String cheese was always a lunchbox standby. It may not have been the highlight like chocolate chip cookies or Hostess Sno Balls, but it was salty and fun to eat—an acceptable outlet for those urges to play with your food. Years later, we still haven't grown too old for string cheese. Even if it doesn't have the most complex, nuanced flavor, it has a special time and place. What's the best brand of string-able dairy out there? We tasted 10 nationally available varieties to find out.
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Last month Erin conducted a string cheese poll asking Serious Eaters how they ate it: string-by-string or bite-by-bite. The results had more than 80% of you stringing it. But my method wasn't exactly either: it first involves unbraiding. I buy my string cheese in braids that float in brine at the Middle Eastern shops in Watertown, Massachusetts. And, I do string it before serving it to family and friends as a lovely pile of strings! With that, the seed was planted for a string cheese-inspired road trip.
String cheese isn't called cheese, it's called string cheese. For a reason. You're supposed to string it. But there was always that kid on the playground who just bit into it like a candy bar. Who gave him this right to ignore the "string" part? Later on in life, I realized that many people—I knew and respected—were that kid. You mean you could just chomp on it and live with yourself? To me the cheese always tasted better in wispy strands than in big chews. Plus, it'd last longer this way. But I've stopped judging. So tell us, what type of string cheese eater are you? Take the poll! »