Celebrating the Grilled Cheese at Whole Foods Market – Durham

The beginning of Fall always gets me excited about comfort foods like soups, roasts and seasonal salads. One thing that always makes me smile though is a good grilled cheese sandwich.

The beauty of the grilled cheese is it’s simplicity. “Grilled cheese can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They can be devoured on their own or paired with soup; jazzed up or dressed down – it really doesn’t matter, they taste just as good” says Eatocracy.

Whole Foods Market Vertical CMYK Logo copy

Whole Foods Market in Durham is celebrating fall by grilling cheeses! Learn how to grill cheese, taste the season’s best cheese and try different grilled cheese sandwiches at the Whole Foods Market’s quarterly Cheese Night event on TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 from 6-7:30 p.m. TONIGHT!!!!

You can also win a $50 gift certificate to Whole Foods Durham by commenting on this blog post. Details  listed below.

This event is free and open to the public and a great way to introduce kids to new and fun ways of creating their perfect grilled cheese. Let your kids sample a few cheeses and pick out their favorites. This gives them ownership over their sandwich and are more likely to try something new.

“We will taste a unique selection of delicious grilled cheeses and pairings. This event is FREE to the public, so come join us and learn what happens when heat meets cheese!,” says Whole Foods representative.

Whole Foods Cheese

Whole Foods Market Durham, Cheese Monger Ashley Cooper has this to say ; “A good grilled cheese should be melty, gooey, and provide contrasting flavors. On a simple grilled cheese, the best way to accomplish that is by pairing a base cheese to provide substance – such as Seaside Cheddar – with a slightly more flavorful cheese such as Gruyere for additional kick. Always use slices – never shreds – as it results in a more even melt and a better consistency.”

Ashley recommends the following combinations for Grown Up Grilled Cheeses:

“Always start a grilled cheese with your favorite bread – a rustic Ciabiatta alwas provides a nice combination of substance and flavor, and makes for a great presentation. Get creative with your components – I really enjoy pairing Gruyere – a complex rich and creamy cheese – with a simple fig spread and caramelized onions. Or Seaside Cheddar – a sharp, mature British Cheddar – with a local pepper jelly.”

Ashley Cooper is the Associate Team Leader of the Specialty Department at Whole Foods Market Durham. She’s received certification as a Certified Cheese Professional from the American Cheese Society, a title held by only 406 cheesemongers in the United States.

As for “grown-up” grilled cheese,” the possibilities are endless. Here are a few that popped to mind. Creamy havarti with blue cheese and fig jam. Aged extra sharp cheddar with apple. Fontina, Gruyere, Heirloom tomatoes and pesto spread. Gruyere and caramelized onions with a side of beef jus (think French onion soup in grilled cheese form). The list of combinations is endless and there is no right or wrong. That’s the beauty of grilled cheese! YOU OWN IT!!

Now is the best part, join the fun and tell me what creative ways you would make your perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Leave your comments below for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Whole Foods Market Durham. Winner will be picked at random and announced Friday at noon. Just in time for your weekend shopping. Deadline to enter is 10am Friday, September 19.

More from the Whole Foods Market Durham Cheese Department can be found here.

The Perfect Grilled Cheese (Courtesy of Whole Foods Durham)

Grilled Cheese and Tomato on Multi-Grain Bread
Grilled Cheese and Tomato on Multi-Grain Bread

Simple. Sublime. A textural masterpiece. From college hotplates to 5-star kitchens, few foods offer such a combination of approachability, ease of preparation and sheer unadulterated yumminess. Delicious in its purest form and accommodating enough to welcome a broad range of party-crashers (Granny Smith apples, anyone?), the GCS is a joy to make and devour. Here are some basic guidelines for perfect grilled cheese sandwiches every time.

Grilled Cheese and Tomato on Multi-Grain Bread
Grilled Cheese and Tomato on Multi-Grain Bread

The Bread

Of course many breads work quite well, but a favorite is nice, long oblongs of rustic country bread. Something with backbone, maybe a little chewy, with a crunchy crust.

The Cheese

Good melting cheeses include: Gruyère, cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, gouda or Havarti. Grate your cheese. It melts more evenly and is a great help when you want to blend cheeses—say a nice, melty Gruyère with a bit of tangy blue. Let the grated cheese come up to room temp before cooking.

Add-Ins

Think of things that go great on a cheese board: figs, ham, sweet pear or tart apple slices, balsamic-marinated veggies, chutney, honey—arugula or other spring greens are nice if added inside after the sandwich is done.

Butter

It’s important to spread a generous layer from edge to edge for that uniform golden crunch.

The Pan

Non-stick if you have one—you won’t have to use quite as much butter. A pan with a heavy base is great too, for an even heat.

Heat

Low-medium—you don’t want to blacken the bread, just golden it. Plop the sandwich in when the pan is heated up. No more than two minutes a side. Gentle pressure with a spatula helps move the heat into the center where the cheese is.

Bonus points: Once both sides are done, use a tong to hold sandwich edges to the griddle. This gives the oozed cheese that savory cooked crunch.

Preheated Oven

If cheese hasn’t thoroughly melted (don’t be afraid to open the sandwich up and check), pop the sandwich in the oven, pre-heated to 300, for about five minutes. The bread won’t overcook, but the cheese will melt completely.

For variations on the theme, take a look at all these grilled cheese recipes.

There’s nothing quite like melting, grilling or searing cheese! On your next Whole Foods Market visit, please stop by and chat with one of our cheesemongers. They are experts who love talking cheese and will happily give you a taste of any of our cheeses!

And don’t forget to come taste and sample at our next Cheese Nights. This one focuses on Grilling Cheeses. Tuesday, September 16th, 6:00 pm—7:30 pm. It’s free!

Happy Eating,

Johanna

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19 thoughts on “Celebrating the Grilled Cheese at Whole Foods Market – Durham

  1. Thank you to everyone who participated in the Whole Foods Grilled Cheese Contest. I used Random Picker, an on-line tool for randomly picking contest winners, to chose the winner. Congratulations to biscuitbakers for winning the $50 gift certificate to Whole Foods Market in Durham. =)

  2. My favorite grilled cheese is sourdough bread, pesto (half spinach/half basil is good), roasted red peppers, and fresh mozzarella. And lots of olive oil for cooking!

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