Serious Eats: Talk

Spanish Cheese Help!

I'm currently living in Spain for a few months (long, long story) and the cooking situation has been a bit of a challenge.The grocery store was a mystery for awhile, but I've pretty much figured out the meats, veggies and most of the canned goods, but the cheese section has me completely stumped. There are about 80 different varieties of cheese in every grocery store, none of them with names. They all look different, but say things like "semi-cured cheese" on them, and quite frankly I'm terrified to just pick one, I have no idea what I'd do with it. I've been sticking mostly to the familiar English deli-counter ones, but I'd love to branch out into the glass cases!

Does anyone know anything about Spanish cheese, and how I'd go about choosing one and preparing it? I know some of you will say "just try one and eat it!" but I know they have a lot of really bitter cheeses, and I heard a rumor that some of the uncured cheeses have bacteria in them that can be harmful to non-natives.

Also - communicating with the staff is not really an option, it's mostly "gracias" and smiling.

Also - if anyone has any insight into Spanish groceries I may have missed, which is very likely, please share!

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