fort include camembert, brie, Swiss cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and goat milk cheese.
- Obatzda – This cheese spread, also spelled obazda, came from Bavaria in Germany. This cheese spread is made using Camembert (or Romadur), butter, paprika powder, salt, pepper, beer, onions, garlic, horseradish, cloves, caraway seeds, and cream (or cream cheese). Obatzda is usually spread on bread or pretzels. It is one of the common Bavarian biergarten foods. Obatzda earned the PGI certification in 2015 within the EU.
- Liptauer – This spicy cheese spread is made from sheep’s milk cheese, goat’s milk cheese, quark, or cottage cheese. Liptauer is considered part of the regional cuisines of Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Albania, in the province of Trieste in Italy, and Transylvania, Romania. To make liptauer, you will need a spreadable white cheese, like quark or the sheep milk cheese bryndza cottage cheese, or goat cheese. You will also need chives, paprika, sour cream, butter or margarine, finely chopped onions, fresh parsley, whole (or ground) caraway seeds, prepared mustard, Worcestershire sauce, capers, anchovy paste, and sometimes, beer too. Liptauer is commonly spread on rye bread, pumpernickel toast, bagels, and crackers. This is great to have along with beer or wine. Liptauer is also used on cold dishes like stuffed tomatoes. In Austria, liptauer is ubiquitous in wine-drinking taverns.
- Moretum – This herb cheese spread was part of the diet of the Ancient Romans. Moretum is made of herbs, fresh cheese, salt, oil, and vinegar. All the ingredients are crushed together in a mortar.
- Pimento – Known as the “pâté of the south”, “the caviar of the South”, and the “Carolina caviar”, this cheese spread originated from American southern cuisine. Pimento is made using cheese (sharp cheddar cheese or processed cheese like Velveeta or American cheese), mayonnaise, and pimentos. You’ll encounter a pimento cheese spread that contains horseradish, cream cheese, salt and pepper, Louisiana-style hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, paprika, jalapeños, onions, garlic, and dill pickles, depending on where this cheese spread is being made. The pimento cheese spread is used on bread, crackers, hotdog, hamburgers, and sandwiches, chips, and even on vegetables like celery.
- Port wine cheese – This cheese spread is orange or red. As the name suggests, alcoholic port wine is one of the ingredients in making this kind of cheese spread.
- Pub cheese – An important part in the making of this kind of cheese spread is the use of smoked cheeses or liquid smoke. This is a bar snack commonly found in the United States. It is common for bars, breweries, and restaurants to make their version of pub cheese which they serve their customers.
- Tirokafteri – This cheese spread is made from feta cheese combined with one or more other types of soft, white cheeses, peppers, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, yogurt, and oregano. Tirokafteri is also known as Ktipiti. This cheese spread is from Greece. It is common to find this kind of cheese spread on a mezze platter. Greeks eat this with pita bread.
- Primost – Some people simply call this cheese spread prim. Some call it mysost. Primost originates from Norway. This is made from cow’s milk. The cream is later added to the process. The resulting finished product is slightly brown.
Besides familiarizing yourself with different kinds of cheese spread, consider other buying tips as well. Opt for a small quantity when buying cheese spread you haven’t tried yet. Cheese is delicious but each kind of cheese spread carries its unique flavor profile and you may end up not liking every cheese spread. It helps if you can ask family or friends for recommendations. You can also read the reviews, especially those written by chefs and cheese connoisseurs. When you are at the store, check the cheese spread for any signs of tampering, damage, or quality issues. Avoid buying cheese spreads with damaged packaging. Read the expiration or best before date so that you have an idea how long you can keep the cheese spread in the refrigerator before you have to throw it out and buy another.
Cheese Spread Production & Farming in Texas
Cheesemaking is a big industry in Texas, mainly because the Lone Star State is a major agricultural state with many ranch owners that raise cattle and goats. Buying Texas-made cheese spreads is easy because many local businesses offer this product. Mozzarella Company, from Dallas, Texas, has a whole line of spreadable cheese. River Whey Creamery, located in Schertz, Texas, makes several spreadable cheese products like Mascarpone and Garden Crisp, and seasonal spreads like St. Clements and Cranberry Frost. Pacific Cheese Co Inc., in Amarillo, Texas, makes fresh, soft, spreadable cheeses like Ricotta, fresh mozzarella, and cream cheese. CKC Farms (Blanco, Texas) and Pure Luck Dairy (Dripping Springs, Texas) both make spreadable chevre (fresh goat cheese). Other cheesemakers that make spreadable cheese include Great Lakes Cheese in Abilene, Texas, and Cheesemakers Inc. in Cleveland, Texas. You can also buy from Texas specialty stores like Houston Dairymaids and Antonelli’s Cheese Shop in Austin, Texas.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
Cheese spreads may contain any of the following additives and artificial ingredients.
