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Ask the Monger: What Are Some Tips for Buying Cheese at a Grocery Store?


What are some tips for buying cheese at a grocery store?


Good question! Cheese can be a fairly pricey ingredient, so you want to make sure it will be worth it once you get it home. Since it can be hard to tell how long a cheese has been sitting in the grocery store display, what you want to search for are the cheeses that look fresh: That means there should be no heavy discoloration on the rind or the inside of the cheese, or signs of new mold growth if it is a piece that was cut and wrapped in-store. You can also look on the back of the cheese where there should be a date stating when the cheese was cut–don’t buy anything that is more than a week past that date.

If you are buying a soft cheese like a little wheel of brie and you want it to be oozy, give it a little squeeze on its sides: the squeeze test! This technique will let you know if the insides are soft and ripe, or if they are still firm.

When it comes to deciding how much cheese to buy, only buy as much as you think you will need for a week at most; that way you will always eat fresh cheese. My last tip is to always try one new cheese–you never know if you are about to discover a new favorite!


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Erin Harris

Erin Harris is a classically trained chef who spent time living and working in Italy early in her career. After years of being an enthusiast of fine cheese, Erin studied and trained to become a Certified Cheese Professional through the ACS. Combining her passion for fine food and cheese, today Erin is a cheesemonger and a freelance recipe developer and consultant. In her free time, Erin can be found traveling in search of her next cultural adventure.

3 thoughts on “Ask the Monger: What Are Some Tips for Buying Cheese at a Grocery Store?”

  1. Avatar T. Beaty says:

    I clicked on this link and felt the same, so I’ll throw out my answer: I already love cheese, so the tips here are sort of basic. You’re trying to appeal to cheese lovers already so the level of Q&A should be a little more than the basic. For me, what would be more interesting is to talk about cheeses that I might not know but are generally available, some substitute cheeses that might be found (for instance, if I’m looking for a recipe that calls for pecorino, could I use parmeggiano), how to build a good cheese plate from easily sourced cheeses.

  2. Avatar Allison Kelsey says:

    this Q & A was pretty slim. why did I bother clicking?

    1. Avatar Erika Kubick says:

      Hi Allison! Thanks so much for your feedback. We’d love to know what else you’re curious about to help us better flush out this answer. What do you feel is missing? Let us know!

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