Must-Try Incredible Cheese Dishes from Around the World (Slideshow)

Cheese is wonderfully versatile and is widely enjoyed in many popular and traditional dishes across the world

Greek Saganaki

Flickr/ Steven Depolo

Saganaki is usually any of a number of traditional Greek dishes prepared in a small frying pan, though the best known of these is an appetizer made of fried cheese. Traditionally the cheese of preference is usually graviera, kefalograviera, halloumi, kasseri, kefalotyri, or feta cheese. The cheese is melted in a small frying pan until it is bubbling and generally served with lemon juice and pepper. You eat it by scooping it up with chunks of bread.

Mexican Queso Fundido

Flickr/ YVRBCbro

Mexican queso fundido is a little like a really rich and creamy Mexican fondue. Though, unlike fondue, you don’t dip anything in it, instead, you scoop it onto tortillas. If you like, serve a little pico de gallo or diced fresh tomatoes on the side.

Italian Frico

Flickr/ Danielle Scott

In the U.S. it’s called a cheese crisp but in its native Italy, the frico is a wafer of shredded cheese mixed in with some flour and baked or fried until crisp. Seldom eaten just solo, the frico is traditionally used to garnish soups or stews. They’re also not always just a plain crisp shape… sometimes the wafer is shaped into baskets or bowls and other food can be served in them.

Cypriot Halloumi

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There are different kinds of this “squeaky cheese” but a popular version is Cypriot halloumi, which is most often served warm to bring out the flavor and a softer texture. When halloumi is made, the curds are cooked for more than an hour, which gives the cheese a rubbery texture that softens but never completely melts. It’s cooked by frying slices of halloumi in a pan or on the grill but it can also be cubed and skewered with meat and vegetables. 

Swiss Fondue

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Fondue is enjoyed across the globe, but it still is a traditionally Swiss dish (also enjoyed in Italian and French regions of Europe) Melted cheese is served in a communal pot (caquelon) over a mobile stove (réchaud), and eaten by dipping long-stemmed forks with bread into the cheese. It was promoted as a Swiss national dish by the Schweizerische Käseunion in the 1930s, and was popularized in U.S. in the 1960s.

Serbia Urnebes

Flickr/ Ivana Sokolovic

This type of salad is characteristic of southern Serbian cuisine. Traditionally it’s made of cheese and very hot chili peppers which are combined with several other spices and salt. The heat of the dish can be varied depending on how much chili pepper is used. While not usually served as a main dish, it accompanies barbecued food and other popular main dishes.

Georgian Khachapuri

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It may look a bit like a buttery calzone but khachapuri is actually a Georgian specialty — it’s a traditional, cheese-filled bread dish. The bread is leavened and allowed to rise, and it can be shaped into a variety of shapes. Though the filling is mostly cheese you can also add other ingredients including eggs, meat, and potatoes. 

Indian Paneer

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Paneer is a fresh cheese frequently used in South Asian cuisine and is very similar to the Mexican queso blanco. Paneer is so popular because it is moist, soft and crumbly in texture, and a great addition to dishes like sandesh, mutter paneer and rasgulla. It is also a wonderfully rich source of milk protein.

Argentine Provoleta

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Provoleta is a simple yet incredibly versatile grilled dish that makes a wonderful appetizer to many Argentine meals. Provoleta is a trademark for an Argentine variant of provolone cheese described as "Argentine pulled-curd Provolone cheese." Developed and trademarked in the 1940s, it is now eaten widely in Argentina and Uruguay. Provoleta is often topped with chili pepper and oregano, and is placed directly on the grill, on small stones or inside a foil plate, and cooked until part-melted.