Raise your hand if you love cheese!
Not only does cheese have a number of purposes in so many great dishes, but the right flavor combination can elevate your charcuterie boards and really impress your guests. There are so many different types of cheese with such diverse flavors that it can be hard to even know where to start, let alone pick a favorite. Luckily, there are several cheese clubs and subscriptions that provide a wide variety of gourmet cheese options for you to try regularly! So, I took some time to help you figure out the Best Cheese Clubs for you!
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What Are the Primary Styles of Cheese?
Depending on who you ask, the amount of different styles of cheese may vary. With this in mind, I focused on the primary styles of cheese that cover a wide range of flavors. According to the experts at castellocheese.com, cheese is divided into different groups “based on how it’s made, appearance, aroma, and taste.” With this in mind, you can recognize and classify cheeses as they fit into these main categories:
Fresh Cheese: This style of cheese requires the least amount of processing as they are made from fresh curds without being pressed of drained. Some of the most common examples of fresh cheese are mozzarella, feta, cottage and cream cheese.
Soft-Ripened or White Mold Cheese: Soft cheeses such as these typically have a soft white rind on the outside and a creamy texture on the inside. This variety of cheese is made by adding white mold to the curds and allowing them to age from the outside in. Brie and Camembert are among the most common examples.
Semi-soft Cheese: Including cheeses like Munster, semi-soft cheeses are produced by lightly pressing curds and rinsing/brushing them with a solution that encourages mold growth, creating a thin rind that is mild and buttery.
Blue Mold Cheese: Different varieties of blue cheese are made using a type of mold culture called penicillium that grow inside the cheese, giving it the trademark blue veins. This style of cheese is creamy and often crumbly with the sharp and salty flavor found in varieties like gorgonzola or Roquefort.
Semi-hard Cheese: In order to achieve their firm but bouncy texture, semi-hard cheeses are heated, pressed and aged for several months. This gives them a mild taste and aroma as well as less moisture and, in some cases, holes. Examples are gouda, cheddar, and Havarti.
Hard Cheese: These cheese varieties tend to be very dense and complex, as they are pressed for long periods of time and aged considerably. The goal in production is to drain and move almost all of the whey and age to intensify the flavor. Parmesan, Manchego and asiago are typically made in this fashion.
What State Has the Best Cheese?
You can find gourmet cheese options almost everywhere you go, but the one state that seems to stand above the rest for their cheese production is Wisconsin. According to research on statista.com, Wisconsin was the market leader for cheese production with about 3.36 billion pounds of cheese being made there easily making Plymouth Wisconsin the cheese capitol of the world. Cheese production is more common here, and in other states in the Western cultural sphere because of the higher numbers of milk cows in comparison to the rest of the U.S..
Next to Wisconsin, California is among the largest cheese producers in the United States, followed by Idaho, New Mexico, and New York. The cheese that is most popular out of these states are “Italian-style” cheeses such as Mozzarella and Parmesan. Outside of the U.S., however, a number of other countries are known for their production of delicious cheese varieties as well. Places like Amsterdam, Netherlands or Gruyeres, Switzerland and even Normandy, France are among the many places you can get high-quality, gourmet cheeses.
The Benefits of a Cheese Subscription Box
As you may have guessed, a cheese subscription box is great for trying a wider variety of cheeses that you can’t always get from the grocery store. However, there are a number of other benefits that come with starting your own monthly subscription!
For one, most (if not all) cheese subscription boxes offer very high-quality cheeses that are carefully crafted by experts in the field. Some of these cheeses are only available in specific seasons and are generally in limited supply too. This allows you to not only taste, but to learn more about an endless assortment of premium cheeses from all over. Many cheese club subscriptions also include special perks such as discounts and guides that help you to determine what flavors pair best on charcuterie boards and other platters.
In addition to all of this, cheese subscription boxes generally have next-day shipping and are packaged in well-insulated containers to guarantee freshness.
The 6 Best Cheese Clubs
Healthy Foodie’s Top Picks of the Best Cheese of the Month Clubs
In order to help you get started with a great cheese club subscription, I put together a list of the 6 Best Cheese Subscription Clubs. Try them out and leave a comment below which is your favorite.
Here is a list of some of the best places to start up cheese club subscriptions or even to buy individual varieties of cheeses that you’ve tried or have been wanting to taste!
Murray’s has several different cheese clubs to choose from including Classic Cheese of the Month, Cheesemonger’s Picks of the Month, American Cheese of the Month, Perfect Pair of the Month, and Cheese Board of the Month. Each club offers 3-4 hand crafted selections of cheeses ranging from the more well-known varieties to those that are a bit more rare. Some subscriptions include cheese and pairings as well as tasting notes and flavor profiles but all provide free shipping.
Pros: Several clubs to choose from, tasting notes and profiles, free shipping
Cons: Not all cheese available with one membershipCheck Best Price Here
The International Cheese of the Month Club offers members the chance to sample a wide selection of cheese and sausage every month. Shipping from the Wisconsin Cheese Mart, each delivery includes three international cheeses to try as well as a newsletter which describes specific details and cheese histories.
Pros: Some months include sausage, comes with newsletter
Cons: only 3 month clubCheck Best Price Here
This Gourmet cheese club by Cratejoy offers subscribers three small batch varieties of artisan cheese, weighing up to around a ½ pound each. The cheeses that they produce are carefully crafted from rare ingredients from around the world. The subscription also includes tasting notes and flavor profiles as well as pairing suggestions.
Pros: Tasting notes, cheese profiles, and pairing suggestions, rare ingredients
Cons: Doesn’t ship to Alaska or Hawaii, paid shippingCheck Best Price Here
With both subscriptions being a part of the same company (The Gourmet), The Rare cheese club offers similar features to the Gourmet Cheese of the Month Club. However, the Rare Cheese Club supplies its members with three very small batch cheeses that are hand-crafted with rare ingredients. This subscription includes cheese histories and tasting notes to help you broaden your horizons with limited edition and seasonal cheeses that are hard to find anywhere else.
Pros: Tasting notes, cheese profiles, cheese maker histories, and pairing suggestions, made with rare ingredients
Cons: Pay for shipping, cheeses are hard to find if you find one you likeCheck Best Price Here
This cheese of the month club delivers a selection of fresh and farmhouse style cheese that is made all over the world to your door. Each month, members are supplied with a half-pound of three different types of gourmet cheeses with all-natural ingredients. They also offer free shipping within the continental U.S. as well as a newsletter each month.
Pros: Includes newsletter, free shipping, different payment/subscription options
Cons: Doesn’t ship to Alaska or Hawaii
Check Best Price Here
If you choose the Gourmet Cheese of the Month Club, you can expect a monthly shipment that contains three artisan and farmhouse cheeses weighing in at about ½ a pound. The club promises unique, traditionally made, hand-cut and hand-crafted cheeses as well as tasting notes, flavor profiles, and other added bonuses.
Pros: Tasting notes, cheese profiles, cheese maker histories, and pairing suggestions
Cons: Pay for shipping, not as many rare cheese options
Check Best Price Here
All of these cheese clubs are great for anyone who wants to widen their palette or work great as a gift for the cheese lovers in your life! With all the different and exotic varieties of cheese out there, I would recommend starting with a bit more simple subscriptions and then building to the more rare and international cheese selections as your tastes change. I hope you enjoy my article on the 6 Best Cheese Clubs!
When you dive into your cheese box, be sure to have the correct knives for serving and cutting. Find out which cheese knives are best here. And check out this video for how to cut cheese called Know Your Cheese Knives: