Go beyond the classic cheese board with 12 incredible cheeses at an incredible discount.
Your neighborhood Whole Foods Market is kicking off 12 Days of Cheese on December 8, and frankly, we can’t wait. The promotion features one artisanal cheese per day at a 50-percent discount, along with wine pairings recommended by Master Sommelier Devon Broglie. As the name of the holiday promotion implies, this celebration of cheese will run through December 19th.
The cheese selection goes far beyond your classic Brie and sharp cheddar. Whole Foods Market’s Global Executive Coordinator of Specialty and Product Innovation & Development, Cathy Strange, worked with certified cheese professionals to select exceptional cheese options, from a variety of respected creameries, to promote in stores. She says the 12 Days of Cheese brings the best of the best cheeses to Whole Foods customers.
Are you ready to expand your cheese horizons? We have an inside look at what’s coming to your Whole Foods’ cheese counter, plus how to best enjoy each, beyond the classic cheese board.
Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog
Wine pairing: The Federalist Barrel-Aged Zinfandel, Mendocino Co, CA
This soft-ripened beauty is widely applauded as one of the earliest domestic cheeses to set the stage for artisanal, American-made cheese to thrive. The concept came to cheesemaker Mary Keen in a dream—thus, it makes perfect sense that this goat’s milk American classic is downright dreamy. It adapts well to other flavors, melts easily, and is made using rennet that is vegetarian-friendly, so the cheese complies with a vegetarian diet.
Strange says, “There’s nothing quite like it in the world, and it’s perfect in simple pasta dishes.” She recommends shaving thin slices of the cheese over your favorite warm pasta with some dill and lemon zest for a beautiful, creamy bowl of comfort.
Epoisse selected by Herve Mons
Wine pairing: DeMorgenzon DMZ Chardonnay, Western Cape, South Africa
At first sniff this cheese smells almost rotten, but the bright orange rind gives way to a buttery, luscious bite similar to a Brie. The cheese is slightly spicy, and melts beautifully. “There are only three cheesemakers in the world that still produce this variety,” says Strange.
Strange loves it melted over soups, such as potato or leek. And she especially loves this cheese matched with potatoes, like melted over French fries for an upgraded poutine. If you want to serve it cold, Strange recommends placing pieces in a sweet fruit salad.
Bonne Bouche Vermont Creamery
Wine pairing: Holy Snail Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, Loire Valley, FR
Literally translating to “good mouthfeel,” this goat cheese brings bright citrusy flavor notes to the party. It’s a mild cheese with a brilliantly smooth texture, perfect for a holiday cheese board. Strange recommends wrapping slices in salty prosciutto to create a crowd pleasing appetizer. The variety is also made with vegetarian rennet, making it vegetarian-friendly.
Cheddar Montgomery’s from Neal’s Yard Dairy
Wine pairing: Criterion Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, Australia
Three generations of cheddar producers bring you this savory cheese. The dairy used to craft this cheese comes from animals living on the premise, making it truly farm-raised and fresh. The raw milk brings a meaty, almost brothy flavor to this rich, melty cheese. Strange recommends using the better-than-your-average cheddar shredded into any casserole or melted over broccoli for an added savory boost.
Enraptured Blue from Rogue Creamery, organic
Wine pairing: Undaunted Columbia Valley Malbec, Columbia, Washington
Strange isn’t usually a supporter of seafood paired with cheese, but she notes that this selection breaks boundaries. She recommends sampling this exceptionally creamy blue cheese with oysters, and we’re definitely game.
Whole Foods wanted to highlight something really unique for the 12 Days promotion, so they had this soft cheese created specifically for the event. The variety is soaked in Syrah and an additional grape blend to create the distinct fruitiness with notes of hazelnuts. Also made with vegetarian rennet, this selection is likewise vegetarian-friendly.
Gabietou selected by Herve Mons
Wine pairing: Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau, Burgundy, FR
Delicately sweet sheep’s milk and cow's milk are blended to create this luscious, semi-soft cheese. The texture is incredibly silky, with a rich, slightly nutty flavor. Strange recommends serving this with lucque green olives from Southern France, which are a super buttery pairing.
Additionally, she believes this cheese to be the ultimate appetizer. Melt the cheese over a baguette, toast, or flatbread under the broiler and top with dried fruit and nuts (Strange called out walnuts in particular for a tasty topper).
Grand Cru Reserve, organic
Wine pairing: Empire Estate Finger Lakes Dry Riesling, New York, New York
This grand champion of cheese is modeled after Swiss Alpine cheeses, and was crafted as an organic option specifically for Whole Foods Market. The cheese is made in a copper vat, creating a nutty, savory flavor. Strange loves to match the dense, umami-rich cheese with sweeter foods, like pears poached in wine, sauteed cherries, or grilled, seasonal stone fruit.
Rapin Le Marechal
Wine pairing: Monterustico Piemonte Bianco, Piedmonte, Italy
Strange recommends enjoying this very dense, spicy cheese as more of a foundation than a topper; slice up the cheese in strips like you would crudite, and serve with any kind of dip you like. Alternatively, arrange the cheese slices to your liking and serve alongside the rest of your holiday appetizers.
Cellars at Jasper Hill Hartwell
Wine pairing: De Chanceny Brut Rosé Cremant de Loire, Loire Valley, FR
Two brothers in Vermont crafted this cheese from their very own herd of cows. The variety is created in very small batches, and washed in local Eden Cider to create a supremely floral flavor and aroma. Strange says this cheese is perfect for a classic French sandwich, where you cut the cheese in half and add to bread. For a traditional bite, spread some butter on a roll, add a slice of tomato, and top with a hunk of the soft cheese. This variety is also vegetarian-friendly option.
Ubriaco del Piave
Wine pairing: Domaine de Petroni Corsican Red, Corsica, FR
Hailing from Northeastern Italy, this dense cheese is soaked in wine to create a beautiful, bright purple rind. The flavor is naturally fruity and floral, so Strange loves to pair it with any foods that fall under the same category. Add it to a bread pudding, fruit-infused stuffing, or even yogurt and fruit.
Uplands Cheese Pleasant Ridge Reserve
Wine pairing: J.Lassalle Champagne Brut Premier Cru, Champagne, FR.
There’s a little bit of everything in this cheese. You might taste flavors such as butterscotch, fruit, and caramel, but there are also grassy undertones, giving it a strong savory backbone. It’s so smooth and pungent that Strange jokes she would pair a slice with bluegrass music. She especially loves it on a biscuit for a simple breakfast sandwich.
Truffle Gouda Klare Melk from Dutch Cheese Masters
Wine pairing: Banshee Sonoma Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, CA
Strange emphasizes that this cheese is the ultimate ticket to grilled cheese perfection. Bits of mushrooms speckled throughout the cheese, and topping this earthy variety with caramelized onions truly takes a toasty sandwich to new heights. Though they’re certainly a luxurious treat year-round, truffles are especially popular in the U.S. this time of year, so it only makes sense that we’re enjoying this gouda with our holiday spreads. If this cheese makes an appearance on your cheese plate this year, go ahead and serve it alongside a bowl of honey for a complementary drizzle of sweetness.