Sunday, March 19, 2017

Can You Have Cheese If You Are Allergic?

Asking whether you can have cheese if you are allergic is much more complicated than it seems at first. That is because it is different depending on what your allergy is actually to. Some people think they are allergic to cheese but actually end up having lactose intolerance, a milk allergy, or something else. In these cases, you will still be able to enjoy cheese as long as you know which ones to choose.
Eating Cheese With A Cheese Allergy
In the vast majority of cases, people who have an allergic reaction to cheese are actually allergic to the milk within it or a general dairy allergy. Keep in mind that most dairy allergies will disappear by age three so your doctor will need to confirm whether this is actually an allergy. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include itchy skin, a runny nose, hives, wheezing, diarrhea, vomiting, and more.
The good news for those with a true cheese allergy is that you can probably still eat some types of cheese. The allergy is your body reacting to a protein in the milk within the cheese and it releases histamines which lead to symptoms. Sometimes, the allergic reaction is actually because of histamines found naturally in aged cheese. If this is the case, you will probably be able to eat fresh cheese, but need to avoid aged ones like parmesan, cheddar, Roquefort, Brie, and gruyere. You will, however, want to consult your doctor before doing so to make sure it’s safe.
Eating Cheese With Lactose Intolerance
As mentioned earlier, some people who think they are allergic to cheese are actually lactose intolerant. These people won’t have an enzyme that breaks down lactose, which is a sugar found in dairy and milk products. This means that they can’t properly digest cheese or other dairy-based products. It isn’t life-threatening but can lead to severe discomfort, including diarrhea, gas, cramps, and nausea. Those with lactose intolerance will actually be able to eat some cheeses with minimal to no discomfort; they just have to choose wisely. As a general rule of thumb, fresh cheese will have more lactose than aged cheese. That is because as cheese ages, the majority of lactose drains off along with the whey. Only a little bit is left and this becomes lactic acid during aging. If aging doesn’t occur, less of the remaining lactose becomes lactic acid. As a general rule of thumb, those who are lactose intolerant should avoid fresh cheese but can enjoy aged cheese and the more aged, the better.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Tips For Using Cheese For Your St. Patrick’s Day Party

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up so you will want to start planning your party. Instead of making it all about beer or random foods you can dye green, consider letting cheese play a starring role in your upcoming celebration. Here are a just a few ways you can serve cheese at your St. Patrick’s Day party.
Serve Irish Cheeses
While Ireland isn’t known for having age-old cheese traditions like those in Italy or France, there are still multiple cheeses found in the area that you can serve at your St. Patrick’s Day party. If you do a bit of research and shop at specialty cheese retailers, you will be able to find some unique Irish cheeses that you and your guests may not have heard of. These include Ardrahan, Cahill’s Irish Porter Cheddar, Coolea, Crozier Blue, and Carrigaline.
Include A Cheese Platter
If you don’t want to splurge on Irish cheeses or simply can’t get a hold of them, you can still serve a cheese platter at your St. Patrick’s Day party. After all, not everything you serve has to fit the theme of the day. To put it in the Irish spirit, why not do some research and discover which cheeses pair best with the Irish drinks you plan on serving. Guinness, for example, goes great with cheddar cheese or pretty much anything. You can also pair any stout with Gouda or blue cheese, brown ale with cheddar, or a pilsner with Havarti.
Don’t be afraid to turn any cheese into a St. Patrick’s Day treat with some decorations or styling. While you may want to avoid trying to dye the cheese you serve green, you can serve it on a green platter or get creative. Why not cut your hard cheese into the shape of a four-leaf clover before serving it?
Make A Cheesecake
Cheesecake is a classic dessert and the perfect way to combine cheese with St. Patrick’s Day. Since you will want to play up the green theme, a mint cheesecake will be the ideal option as it is brightly colored and delicious.
Make Irish Cheese Soup
Another great idea to combine the Irish theme of the day with cheese is serving an Irish cheese soup. You can easily find a recipe online and many of the best ones will include an Irish farmhouse cheese, an Irish beer, and the normal ingredients for soup like half-and-half cream, flour, potatoes, stock, and a range of vegetables. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Four Tips For Getting Your Children To Like Cheese

Kids tend to either love or hate most foods without much room in between. The trick as a parent is making sure that your children actually like the foods that are good for them, such as fruits, vegetables, and cheese. The good news is that if you start early and are creative, it can be very easy for your children to appreciate the taste and texture of cheese.
Introduce It Early
A good way to make sure that your children will like cheese is to introduce it to them early, as soon as their pediatrician says it is safe to do so. By introducing cheese to your children early, they will get used to it right away. They will see it as a normal food and enjoy it. It will also help if your child sees you eating cheese. After all, any parent knows that kids like food that comes from their parents’ plate the most.
Make It Fun Shapes
Kids are more likely to eat something if it is fun to do so. Make sure that you give them cheese as a finger food when they are young and get creative with presentation. Cut hard cheese into fun shapes like stars or hearts with small cookie cutters. Or make your child a fruit salad that includes cheese and forms a fun shape, such as a face with little balls of cheese for the eyes. You can even make cheese into a snowman for your child to enjoy.
Get Creative With Recipes
If you want your child to like cheese, it will help if you can show them how versatile it is and give them every opportunity to enjoy it. It is a good idea to have some cheese-filled recipes up your sleeve that your children will love. Classics like grilled cheese sandwiches and macaroni and cheese can both be made from scratch with natural unprocessed cheese instead of the heavily processed stuff. Some other cheesy dishes your children may love include lasagna, pasta with cheese on top, pasta bakes, casseroles, fried cheese sticks (which you can make from scratch), cheese omelets, frittatas, homemade pizza, and cheesy bread.
What To Do If They Don’t Like It At First
In some cases, your child may be hesitant to try cheese or claim not to like it despite your best efforts. In this case, you should simply wait a little and then introduce it again. You could also encourage them to just eat a single bite and say they don’t have to eat any more than that unless they want to. Your kids may also be more likely to want to try the cheese if they see you enjoying it. If all else fails, sneak some cheese into their favorite dishes to prove to them they like it.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Where Are The Best Cheese Festivals?

