As previously established, I am a big fan of the French and the French are big fans of cheese. I am not, however, a fan of spending my life savings on a small wedge of dairy goodness.
Thankfully, Trader Joe’s allows me to explore my fine European tastes with cheeses that have wallet-friendly prices. These five cheeses regularly make their way to our dinner table and are typically enjoyed after the main meal with one last glass of wine.
Trader Joe’s Creamy Toscana Cheese: Because your cheese should be wine-soaked just like you! This one gets its purple hue from a Trader Joe’s California Syrah. The cheese’s Frankenstein texture is part cheddar, part Parmesan with teeny crystalized bits that are a delightful surprise on your tongue.
Castello Soft Blue: Not the bracing blue cheese you may be used to, this triple cream baby is mellow, slightly tangy, and super addictive. Made in Denmark, it stays for weeks at a time. But be forewarned: The longer you let it sit, the stronger the bite will be.
Trader Joe’s Mini Basque: Sheep’s milk gives this cheese a distinctive, nutty flavor and the texture is quite creamy for a semi-soft cheese. Though a bit more expensive (priced at $11.99 a pound instead of $9.99 a pound like the others on this list*), it is always the first one to go at our dinner parties.
Saint-André Triple Crème Cheese: If I had to eat one cheese for the rest of my life, this Normandy cheese would be it. Made from rich, heavy cream, it has a subtle, buttery taste and a decadent, velvety texture that melts in your mouth. Best eaten in tiny slivers on a slice of French bread. Ab-so-lute heaven.
Trader Joe’s Wild Mushroom Brie: Everyone loves a good brie, and this one is certainly a crowd-pleaser with its creamy texture and earthy flavor. Pro tip: Take this cheese out of the fridge an hour or two before you serve and you will die for its meltiness.
Honorable mention to the cheeses that almost made the top five: Trader Joe’s Bacon Cheddar Cheese (so not French but sometimes you gotta give a little love to your home country), their Le Rustique Camembert (because it comes in a cute, round wooden package and brings the funk), and the Kerrygold Dubliner (which the monsieur likes to eat with Kerrygold salted butter, ‘dublin’ the milk product fun**).
* If you are just like me and price per pound means nothing to you, then $9.99 comes to about $4-6 dollars depending on the size of the hunk and $11.99 is more like $8-9 bucks.
** Je suis désolé…the pun…it couldn’t be helped.