- Artificial color
- Yellow 5 Tartrazine
- Yellow 6 Sunset Yellow
- Food preservatives
- Sorbic acid
- Benzoic acid
- Propionic acid
- Nitrite and nitrate
- Potassium phosphate
- Food stabilizers
- Carrageenan (thickening agent
- Xanthan gum
Cheese spread is a type of food that is found all over the world, with origins found in Europe and America. We know of almogrote originating from La Gomera in the Canary Islands, tirokafteri from Greece, requeijão from Minas Gerais in Brazil, obatzda from Bavaria, Germany, liptauer from different countries in Europe (Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Trieste in Italy, and Transylvania in Romania), and primost from Norway. France gave us fromage fort, fromage blanc, cervelle de canut (from Lyon), and brie (from Seine-et-Marne). Even the Ancient Romans gave us cheese spread in moretum. The US is credited for different kinds of cheese spreads like pub cheese, port wine cheese, and farmer cheese. Pimento cheese is from the American south, while cup cheese is from the US’ Pennsylvania Dutch. Creole cream cheese came from New Orleans, cream cheese from New York, cold pack cheese(or club cheese, crock cheese) from Wisconsin, Benedictine spread from Louisville, Kentucky, and beer cheese, which is also from Kentucky.
Cheese spreads are sold in tubs and glass jars. Cheese spreads are also sold in a refill pack with a dispenser, making it easy to use, portable, disposable, and cheaper. Other cheese spreads have special or distinct packaging. For example, you could find liptauer sold in a small tin foil pack.
Enjoying Cheese Spreads
You eat cheese spread in many different ways. You spread it on bread, crackers, pastry, or baked goods. You use it as a dip for nachos, chips, french fries, or any fried and/or crispy food, including vegetables like fried eggplant chips. You use it as a condiment for hamburgers, hotdogs, and sandwiches. Cheese spread is very versatile. The only limitation is what your body can and cannot tolerate in terms of cheese and other ingredients involved in making cheese spread. If you are lactose intolerant or if you have a condition that makes eating dairy products ill-advised, it will be difficult for you to enjoy cheese spread.
Cheese spread tastes great with a lot of different foods and different flavor profiles. goes well with bacon, pimiento, walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest, herbs,
Some versions of moretum include nuts. This is important information especially for consumers who are allergic to nuts.
Here are four things to remember when storing cheese spread:
- Keep it refrigerated. Not just anywhere in the refrigerator. Choose the compartment or crisper because here, the cheese spread will be able to avoid drying out.
- Store it in a food container with a lid and always keep the lid closed whenever it is inside the refrigerator.
- Do not put them near foods with a strong odor. If you do, expect your cheese spread to absorb the smell. When that happens, the cheese spread will not only smell bad, it will also taste bad.
- Always check on the cheese spread. If it is past its expiration day or if it starts to smell bad or if it is showing molds or anything to suggest that it is not safe to eat anymore, throw it away.
Make cervelle de canut at home
There are many different kinds of cheese spreads made all over the world, and these are all sold in stores and available as ready-to-eat food that does not require cooking. Perhaps the only one you have to make from scratch is the cheese spread known as cervelle de canut. This is a specialty of Lyon, France. This cheese spread is made using fromage frais or fromage blanc, herbs, shallots, salt, pepper, olive oil, and vinegar.
It is a great dip for homemade vegetable chips, breadsticks, potatoes, or toasts. The good thing about making cervelle de canut is you don’t need fromage blanc or fromage frais to make one. There is an alternative using an ingredient that is more easily available to many people: Greek yogurt.
Yield: This recipe makes 2 to 3 servings.
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped chervil
- 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped chives
- 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped dill
- 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon leaves
- 1 teaspoon minced shallot
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Step 1. Whisk yogurt until creamy, between 30 to 45 seconds should suffice.
Step 2. Add the remaining ingredients.
Step 3. Use a strainer lined with two layers of cheesecloth for maximum straining. It will take some time to fully strain, so put it in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.
Step 4. Gently remove the cheesecloth and transfer the cheese spread to a serving bowl.