It's always a good idea to have these cheese platter all-stars on hand.
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assortment of cheeses
Credit: Shana Novak / Getty Images

There's something so beautifully decadent about the chariot de fromage that parades around the dining room of gastronomic French eateries. While farm-fresh fromage from the Alps may not be as readily accessible as if we were at a French bistro or fromagerie—where cheese options seem endless—you can still curate the perfect cheese platter by stocking up on a few simple grocery store finds.

Some cheeses are intended to be savored as is, with a slice of freshly baked baguette; others are designed to be melted into mac and cheese, sprinkled on a salad, or toasted in a grilled cheese.

Whether you're looking to impress guests with an Instagram-worthy cheese board, want to add a finishing touch to pasta, or simply crave something salty to snack on, you can't go wrong with these cheeses—and that goes for vegan picks, too. From mozzarella to Mimolette, here are the cheeses chefs always have on hand at home—and what to quickly whip up for a last-minute gathering or late-night snack.

Gouda

"At home, we have many aged cheeses to snack on in the fridge. Some favorites are a three-month aged Manchego, Comté, Mimolette, and Gouda. We also always have a spring goat Gouda, an aged goat cheese for my daughter who can't consume cow's milk. She loves it on just about everything!" — Daniel Boulud, chef and restaurateur

Gruyère

"Gruyère is one of those cheeses that is incredibly versatile. Looking to make a high-quality cheese board? Homemade mac and cheese? Making a sandwich? Perhaps you're going really fancy and making your own gougères or cheesy popovers. Gruyère should be one of the first cheeses you reach for in all those instances." — Ian Rynecki, executive chef of Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyard in VA

Bianco Sardo

"At Saint Theo's, we always keep Bianco Sardo stocked in our fridge. It's my personal favorite, and the only finishing cheese we use in the restaurant—no parmesan in-house. Bianco Sardo, which is made from unpasteurized sheep's milk from Sardinia, is slightly nuttier and not as hard." Ashley Rath, executive chef of Saint Theo's in NYC

Burrata

"Drizzled with olive oil, lightly peppered, and topped with a nice leaf of fresh basil, burrata goes wonderfully with fresh tomatoes or pan-fried zucchini." — Arnaud Faye, Meilleur Ouvrier de France and chef of the Christopher Hotel on St. Barts

Mimolette

"A cheese that I always have in my fridge is mimolette, a hard French cheese made in the style of Dutch Edam. Mimolette makes a great grilled cheese sandwich that I also add shrimp and béchamel to. The ideal comfort food!" — Jean-Paul Lourdes, executive chef of The Standard Grill in NYC

Cabrales

"Cabrales is one of my husband, Felix's, favorite cheeses. It is a strong, aromatic blue cheese that is really creamy and delicious on the palate. I always have a blue cheese on hand, and this is definitely our favorite. It's the best thing to throw on steak sandwiches, in a great big salad, or with a little smoked onion jam." — Katie Button, CEO and co-founder of Cúrate Bar de Tapas and Cúrate at Home in Asheville

Vegan Cheese

"I love Miyoko's Organic Cashew Milk Mozzarella because it has a high melting point, melts slightly when I need it to, and also retains its shape. At Etérea, I smoke and fry it for the zucchini taco." — Xila Caudillo, chef of plant-based Etérea in NYC

Miyoko's Vegan Cheese Uses Dairy Science
Credit: Sarah Crowder

"I like the Follow Your Heart brand, mainly the Smoked Gouda and Pepper Jack. These cheeses are both nut- and soy-free, so it's easier to accommodate people with those allergies. Also, they resemble and taste very similar to cheese." — Shenarri Freeman, chef of vegan soul food restaurant Cadence in NYC

Raclette

"I always have the classic melting cheeses like Gruyère, Emmentaler, and Raclette in the house. Mix all three and you are basically pouring Swiss fondue over that pasta casserole for dinner." — Patrick Dahms, executive chef of The Hythe, a Luxury Collection Resort, Vail (which includes Margie's Haas and Revel Lounge)

