There was a time when many equated American cheese with industrially processed cheese, but now in fact there is a great diversity of high-quality artisanal cheeses being made in the United States.
Brick is a sweet, nutty-tasting American cheese with a soft, semi-firm texture. The colour will range from white to pale-yellow. It’s an all-purpose cheese, great on sandwiches or cheese trays, but it also melts well in cooked dishes.
Colby cheese is an American cheese somewhat like a cheddar, but with a milder taste, and a more elastic, moister texture.
Cottage cheese is an unaged, “fresh” soft white curd-type cheese made from skim milk. It can be eaten as is, or seasoned or flavoured, or used as an ingredient in cooking.
Cream cheese is a smooth, spreadable, unripened cheese that tastes mildly tangy. The standard cream cheese is white and unflavoured, though many different colours and flavours are now available.
Creole cream cheese is milk curd mixed with clabber cream. It is often served with breakfast in New Orleans, used as a topping for fruit or spread on toast.
Farmer’s Cheese can be thought of as a cottage cheese from which most of the moisture is pressed out of the curd, and which is then typically pressed into a loaf shape.
Guler Blue Cheese was an attempt at making a Roquefort cheese in the United States. It was aged in caves, first in Washington State and then later in Oregon.
Hoop Cheese is a term that is used to refer to either an American Hard Cheese or an American Soft Cheese. Wheels of the hard type would live on specially-made cutters in country general stores.
Humboldt Fog is a goat’s milk cheese with a line of ash through it. Like Brie, the cheese develops a white-velvet like mould and is creamy in the centre.
Lamb Chopper Cheese is smooth, firm and yellow inside, with a mild, almost sweet taste. It is made in the Netherlands and aged in the U.S.A. Its label shows a lamb on a motorcycle complete with helmet and scarf.
Liederkranz® is an American Limburger-style cheese with a strong aroma. Inside, the aged cheeses are soft, almost spreadable, and a honey colour. The rind is golden.
Maytag Blue Cheese is a mild blue cheese with a bit of a lemony tang to it. The texture is moist and crumbly. And yes, it is made by members of the Maytag family.
Monterey Jack Cheese is a semi-soft white cheese that shreds and melts well. It has a mild flavour, and is often used in Tex-Mex cooking as an ingredient and as a garnish.
American-style mozzarella comes in blocks, looks like a pale yellow cheddar and has a rubbery texture. It is almost always used as a cooking cheese.
Pinconning Cheese is an aged, semi-firm cheese made from whole cow’s milk. It is somewhere between Cheddar and Colby, but unlike Colby it can be aged.
Point Reyes Original Blue is a farmhouse blue cheese. It is very creamy and not crumbly, with no rind. The cheese body is white, with sparse bluish-grey mould veining it. The mild taste has a bit of a tang.
Pot Cheese is a soft, fresh cheese. It is basically a higher-fat, slightly salty pressed dry cottage cheese with large curds, sold in small tubs or pots. It has a neutral taste.
Rondelé® cheese is a smooth, spreadable cream cheese that comes in many flavours and with varying fat content. It is a snacking cheese, frequently presented on a cheeseboard with crackers.
Swiss Cheese is a North American generic imitation of Emmenthal cheese. It’s a hard, ivory-coloured cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk. It has a mildly nutty flavour.
Tillamook is the name of a brand of American cheddar. It is made in white and orange varieties, and sold aged 2, 3 and 15 months.