In celebration of National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, the pundits of cheese step forward to reveal their tricks of the trade to create an elevated grilled cheese delight. The unofficial holiday, commemorated on Friday, April 12, 2019, pays homage to the universally beloved, ooey-gooey treat that appeals to the palates of children and adults alike.
The commonplace grilled cheese sandwich, made simply of bread and cheese, is a malleable meal, easily elevated to gourmet status with the addition of refined cheese options and a few ancillary ingredients. “The sophisticated flavors of European cheeses are absolutely adaptable to the American grilled cheese sandwich,” says Charles Duque, director of The French Dairy Board for, Americas. “We like to use coarsely grated Mimolette and Raclette for a more inventive version of the classic meal.”
Industry authorities including Bruce Klores, owner of GCDC Grilled Cheese Bar in Washington D.C., urge home cooks to get creative with their grilled cheese sandwich. Klores says, “Having grilled over half a million grilled cheese sandwiches, our mantra is great bread, cheese and ingredients in fun and flavorful combinations. Bottom line – creative and fun taste combinations and pillows to relax on with a full-bodied red on the side.”
Renowned cheese experts have weighed in to offer their professional takes on the timeless, cheesy treat:
It’s all in the Proportions:
“One mistake I see a lot in the sandwich world is a lack of consideration when it comes to proportions,” says Stephen Cusato, content creator, Not Another Cooking Show, food stylist and former recipe developer of FOODfreaks, a specialty grilled cheese vendor in New York City. Cusato says, “Paying attention to this helps craft a better sandwich, one where all the ingredients don’t instantly fall out of the back upon first bite. Making sure there is the right amount of each ingredient, cut the right way, assembled in a particular order, that to me is what sets a sandwich apart.”
The Crème de la Crème:
Tom Sobocinski of The Cheese Truck in New Haven, CT says, “We take our grilled cheese to the next level by using nothing but the best ingredients, our signature blend of cheeses – some of which include provolone, sharp cheddar, gruyere, swiss, and Comté, fresh baked sourdough bread, lots of butter, and Applewood smoked bacon to top it off. The finishing touch is a few cornichon pickles and a bit of grainy mustard on the side to help cut through all the cheesy buttery goodness.”
Consider the Texture:
While taste may be first priority, Erika Kubick, author of Cheese Sex Death, encourages one to pay attention to texture. “My favorite way to take grilled cheese to the next level is to sprinkle on a freshly grated hard cheese, like extra-aged Mimolette, on the outside and then fry the grilled cheese so you have a crunchy, cheesy crust. It’s indulgent but so delicious,” explains Kubick.
Executive Chef Christa Chase of Tartine Manufactory in San Francisco adds a Mornay sauce to her grilled cheese sandwich. Christa says, “Our current version is cheese, Mornay, asparagus, fava greens, mint and spring onions on Tartine Country bread. The Mornay adds another layer of creamy richness that I think really brings it to another level, and frankly is just another way to incorporate more cheese!”
For more cheese expertise and an additional grilled cheese recipe, visit Cheeses of Europe.
About Cheeses of Europe
The Cheeses of Europe Marketing Campaign, orchestrated by CNIEL (The French Dairy Inter-Branch Organization) and co-funded by the European Union, was designed to create awareness for the variety of European cheeses available in the US market and to suggest ways that American consumers can incorporate those cheeses into their diets, recipes and lifestyles. The campaign’s goal is to increase the appeal of European cheeses and strengthen their competitive position in the growing specialty cheese category.