What is the best cheese for melting? Try these top cheeses for toasties

Which cheese works best in a toasted sandwich?
Which cheese works best in a toasted sandwich? Photo: Jennifer Soo

Cheese matters. All chefs will tell you they are only as good as their ingredients, and I always try to use the best I can afford. 

I asked my friend and cheese expert Anthony Femia, from Maker & Monger at Prahran Market in Melbourne, for a few notes on each cheese to help you get the most out of your toasties.

Chefs Eat Toasties Too by Darren Purchese.
Chefs Eat Toasties Too by Darren Purchese. Photo: Hardie Grant

Montgomery cheddar

Somerset, England

The king of cloth-bound cheddars, this cheese has the perfect melting texture and exhibits rich beef broth flavours with grassy undernotes. You should always match this cheese with equally rich ingredients for the ultimate Sunday brunch toastie.

Ian Fowler, of Bay of Fires in Tasmania, makes his award-winning cheddar in a shipping container.

Ian Fowler makes his award-winning cheddar in a shipping container. Photo: Chris Crerar

Bay of Fires cloth-bound cheddar

Bay of Fires Cheese, Tasmania

A 13th-generation cheesemaker, Englishman Ian Fowlers draws on traditional methods used by his family to produce his cloth-bound cheddar at St Helens on the east coast of Tasmania. He makes and matures his cheddars in repurposed shipping containers.

Asiago

Veneto, Italy

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There are two different types of asiago on the market. The young pressato is pliable, with soft notes of sweetness and acid, and has a great pH level for melting, resulting in a very stringy pull. The matured asiago is aged like a parmesan with deeper flavours and a denser texture.

Gouda

Holland

Aged gouda has an incredibly rich and lingering caramel flavour with crunchy calcium crystals adding to the sensory delight of this cheese. Be careful though, as gouda separates during melting, with the fats and proteins splitting and causing a clear liquid residue that runs off the plate.

Emmental

France and Switzerland

Emmental is one of the best melting cheeses and the main ingredient of delicious fondue. Its pH level gives it the perfect melting point, resulting in a molten liquid that is stringy and holds its shape at the same time.

Bulgarian feta

A softer style of feta than its Greek counterpart, it has a slightly sweet and creamy flavour with a citrus tang.

Gorgonzola piccante

Lombardy, Italy

An aged cow's milk blue cheese from the north of Italy with a slight crumbly texture and prominent blue spice on the palate. It has a low melting point due to its high moisture content, so don't overcook it.

Parmigiano Reggiano

Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Look for reggiano aged 18 months or less for an incredibly sweet and rich flavour. Reggiano will always slightly separate when melted, with the fats becoming a clear liquid. Reggiano always brings out the best in its paired ingredients.

Gruyere

Fribourg, Switzerland

Another of the staple melting cheeses, this alpine cheese melts to a perfect texture with incredible stringiness when pulled. Rich and nutty flavours abounding, this is perfect for your toasties.

Raclette cheese melted under a special lamp and scraped over a stack of confit potatoes for Maker & Monger.

Raclette cheese scraped over confit potatoes at Maker & Monger. 

Raclette

Australia, Switzerland and France

Make sure you use the rind of raclette when grilling, as this washed-rind, semi-hard cheese exhibits all its incredible flavours in its rind. Smelly, yet savoury, raclette has a beautiful melting texture and adds another dimension to your toasted cheese sandwich.

Fontina Val d'Aosta

Val d'Aosta, Italy

Italy's answer to raclette, this washed-rind alpine cheese has an incredibly savoury flavour with a lingering sharpness. A perfect uniform melting texture gives way to a robust aroma and flavour when this cheese is grilled with its rind.

Comte

Franche-Comte, France

The most popular cheese in France and rightly so. Comte can be eaten any time of the day. It exhibits a beautiful floral aroma with distinct flavours reminiscent of cashew nuts and honey. This French gruyere is the benchmark for all melting cheeses with its perfect melting texture and flavour release.

Taleggio

Lombardy, Italy

An Italian washed-rind cheese that has a sweet milky flavour with underlying notes of yeast. It is best to cut the rind off this cheese as, when melted, it tends to lend an unwanted bitterness to the dish.

Fresh mozzarella

Australia and Italy

Mozzarella, with its silky texture and gentle sweet flavours, is the perfect cheese for a grilled cheese combination, where it lends an incredible stringiness and viscous texture without dominating flavours.

Burrata.

Burrata is a luxurious alternative to mozzarella. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Burrata

Australia and Italy

Like a pimped-out mozzarella, burrata is a stretched-curd cheese with a filling of cream and mozzarella. It will increase the richness of your toastie with its unctuous interior and is best used in grilled cheese sandwiches that require minimal toasting, due to its high moisture content and quick melting.

This is an edited extract from Chefs Eat Toasties Too by Darren Purchese, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $29.99, available in stores nationally.