It’s no secret that Whole Foods Market loves cheese. Walk into our stores and you'll find anywhere from 250 to 1,000 of the best cheeses we can get our hands on from all over the world. Leading the charge is our global cheese buyer, Cathy Strange.
The Big Cheese
Cathy’s role puts her in the unique position of traveling the world to not only discover and encourage the world’s great cheesemakers but also to help advance the artisanal food movement and investigate the world’s emergent food trends. If a new preparation technique is causing ripples in Berlin, or a centuries-old curing tradition is gaining a foothold in Seattle, Cathy knows about it.
Her palate and expertise have been solicited all over the world to serve as judge including the American Cheese Society competition, the World Cheese Championships and the British Cheese Awards. In addition, Cathy is the only American and non-Italian to receive the “Coltellino d’oro” from the Consortium of Parmigiano Reggiano.
Meet Cathy and discover why we're so lucky to have her with us.
Five Cheeses To Buy Now
When Cathy recommends a cheese, we listen. Here are five of her favorites.
Mt. TAM from Cowgirl Creamery. Characterized by its complex taste and rich texture, this organic favorite is produced using a gouda-like technique where the curds are scooped softly by hand to help keep the rich flavors in tact. Once the cheeses begin to age, they are turned twice a week by hand for optimal aging. The result is an elegant, dense cheese with a mellow earthy taste. With its buttery flavor and creamy texture, Mt. TAM is the perfect addition to a variety of meals from cheese and turkey baguette sandwiches to Pasta with Mushrooms, Spinach and Mt. TAM Cheese.
Payson Breton Le Fromage Fouetté. Yes oui to this French cheese! Made with cows’ milk from a cooperative, this fresh whipped cheese is modeled on cream cheeses of the past. Its light and airy texture (and citrus finish!) is tops on a bagel, in grits or on an arugula salad.
Borough Market Stilton. Made with pasteurized cows’ milk and vegetable rennet, this Stilton — a traditional British blue — is produced by Colton Basset Dairy, which has been in operation for more than 100 years. The cheese’s rich mineral tang and buttery texture make it a match for port. Or pair with potatoes like in this Smashed Potatoes with Stilton recipe.
Cabot Clothbound Cheddar from the Cellars at Jasper Hill. This is an approachable but complex bandaged English-style cheddar. Because it’s made from one herd's milk, some batches have hints of caramel and milky flavors, others are tart and bright, and still others are savory and brothy. This crumbly, nutty favorite is a perfect partner for charcuterie, a hoppy ale or an oaked Cabernet Sauvignon.
Herve Mons Camembert. Considered Brie’s funky cousin, soft and creamy Camembert is marked by a deep aroma with notes of cabbage, mushroom and earth — and its trademark wooden box. This Camembert is made in Normandy by Hervé Mons, one of the world's most renowned cheese affineurs. It’s superb when paired with a sparkling wine or a dry French cider and warm, crusty bread. (New to this cheese? Check out five things everyone should know about Camembert.)
Remember, our cheesemongers are happy to let you have a taste before you buy and will cut to order!
What is your favorite cheese? Share your picks in the comments.
Our National Cheese Lover's Day sale is over, but check your store's sale flyer for today's best deals.
Updated Feb 2, 2016.