Cheese is an interesting category of food. After all, it can be a side, a topping, or even a main (ever eaten fondue?)- but is it also a condiment?
Since a condiment is defined as being any kind of prep, spice, or sauce that you add to a dish for enhanced flavor, cheese definitely fits.
If plain old table salt counts as a condiment, the argument could be made for your favorite cheese, too!
Is Cheese a Condiment?
Cheese is- but also is not- a condiment. The type of preparation and serving of the cheese is what dictates whether it is a condiment. For instance, when you top a taco with shredded cheese or sprinkle some parmesan on your buttered noodles, cheese is a condiment. However, when cheese is served as a main dish like in fondue, on pizza, or in a casserole, it steps outside the confines of a condiment.
Can you use cheese as a condiment? Keep reading to learn more!
Cheese as a Condiment
Have you ever thought about cheese as being a condiment?
Whenever you top a burger, taco, or bowl of pasta with cheese, you are essentially using it as a condiment.
Much like sauces, toppings, and dressings, cheese enhances the flavor and palatability of certain foods.
Under this guideline, things like salt and pepper are also condiments- though cooks would be foolish not to use these in their recipes.
Does the inherent need to add salt to a dish change its status from a condiment to an essential element?
It really depends on who you ask and how you use it!
If you’re sprinkling cheese on top of a cooked dish, well, it’s a condiment!
If you’re eating it as the main ingredient, then maybe not!
A more obvious answer to whether cheese can act as a condiment may lie with the simple- yet luscious- cheese sauce.
When you drizzle, spoon, or pour cheese sauce on a potato, bowl of pasta, or slice of bread, you use it as a condiment.
Sure, the foods it is enhancing could be eaten without the addition of the cheese condiment- but why would you want to?
Despite this fact, you cannot deny that it is the cheese that often elevates the dish and makes it more palatable.
Some diners would not consider eating a plain baked potato or a tossed salad without the addition of a hearty sprinkle of cheese- does this alter cheese’s status as a condiment?
Again, the argument could be made that cheese is a condiment, though an invaluable and palate-pleasing one, that many people would never consider leaving out or off their favorite fare.
Cheese As Food Items
So, when is cheese the star of the plate? Cheese is more than a condiment and is an actual food item in many instances.
For example, a cheese plate is fare, not condiments- but more on that later!
Also, a cheese fondue, cheese souffle, or simple snack of a grilled cheese sandwich does not qualify as utilizing cheese as a condiment.
These are food items and very popular ones at that.
Perhaps cheese transitions from condiment to fare when it no longer plays a supporting role on the plate but is one of the main attractions.
When you give your child a string of cheese to snack on or nibble on a handful of crackers with your favorite cheddar, these become snack items rather than condiments.
Melt the string cheese or cheddar down over a bowl of noodles and it becomes a condiment.
Cheese Plates and Condiments
Cheese plates are a different situation.
In this example, there is no disputing that cheese is the star of the show and, in fact, pairs well with a wide range of its own cheese plate condiments.
A cheese plate would not be possible without cheese- and all the other components play supporting roles.
Some great things to pair with your plate include hot honey, sour cherry preserves, mustard, marmalades, and chutney.
Frequently Asked Questions About Is Cheese and Condiment
Is cheese a condiment?
Cheese may be used as a condiment- such as on a burger or taco- or as its own entity, such as in a fondue or cheesy casserole.
Is cheese a condiment on a burger?
Whether cheese is a condiment on a burger is subjective. If the burger is a cheeseburger- whereas the cheese is one of the stars of the show- it could be considered a component of the main dish, rather than a condiment or topping.
Is cheese a condiment on a sandwich?
Whether cheese is a condiment on a sandwich is subject to debate. The famous food franchise, Subway, categorizes cheese as a ‘condiment and extra’ item according to their own criteria.
What can you serve with a cheese plate for accompaniments?
Jams, chutneys, honey, nuts, and dried fruits are natural and tasty accompaniments for cheese. Also, make sure to serve crispy crackers, chips, or bread rounds on the cheese plate.
What are some good garnishes for a cheese plate?
Edible garnishes are always recommended. When it comes to a cheese plate, crackers or bread are a good pairing. A bunch of fresh grapes, a few figs, or dried dates are also good garnishes for cheese plates.
Condiment or not, what would we do without cheese?
Cheese is a versatile food, easily stepping into the spotlight as a main dish to sitting on the sidelines as a topping or condiment.
However it is that you enjoy your cheese, it is arguably one of the most flexible and flavorful fares found!