Pecorino

"Pecorino is super versatile, nice, and salty with a good twang. A favorite guilty pleasure of mine is homemade focaccia grilled over live fire and finished with a nice glug of olive oil, toasted ground black pepper, and a ridiculous amount of freshly grated pecorino." Jeff Hundelt, executive chef of Summer House on Music Lane at Hotel Magdalena in Austin, TX 

"With pecorino, you can always whip up a great pasta with a pantry running on empty—whether it's carbonara (eggs, bacon, pecorino), a simple fresh tomato sauce, or even cacio e pepe, which is nothing more than pecorino and black pepper, but sublimely delicious." — Anthony Carron, founder and executive chef of 800° Degrees Pizza and Coast Range Restaurant in Solvang, CA

Camembert

"The cheese I will always have in my fridge is a Camembert, a traditional French soft cheese. I am also partial to my own creation: a salted butter Camembert marinated in Calvados and enrobed in breadcrumbs, prepared in my kitchen at Le Bristol Paris and aged in the newly opened in-house cheese cellar." Eric Frechon, chef of Le Bristol Paris

Boursin

"The cheese that's always in my fridge is Boursin! I actually brought it in for family meal at Quince when I worked there, and once I did, chef Michael Tusk demanded I keep it in stock. Every day, he'd snack on some, and so would I! It's also great in omelets, pasta sauce, or mixed in pizza sauce." — Shawn Gawle, executive pastry chef of Houston-based Goodnight Hospitality (which includes March and Rosie Cannonball)

Mobay

"Recently, I've been enjoying a Mobay cheese out of Wisconsin—the state's version of the French Morbier. It has a layer of sheep's milk cheese and a layer of goat milk cheese separated by a thin layer of grape vine ash. I usually place a few slices on simply grilled country bread with a drizzle of great olive oil and salt and pepper." — Christian Brassfield, executive chef of Waldorf Astoria Chicago

Grana Padano

"Amazing for pasta dishes like cacio e pepe, it is less crumbly and salty, so it is much more forgiving when you are trying to make a smooth sauce for pasta. I love this grated on top of my scramble or frittata." — Narita Santos, chef of The Exchange at Freehand Los Angeles

Blue Cheese

"I always have blue cheese (Gorgonzola or Roquefort) on hand as I like to make toast with blue cheese and butter as a snack." — ­Eric Ripert, chef and co-owner of three Michelin-starred Le Bernardin in NYC

"I'm a big fan of blue cheese, especially Valdeón from Castilla y León, Spain. It's a goat and cow cheese wrapped in sycamore leaves that's creamy, rich, salty, and spicy. I use it in salads with kale, almonds, and pears. I also love to have it by itself on toast with some sweet membrillo (quince paste)." —Sergio Chamizo, executive chef of Mareva1939 at the National Hotel in Miami

Crostini with Grilled Sweet Onions and Blue Cheese Recipe
Credit: Johnny Autry

Mozzarella

"I always have a low-moisture mozzarella log in the fridge. It's the master of melt and key for pizza, but it can also be the supporting character for cheddar in sandwiches, grilled cheese, and nachos. Buy the log and shred it yourself—the pre-shredded will never give you the foot-long melted cheese pull." — Jet Tila, chef and restaurateur

Parmigiano-Reggiano

"A really good, quality Parmigiano for eating and for grating." — Scott Conant, James Beard Award-winning chef and author of Peace, Love, and Pasta

"I adore Parmigiano-Reggiano that is aged at least 24 months. It's perfect for a tasty solo lunch or dinner, or to treat your family or friends to the perfect Italian aperitivo. You can enjoy it on its own, or pair it with fresh bread, olives, cold cuts, and a glass of Italian red wine." — Fabio Ciervo, executive chef of Michelin-starred La Terrazza at Hotel Eden in Rome

American Cheese

"I have kids, and I am a kid at heart, and while I love a great gourmet grilled cheese, there is something about a couple slices of American cheese, white bread, and butter toasted until creamy that just makes the world slow down." — Brandon Collins, mustard sommelier for Maille and former executive chef of The Roundhouse in Hudson Valley, NY

"Kraft Singles—the most important cheese to have in your house. Grilled cheese, tuna melt, burger, chicken sandwich, eggs—I could go on and on. It's like yellow salt." — Jordan Anderson, executive chef and co-owner of Sami & Susu in NYC

