10 Gateway Artisanal Cheeses To Turn Newbies Into Turophiles (PHOTOS)

I remember when approaching a cheese counter was extremely intimidating for me. When you don't quite know what you're looking for -- or how to explain what you want -- going up to a gleaming case of cheese in all sorts of wheels and rectangles doesn't seem like fun at all. I knew I liked Cheddar, and would wolf down any goat cheese that came across my plate, but I definitely couldn't tell the difference between a washed rind and a bloomy rind. Actually, I didn't even know what a washed rind was.

Then, I tried Humboldt Fog. I don't even remember when, or why, but ever since tasting that creamy and slightly sour goat cheese from Cypress Grove Chevre, I was hooked on fancy cheeses (I'm not the only one). I began to read about cheese, and taste more. Now, I can approach the cheese counter with ease and ask the cheesemongers questions about what they have (also helpful: they give you free samples!).

During the early stages of my dairy journey, I was spreading the Humboldt Fog gospel as far as I could, until my friend correctly pointed out that Humboldt Fog seemed like a gateway cheese -- it makes you want try others like it. It is the marijuana of cheese. It opens up a world beyond flabby orange slices and powdered stuff from a can masquerading as a legitimate Italian cheese. Humboldt Fog also prompted my discovery of several more gateway cheeses -- cheeses that are so good that you can't wait to recommend them to someone else, in hopes that they also experience a dairy epiphany and get addicted as well.

Too much poetic waxing? Hopefully one of the cheeses below will make you understand why:

Gateway Artisanal Cheese