Q: Where are you located?
A: Our headquarters and Melrose Park Cheese Market are located 13 miles west of Downtown Chicago in Melrose Park, IL. The address is 1931 N. 15th Ave., Melrose Park, IL 60160. All products are shipped from this location. Our second Cheese Market is located 32 miles north of Downtown Chicago in Lake Forest, IL. The address is 231 E. Wisconsin Ave, Lake Forest, IL 60045.
Q: What credit cards do you accept?
A: We accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover.
General Cheese Questions
Q: If there is mold on my cheese should I throw it away?
A: This depends on the type of cheese. Most molds are harmless and are even used to make some cheeses, such as Brie, Camembert, Gorgonzola and Roquefort. However, mold on cheese that is not part of the manufacturing process can harbor harmful bacteria. Hard and semisoft cheeses can be salvaged by cutting away the moldy part and keeping the rest of the cheese. When removing the mold, keep the knife out of the mold itself and cut off at least one inch around the moldy spot. Mold on soft cheeses or any cheese that has been shredded, crumbled or sliced cannot be safely removed and should be discarded.
Q: How do I store my unused cheese after it has been opened?
A: Once your cheese has been opened, place the remaining cheese in a zip lock bag and remove any extra air. It can also be re-wrapped in wax paper, parchment paper, or butcher paper, then wrapped over top in plastic. Change the wrap every few days so the moisture can escape. Most cheeses need to breathe in order to release their own moisture.
Q: How do I store Fresh Mozzarella Cheese?
A: Fresh mozzarella is best kept in water. Once it has been opened, change the water in order to keep the remaining cheese fresh.
Q: Do you carry any low-fat or low-sodium cheeses?
A: Yes, we carry American, Cheddar, Swiss and Muenster in low-fat and low-sodium varieties.
Q: What is the difference between unpasteurized and pasteurized milk?
A: Most cheeses made in the U.S. are from pasteurized milk. Pasteurized milk has been treated to protect against potentially harmful pathogens in raw milk. If unpasteurized or raw milk is used, government regulations require that the cheese be aged for at least 60 days before it is sold or eaten. Regulatory agencies recognize aging of cheese as equal to pasteurization for eliminating any harmful microorganisms. Some prefer raw milk cheeses to pasteurized, as they feel much of the flavor is removed through pasteurization. Women who are pregnant should not consume any unpasteurized cheeses.
Q: What is the difference between cow, goat, and sheep's milk?
A: Cow's milk cheese is desirable because of its varied fat content, and the wide range of cheese that can be made from it successfully. It also has the lowest fat of the three milks. Goat’s milk has less butterfat than cow’s milk making it the most easily digested of the three milks. It also has the lowest sodium. Goat's milk cheeses are generally the healthiest of the three types. Sheep's milk is high in protein and vitamins and contains almost 10 percent less water than cow or goat's milk. Those who love sheep's milk cheeses adore its nutty, earthy and sometimes gamey flavor. Sheep’s milk is not good for those who are lactose intolerant as it has even more lactose than cow’s milk. Sheep's milk has the highest sodium, fat and calcium of the three milk types.
Q: What cheese is best for lactose intolerant people?
A: The harder and older the cheese, the less lactose it has. Processed cheese has the most lactose. If you have trouble with dairy but still love cheese, start with small quantities of aged cheeses such as Parmigiano-Reggiano Swiss, or Sharp Cheddar and try working your way up. Goat’s milk cheeses are also better than Sheep and Cow’s milk for lactose intolerant people.
Q: What is the shelf life of cheese?
A: Hard cheeses will last for many months,whereas softer cheeses will remain fresh for two to four weeks after opening. But remember, cheese will continue to ripen, no matter how carefully it is stored. In addition, large blocks of cheese tend to last longer than shredded cheese.
Q: Why does swiss cheese have holes?
A: The holes in Swiss cheese are caused by the expansion of gas within the cheese curd during the ripening period. Cheese is made by introducing bacteria to milk, which begins to curdle as the bacteria eat and produce lactic acid. Another byproduct of the digestion process is often carbon dioxide gas, which in some cheeses is trapped inside the rind, forming bubbles in the finished cheese product. Swiss cheese is the most well known for this, with some types of Swiss cheese having holes as large as walnuts. The holes in Swiss cheese are often referred to as “eyes.”
Q: Can cheese be frozen?
A: While we do not suggest freezing cheese, most hard cheeses and processed cheeses can be frozen, however there will be some changes in the texture and flavor. For this reason, thawed cheese is best used crumbled or shredded. Freeze small pieces of cheese in airtight wrapping for up to six months. Thaw in the refrigerator so the cheese won’t lose moisture.
Q: Do creamy, soft-ripened cheeses have more fat than harder cheeses?
A: No, the creamy, soft-ripened cheeses frequently have less fat based on weight than very hard or aged cheeses. Creamy cheeses have a higher water content that dilutes the fat, while the aged cheeses are hard because they contain less water which concentrates the fat.
Q: What happens to the whey after it is separated from the curd, is it just thrown out?
A: Even though the whey represents the water that's a large part of milk, it is still highly nutritious and is used in making many other food products, even other cheeses, such as Ricotta. Whey is also used in baked products and medicines but most whey is used to feed farm animals or to fertilize farmland.
Q: Can I eat the rind of the cheese?
A: The rind is safe to eat and is completely up to you and your tastes whether you want to consume it. Some do not enjoy the rind as it has a stronger flavor and a different texture than the rest of the cheese. The best way to eat your cheese is to start in the middle and work your way to the outside. The flavor will get stronger as you get closer to the rind. If you do not like the paste just beneath the rind, you probably will not enjoy the rind itself. Generally, the younger the cheese, the more edible its rind. The rind on softer cheeses tends to be milder in flavor than harder ones and more enjoyable to eat. Thick, ridged rinds can tend to have an earthy, rustic flavor and are less pleasing. Also, some cheeses are covered in a plastic or wax coating. These will not harm you but also are not very pleasant as they taste just like they smell: plastic and wax.
Q: Does a cheese with 50% butterfat really contain one-half fat?
A: No, butterfat content in cheese is calculated based on the ratio of protein and fat that remains in the cheese after all the water is removed. Most cheeses are 50% to 70% water on average, and the rest is protein and other dry solids. A 50% butterfat means that half of the dry matter is fat, and the other half is protein and minerals. Cheeses such as Cheddar, Provolone and Swiss range in butterfat from 45% to 55%, while double crème cheeses range from 60% to 74% and triple crème cheeses have 75% or more butterfat. Low fat cheeses contain 15% or less butterfat.