When we entertain, this is what I buy. It's about 40% cheaper than buying the cheeses at Whole Foods or a fancy cheesemonger, and just as delicious, as far as I'm concerned.
  1. Italian Truffle Cheese
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    Creamy, mild, and flecked with real black truffles. People go crazy for it.
  2. Saint André
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    The creamiest of the triple cremes, with a buttery, clean flavor. Skip the triple creme Brie, and go for this one instead.
  3. Goat Milk Brie
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    Ok, don't skip all the Brie. This soft rind cheese has the pungency of goat cheese in the creamy, runny form of Brie. Plus, the rounds are little and very cute. If you're into wrapping Brie in puff pastry and baking it, this is a good one to do that with (and the TJ's puffed pastry is great).
  4. Cambozola
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    Like a blushing bride, you always want something blue to balance all that white. I find most straight blue cheeses hard to eat with bread or crackers, since they are often crumbly. Cambozola, which is a blend of creamy Camembert and Gorgonzola, is easy to spread and is plenty pungent, like a good blue cheese should be.
  5. An interesting aged cheddar cheese
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    Trader Joe's has several special cheddars, and people love have something that is familiar but new at the same time. English Coastal Cheddar is @evan's favorite, and there's a good one with caramelized onions. I'm currently really into their Smoked Chile Cheddar Cheese, which has all the smokiness of Gouda, but more tartness, and habanero, jalapeño, and pasilla chiles.
  6. Baguette
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    Trader Joe's usually carries a few fresh breads from your region's local bakery. I like the ones from Semifreddi's in Northern California. Just slice it up and serve it wrapped in a clean dish towel or napkin.
  7. Fig & Olive Crisps
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    You know those delicious but wildly expensive Raincoast Crisps they sell in every fancy cheese shop? These are like those but cost a fraction of the price. They also come in Rosemary & Raisin, which are very tasty.
  8. Hot & Sweet Pepper Jelly
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    This spicy jam made from hot peppers is perfect with creamy cheeses. I serve it in a little bowl or espresso cup with a tiny spoon.
  9. Marcona Almonds with Rosemary
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    With their silky exterior and salty-rosemary flavoring, these almonds round out the cheese plate with some much-needed crunch. They also come in a truffle flavor, which I serve if I'm not serving the truffle cheese.