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Photo: Hannah Whitaker

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Cream of the crop
Lush, spreadable Brie (or its cousin, triple crème) is often the first cheese to disappear at a party. Liz Thorpe of Murray's Cheese (which has recently opened ministores in select Kroger supermarkets around the country) shares three less-expected alternatives to the classic, plus the best ways to store and serve them.

Top: This may look like a standard triple crème, but a filtration process that removes excess water results in an extra-buttery texture.

Middle: Thorpe calls this unique Portuguese sheep's-milk wheel a "cream bomb." It's also an hors d'oeuvres centerpiece: Slice off the top rind, then scoop into the delicately flavored, pudding-like interior.

Bottom: This tangy, aromatic cow's-milk wedge is like a cross between Brie and Gorgonzola, making it the perfect starter cheese for the blue-shy.