The Best Cheeses To Bring To A Picnic To Avoid A Melted Disaster

When it comes to hosting a perfect picnic, we all have our favorite foods to bring, from charcuterie platters to sweet treats. But one picnic food that can prove tricky is cheese. Pick a soft cheese such as Camembert, or a blue cheese such as Roquefort, and you can find that it's starting to go soggy or melt in the heat, which is unappetizing. Plus, melty, soggy cheese creates a mess.

But some cheeses can handle being outdoors in the sunshine better than others according to cheese expert Chad Galer, who is VP of Product Innovation and Food Safety at Dairy Management, Inc. When packing your picnic, it's best to "primarily focus on firm or hard cheeses," suggests Galer, who grew up on a dairy farm, earned a degree in microbiology, and has spent his entire career working in dairy. Needless to say, he knows his way around cheeses.

Aged cheddar is a good bet for a picnic, says Galer. And the good news is that this much-loved cheese is incredibly versatile, too, from simply serving a few slices with a crusty baguette and butter to using the leftovers to make your own easy cheddar scones. Parmesan or aged gouda also work well at a picnic, advises Galer. Even better, these two cheeses pair well with a refreshing glass of lemonade, making them perfect for al fresco dining. Alternatively, Galer suggests you try a more unusual option at your next picnic: bread cheese.

Why bread cheese is the ultimate picnic cheese

A semi-soft Finnish cheese, known as juustoleipä or leipäjuusto, bread cheese is also becoming increasingly popular in America, made with pasteurized cow's milk rather than the traditional reindeer milk used in Scandinavia. Getting its name from the charred crust (which looks a bit like toasted bread), cheesemakers achieve this by baking the curds until lightly toasted. Bread cheese makes for an inspired addition to picnics thanks to the unique way it handles heat.

Bread cheese "doesn't melt when heated, not even on the grill," explains Chad Galer, who has served as a judge at international cheese competitions and is renowned for coming up with creative cheese pairings. With a mild, slightly sweet taste, bread cheese can be eaten hot or cold, becoming softer and less squeaky when heated, similar to halloumi. When it's warm, the texture is similar to that of French toast, according to Wisconsin Cheese. Think grilled cheese but without the bread.

If you'd like to try it warm, Galer suggests heating the bread cheese for a minute or two on each side, which results in a cheese that has "a silky smooth texture and toasted cheese and butter flavor." You can then serve the warm cheese with a sweet preserve, or even a marinara sauce, states Galer. But, however you choose to serve your bread cheese, it's sure to take your picnic platter to the next level.