Fresh goat cheese
This creamy, tangy cheese originated in France, where it is known as chèvre. American cheesemakers now produce versions that rival the best imports. (Coach Farm's goat cheese button is one award-winning example.) The cheese's shape—bouchon, crottin, log—is often part of its name. Crumble goat cheese into salads, or serve it with grilled vegetables; it's also delicious with fruits like kiwi or apricot.
Recipe: Salad with Peaches, Goat Cheese, and Prosciutto
Drain cottage cheese of its whey and press the curds into a mold, and you'll have farmer's cheese—sweet and mild, and also springy and sliceable. Made of cow's milk, farmer's cheese is good on sandwiches or as a counterpoint to fruits.
A cow's milk cheese from Central Europe that's similar to ricotta but slightly sour, like yogurt. A good snack if stuffed into celery, as well as a perfect dessert alongside berry compote.
Recipe: Quark with Honeyed Apples and Raisin Bread
Fresh mozzarella is typically made from cow's milk, but the water buffalo version is even richer and smoother. At its best, a drizzle of olive oil and freshly ground pepper is all it needs.
This high-fat cow's milk cheese is the Italian version of cream cheese. Used mostly in sweets (tiramisu, for example), it's also a great way to thicken a pasta sauce; mixed with anchovies, it makes a tasty spread.
A salty Cypriot cheese made from the milk of goats, sheep, and sometimes cows, halloumi can be fried without melting. It is often served as an appetizer with a lemony dip or eaten raw with mint and watermelon.
Recipe: Halloumi with Summer Vegetable Ragout
The salted and dried version of what we layer into lasagna, this is a milky-white, solid sheep's milk cheese that can be grated, shaved, or diced and tossed into salads or pastas.