Comté

"Whether it's my home fridge or the walk-in at Butcher's House, I always make sure we're stocked with Comté cheese. It's a semi-hard cow's milk cheese produced in the Jura Mountains in eastern France. As a French immigrant now living in the United States, Comté is nostalgic to me. If you close your eyes and take a bite, its delicately briny and earthy notes transport you to the mountains' rolling green pastures. At Butcher's House, we melt Comté over our burger and thinly slice it for our classic jambon sandwich. At home, I enjoy breaking off a piece of Comté, tearing off a piece of baguette, and enjoying both in their rustic simplicity with a glass of wine." — Jeoffrey Offer, chef/owner of Butcher's House Brasserie in Costa Mesa, CA

"I like this French cheese, as it's very versatile. It can easily be used in simple recipes (baked, grated on a pasta dish, mixed in a sauce), or just eaten on its own. My personal preference goes to young Comté, which is more fruity than old Comté, which is often served in restaurants." — Amaury Bouhours, executive chef of two Michelin-starred le Meurice Alain Ducasse in Paris

Idiazábal

"My absolute favorite cheese is Idiazábal. This artisanal, handmade pressed cheese is made from unpasteurized sheep milk from the Basque Country or Navarra. It stands out because of its hard but soft texture and light smoky flavor, which is a natural characteristic. Idiazábal is the best cheese to snack on with a great bottle of wine, and an ideal way to elevate croquetas or upgrade any recipe that calls for Parmigiano-Reggiano." — Mikel Goikolea, executive chef of LEKU in Miami

Délice de Bourgogne

"I seem to always have Délice de Bourgogne cheese on hand! This triple-cream brie is amazing since it is slightly acidic like crème fraîche, making it the perfect complement to a jammy breakfast toast, an epic BLT spread, and, of course, some honeycomb and toasted bread to end the day."— Jessica Scott, corporate pastry chef of 50 Eggs Hospitality Group (which includes CHICA & Yardbird Table & Bar)

Brie

"I'm a sucker for a wedge of gooey Brie. My idea of a perfect dinner is toasty baguette, quince spread, and slightly melted Brie. Baked Brie, cold sliced on a sandwich—there is a no wrong way to go." — Bonnie Moore, executive chef of Three Sisters and Sycamore at Blackberry Mountain in TN

"There are three types of cheese that are essential to me: goat cheese, just because it is my favorite, and then both a hard and soft cheese. I always have a piece of Comté cheese as a hard cheese option and some Brie for the soft."Jean-Denis Rieubland, chef of Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa in France

Baked Cheese with Herbs and Crudites Recipe
Credit: Victor Protasio

Marinated Feta

"I almost always have a jar of marinated feta from Meredith Dairy in my fridge. This cheese is unlike any other feta you have tasted—it is an insanely creamy blend of sheep and goat milk that is addictive on its own but will also elevate a grain bowl, salad, or avocado toast. You can also whip it and serve it as a dip for vegetable crudités." — Madeline Sperling, executive chef of Zou Zou's in NYC

"Marinated goat Aussie feta is a staple in my fridge. It's not as salty as Greek feta and has a creamy texture, making it a great addition to omelets, salads, or a charcuterie board with grilled bread." — Melissa Sallman, executive chef ofJW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa 

Moliterno al Tartufo

"Moliterno al Tartufo by Central Formaggi is always on hand in my fridge. This aged Italian sheep's milk cheese infused with black truffles is simply sublime. The crumbly, smooth, and oily texture of the cheese curds and the streaks of black truffle bits throughout the cheese are a match made in heaven. A little sourdough bread and a gamay noir to go with the cheese will be divine." — Cameron Smith, fromager at three Michelin-starred The Inn at Little Washington in Washington, DC

Quesillo

"The most-loved cheese in my fridge would have to be Oaxaca. This cheese from Mexico is excellent when it comes to melting, since it's similar to mozzarella but has a bit more creaminess. The reason I always keep it in my fridge is because I love late-night snacks like nachos, quesadillas, and tortas (Mexican sandwiches)." — Daniel Sokolov, chef de cuisine of The Parlour Room in NYC