Whether the cheese you buy is imported or locally produced, it is undoubtedly expensive and perishable. Buy it from a store that takes pride in offering quality cheeses--one that has a steady turnover. Once you get home, be sure to store the cheese carefully to maintain its integrity. Here's how:
--Buy cheese in small quantities and refrigerate, tightly enveloped in plastic wrap.
--Cut away any mold as it develops and wrap cheese in fresh plastic.
--Fresh cheese, such as soft goat cheese, is the most perishable because of its high moisture content; buy it in judicious quantities to avoid waste.
--Many cheeses freeze very well--Cheddar, Edam, Swiss, Parmesan, Romano and mozzarella. These are most often used shredded, so shred them right after purchasing, while each is still at its prime (the food processor does an incredibly fast job!) and freeze in airtight plastic bags, keeping each variety separate. You will then have plenty on hand to add to salads, pastas, rice dishes, hot soups, casseroles and sandwiches. In these cholesterol- and fat-conscious times, remember that a little cheese adds a lot of flavor.