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Cheeses From Another Udder: Alternative Milk Cheeses

Marinated Feta Cheese with Lemon and Fresh Herbs

Cheese is consistently a crowd-pleaser. From slices of cheddar on burgers to a glamorous cheese plate for dessert, this is party food at its finest. And the best parties – like the best cheese plates – are diverse and well rounded.

Cheddar, Brie and Gorgonzola are beloved staples, and they have one very specific thing in common – they are all crafted from cow’s milk. We’re all for cow’s milk cheeses, but in order to have a serious party (or cheese plate), we’ve got to invite alternative milk cheeses. Let’s explore them together.

Greek Tomato Salad with Feta Cheese and Olives

Goat’s Milk Cheeses

Tangy and slightly herbal, goat cheese is sometimes more easily digested by those with aversions to cow’s milk cheeses. Also look for cheeses labeled chèvre, the French word for goat cheese.

  • Fresh goat cheese is often found in logs or tubs. This soft, lemony cheese makes an excellent and mild spread.
  • Bûcheron is a smooth, zesty goat cheese with a white, edible rind. Try it sliced on whole grain toast.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for goat’s milk Brie, Gouda, cheddar and jack, too, for more familiar textures.

Strawberry and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Sheep’s Milk Cheeses

Sweet and nutty in flavor, sheep’s milk cheeses are often higher in protein and fat than cow’s milk cheeses.

  • Feta is a brined block cheese that crumbles like a dream, but is also great for cubing into salads.
  • Halloumi is a squeaky, grill-able cheese that offers a fun introduction to sheep’s milk cheeses.
  • Manchego is nutty and sweet with a dark cross-hatched rind. Try it with other Spanish favorites, Marcona almonds and quince paste.

Pesto Turkey Burgers with Grilled Halloumi

Buffalo’s Milk Cheeses

Buffalo’s milk cheeses are creamy and rich with a distinct sweetness. These are not the buffalo of the North American plains, but instead the smaller, curly-horned Asian water buffalos.

  • Buffalo mozzarella is much more moist and rich than its cow’s milk counterpart. This cheese is irresistible fresh, but excellent just melted atop a simple pizza, as well.

Food52's Buffalo Mozzarella with Balsamic Glazed Plums, Pine Nuts and Mint

Which alternative milk cheeses will you explore? Share your favorite ways to feature these unique offerings in the comments section below.