For those who truly love cheese, one of the best ways to enjoy it is in the various cheese festivals. In the United States alone, there are dozens if not hundreds of festivals centered on cheese, sometimes in the form a wine and cheese or beer and cheese festival and sometimes as simply a cheese festival. It simply isn’t realistic to attend all of them so consider prioritizing your time to attend the following best cheese festivals.

American Cheese Society’s Festival of Cheese

This annual conference is fun for cheesemakers as well as cheese aficionados. There are a range of seminars on tasting and pairing as well as the chance the make cheese with experts. The festival also involves a competition featuring over 100 categories and more than 1,500 cheeses. The location of the annual ACS conference and competition changes every year. In July 2017, it will be in Denver.

Vermont Cheesemakers Festival

Vermont has every right to host a well-known cheese festival since it is the top American state in cheese making per capita. The annual festival takes place at Shelburne Farms along Lake Champlain’s shores each July. During the festival, you can taste regional wine and food, watch a cooking demonstration, attend a seminar, or just enjoy all of the cheese around you. In addition to cheese, you will find wine, beer, cider, and spirits along with plenty of workshops.

The Great Northeast Cheese And Dairy Fest

This festival has only happened twice so far, but there are plans to make it an annual tradition. The last event took place at Flushing Town Hall in Queens, New York. Cheese lovers could sample over 75 different artisanal cheeses made by cheesemakers from around the northeast. The cheesemakers in attendance spread throughout the area, including those in Vermont, New York, and in between. There was also plenty of food with a focus on dairy-centric dishes, wine, beer, and cider, all of which was perfectly paired.

Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival

Vermont and Wisconsin are probably the two states in the U.S. best known for making cheese and the Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival is Wisconsin’s time to shine. In 2017, it will be in early June at Doyle Park in Little Chute, Wisconsin. The event is family friendly and includes cheese carving demonstrations, cheese curd eating contests, tastings, a parade, music, cheesecake contests, and rides.

The Great Canadian Cheese Festival

Get ready for a short road trip if you want to attend the Great Canadian Cheese Festival. It takes place in June every year in Prince Edward County, Ontario. During the festival, you can go on cheese tours, attend cheese tasting seminars, or attend the celebrity chef gala.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Easy Ways To Include Cheese In Your Kid’s School Lunch

It’s back-to-school time and that means back to packing school lunches. It can be a bit of a challenge to come up with a variety of nutritious lunches that your child enjoys eating, rather than looking for someone to trade with. As with any meal, it’s important to include all of the major food groups in the school lunch. These are fruits and/or veggies, carbohydrates (preferably complex, not simple carbs), dairy, and protein.

One simple way to provide for your child’s protein and dairy needs is to incorporate cheese into the lunch box in one way or another. Here are a few ideas for you.

Sandwiches

Of course, there is always the old stand-by, a cheese sandwich—mayo on the bread, cheese slices on the bread. Done. But there are as many variations on the cheese sandwich as there are moms to make them and kids to eat them. Try some of these ideas: cheese and dill pickles; cheese and tomato (put the tomato slices between two cheese slices to prevent the bread from becoming soggy); cheese and apple; cheese and lunchmeat; cheese, peanut butter, and strawberry jam; or egg salad with grated cheese. Mix your cheese flavors up, try Swiss, Gouda and aged cheddar.

Try various types of cheeses with various accompaniments to see which combos your kid likes the best. Also try a variety of breads, including tsandwich thins, hamburger or hot dog buns, croissants, pita bread, tortillas, hoagie rolls, or even a bagel.

Lunch Box Fillers

The lunch box sandwich is just the foundation for a great school lunch. Next you need a “side” to go with the sandwich. Here is another place to get creative and add some nutrition to your child’s lunch.

Look for the small cheese and cracker packets, or cheese and pretzel ones. These make great lunch box fillers and kids love them. Try adding cheese curds and pretzel bites or veggie sticks.

String cheese is a nifty way to add interest to your kid’s school lunch. It’s fun to peel down the layers into “strings,” the thinner and stringier, the better. There are also small, individually wrapped cheeses that will go good with a baggie of your kid’s favorite crackers. Or you can put cheese slices and apple slices in a small container. Raisins or other dried fruits will work just as well and give the added nutrition of fruit.

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