5 Ways to Celebrate National Cheese Lovers Day
January 20th is National Cheese Lovers Day! It is the one day a year you can wear your cheese head hat with pride in Michigan.
Americans have a love affair with cheese, eating an average of 36.9 pounds a year in 2017 (USDA). For our fellow cheese fanatics, here are five ways to celebrate the un-brie-livable day.
Lactose intolerant? Don’t fret! You can still celebrate without the stomachache.
Did you know that there are real, delicious cheeses that are naturally lactose free or low enough in lactose to not bother your stomach? Usually the harder the cheese, the lower the lactose. Well-aged harder cheeses such as Parmesan, Cheddar, Swiss and Havarti can be enjoyed without worry. Learn more about cheese and lactose intolerance here.
1. Host a grate party.
Charcuterie boards are a fun way to try new pairings and incorporate something all your friends will love. Cheese really does please a crowd.
While selecting cheeses, ensure your board has a variety of flavors and pairings. From soft and creamy cheeses like Brie, to mild cheeses like Colby and Havarti, accompaniments can include fruit, vegetables, crackers, cured meat, nuts and more.
Michiganders not only have a variety of local wines to indulge in, but specialty brews as well. If IPAs and stouts are more your style, cheese can enhance the flavor of drinking beer and vice versa. Here are a few things to consider when pairing the two.
2. Say “cheese” and smile wide.
It isn’t a coincidence that saying “cheese” while a picture is taken puts your pearly whites in the spotlight! Did you know dairy foods, including cheese, play a role in maintaining overall health?
Calcium, phosphorus, and casein protein found in cheese are specifically important to bone health. Both the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommend cheese as a potential cavity fighter. Chewing cheese also increases saliva production, rinsing away potential cavity-causing bacteria.
The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) also recommend three servings of low-fat and fat-free dairy foods a day, including cheese, for Americans 9 years and older.
So, post a selfie and hashtag #CheeseLover because both your tastebuds and bones thank you for celebrating this holiday. Read more about dairy and dental health here.
3. Learn how cottage cheese is made.
Have you ever wondered how your favorite dairy foods get to the grocery store? Get the inside scoop on how cottage cheese is made at Michigan Dairy with chef and dietitian Jenn Fillenworth!
Cottage cheese is fresh curd cheese unlike most cheeses on the market. Cheese varies in style, texture, and flavor depending on ingredients and processing.
Superior cheese starts with high-quality milk from happy and healthy cows. Michigan’s 1,200 dairy farm families are committed to sustainably producing nutrient-rich dairy foods that nourish their land and community. Take a virtual tour of a farm here.
4. Make your own cheese.
To add to the celebration, it is also National Oatmeal Month! Top your bowl of oatmeal with homemade ricotta for a touch of sweet and savory to start your day with a balanced breakfast.
5. Clean out your cheese drawer.
The “cheese drawer” is a Midwestern household staple but, when was the last time you got to the bottom? National Cheese Lovers Day is a great time for you to check expiration dates and ensure that the cheese you are enjoying is safe for you to continue to eat!
Hard cheeses, such as Cheddar and Swiss, can be enjoyed for three weeks after the package has been opened if kept in a refrigerator 40°F or below. Soft cheeses like Brie should be consumed one to two weeks after purchase.
Click here to learn how to keep your cheese drawer fresh.