If you're a big fan of Trader Joe's, you probably already know that they have a lot of cheese in more stores. Their surprisingly deep selection ranges from standard artisanal American and English cheddars to imported French delicacies like Délice de Bourgogne — to a pretty impressive assortment of vegan cheeses.
And they’re fairly strong — as TJ’s usually is — in the adventurous/wacky-flavor category. Think Chocolate Cheddar or White Stilton with Mango & Ginger.
But if you haven’t explored the TJ’s cheese aisle yet, we suggest you head there with an open mind and check it out. Besides the low prices, I also love that the offerings are constantly changing, so you never know what you’re going to find. That said, there are a few cheeses that my family consistently loves. These five cheeses stand out for their high-quality, versatility and down-right addictiveness:
Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar
As we’ve noted before, Trader Joe's Unexpected Cheddar ($3.99 for a 7-ounce package) is a knock-it-out-of-park pick for any cheese plate. It has an appealing crumbly texture of a well-aged cheddar and a wildly interesting flavor profile, think super-sharp cheddar meets salty, piquant Reggiano.
Trader Joe’s Comte
Made from raw milk and aged more than 180 days, this A.O.C. (which stands for Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée, a French certification) cheese comes straight from the French Alps. At $10.99 per pound, it's a true workhorse in my household. There’s no danger that this cheese will languish in my refrigerator — if it’s in there, I will eat it. In a grilled cheese or a Croque Monsieur, in fondue, as a snack with a beer, Trader Joe’s Comte is an incredibly easy and versatile cheese, mild enough for the kiddos but savory enough for true queso connoisseurs.
Trader Jose’s Spanish Cheese Tapas Sampler
These 12 triangular slices of three types of Spanish cheese ($3.99 per package) — Iberico, Cabra al Vino and perennial crowd-pleaser manchego — will immediately transport you to Madrid. All you need is a bowl of olives, a bottle of Rioja and your closest girlfriend — and you'll have a great night. By the way, this cute assortment is also perfect for a picnic, lunch in the office or an on-the-go snack.
Trader Joe’s Raspberry Chevre Goat’s Milk Log
Full disclosure: I am not a lover of flavored cheeses. I initially bought Trader Joe’s Raspberry Chevre Goat’s Milk Log ($2.99 for a 5-ounce log) for my seven-year-old thinking she’d love it. But this super-cheap chevre balances sweet, tangy and creamy so beautifully that it caught me off-guard. Now I buy it for me, I mean, us. Enjoy it with your favorite store-bought or homemade crackers.
Trader Joe’s Cave-Aged Blue Cheese
TJ’s well-priced raw-milk blue ($6.99 per pound) is aged more than 60 days and hits all the right notes for blue cheese lovers: grassy, salty, rich, and so, so luscious. Toss it in a salad, melt it on a burger or make a super blue cheese dressing.