There are some cheeses that are perennial grocery list staples, the workhorses of deli departments—seemingly ubiquitous additions to sandwiches, snacks, and many entrées—but do they encourage excitement?
“From the moment the first wheels arrived in the U.S. in 2001, consumers and chefs embraced Beemster because of its story and quality of cheeses,” said Warren Reid, National Sales Manager with CONO USA, Inc. “In this age of mass/industrial production, even in the specialty food world, Beemster remains true to its 117-year history of traditional farming and cheese making. From the grass our farmers grow on the Beemster Polder in North Holland all the way through the cheese making process and ripening, we respect and follow the old fashioned ‘slow’ methods that are required to make the best Dutch cheeses.”
Warren told me that Beemster cheeses are distinguished by a number of qualities, including:
Beemster’s Premium Dutch Cheese varieties may be just the thing to take tired trays and drooping dishes to the next level—with a number of complicated-yet-balanced, super-versatile cheeses. And, since April is National Grilled Cheese Month, it’s the perfect time to celebrate Beemster’s quality and flavor with creative recipes and promotional offerings.
“While mozzarella and cheddar are ubiquitous in grilled cheese, Beemster-premium Dutch cheese, made from the rich, creamy milk of Beemster cows (and goats), melts beautifully,” Food Writer Hannah Howard told me. “Beemster is the star of any grilled cheese sandwich. Our wide variety of cheeses, from creamy and mild to bold and robust, means there is a delicious option for any mood or recipe. Some of our favorites are sweet, fresh Graskaas, made from the first spring milk and aged for about a month,and butterscotchy Beemster X-O, rich with notes of toasted pecans after more than two years of careful maturing. Beemster cheeses all share a gorgeous complexity that will leave you hungry for more.”
As we get deeper and deeper into National Grilled Cheese Month, retailers and foodservice operators can capitalize off the full range of Beemster cheese—with prepared offerings, samplings, and pairing and serving suggestions that highlight the cheeses’ sweet, nutty attributes.
“My advice for merchandising is sample, sample, sample! Beemster cheese practically sells itself because it is so delicious,” Jessica Lawrenz, Specialty Food Manager and Monger at Venissimo Cheese, Mission Hills, and Founder of Monger Mold & Milk, said. “Tasting the product is the best way to find out what you like. Another suggestion is to describe the flavor profile and offer suggestions for pairing or accompaniments to the customer—face to face, with signage, or both. Sometimes customers are overwhelmed by the selection of cheese or can't visualize how they’ll use the cheese; a little inspiration can go a long way to open up the customer’s mind to the versatility cheese has!”
As a store manager, experienced CMI-winning cheese monger, educator, advocate, and influencer, Jessica has seen, firsthand, customers’ reaction to Beemster cheeses’ unparalleled taste.
“Our Customers love the creaminess of younger Beemsters and they are perfect for melting on grilled cheese!” Jessica told me. “One of our most popular Paninis is Beemster Vlaskaas with Spicy Soppressata. Customers are also fascinated by the crunchiness of the older Beemsters. They are constantly asking for ‘that gouda with the cheese crystals!’ I love that this gives Mongers an opportunity to nerd out with customers and explain what those 'Crunchy Bits' are (those crunch little bits in the cheese are Tyrosine!).”
With a complex and flavorful profile that is unlike many domestic cheeses on the market, Beemster cheeses can elevate a variety of dishes, from the humble grilled cheese sandwich to the high-brow tasting menu or charcuterie plate.
“Beemster cheese is raising the bar for many people who eat cheese every day, but have never really tasted anything this special,” added Suzanne Accurso, CONO USA, Inc. Regional Sales Manager. “You can see the sparkle in their eyes, as the mouth-feel of the cheese takes over, razzling and dazzling their taste-buds like no other cheese before it has done. The complexity of the flavors builds and crescendos, like a fine musical score that takes one on a journey with every bite, unlike the mundane flat tasting cheeses before them. More and more people are having fun creating flavors they like with Beesmster cheese, pairing them with caramel and chocolate desserts, ports, lagers and IPA's, sparkling and aged wines, grilled cheeses with arugula and fruits, salumi, salads, pasta, risotto, hamburgers on the grill. Beemster cheese takes everyday foods to the next level!”
There’s still time to demo during this fun food month; whether you call it grilled cheese, panini, or toastie, you can’t go wrong with crispy bread and melty cheese.
Beemster shared some pairings—all found in the deli—best served up on the Bakery’s house-made breads:
For more fresh-focused coverage of the dairy, deli, bakery, and specialty food space, keep reading Deli Market News.