Did you know that grilled cheese day is April 12th? If you love to bite into an ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwich on occasion, you are going to want to know that it is not made the same way all around the world. You may also want to be aware that grilled cheese was originally known as toasted cheese or melted cheese. It’s quite funny how the name of the sandwich has changed over the years, while the ingredients haven’t here and in other countries!
Over here in the US, we usually slather the outside of two slices of bread with butter and insert a slice or two of cheese in the middle before putting the bread, butter side out, in a frying pan to cook. Sometimes, we might add in a tomato or a couple of slices of ham, but most of the time, it is cheese and nothing else. Add a cup of tomato soup and you have an easy and complete meal!
Grilled Cheese from Around the World
Other areas around the world do not eat their grilled cheese the same way though, so I thought it would be fun to share how their sandwiches are made!
Australia – Vegemite with Cheese
Over in Australia, they eat a lot of vegemite, which is a dark spread that they make from a yeast extract. While it may not appeal to you, they put it on everything, including their grilled cheese sandwiches.
Venezuela – Arepa de Queso
Down in Venezuela, they use cornbread on the outside of their grilled cheese sandwiches and fill that bread with shredded cheese.
Italy – Panini
Italy is famous for its paninis, but it is the Caprese panini that closely resembles our grilled cheese sandwiches. Thick slices of mozzarella are piled onto the bread before tomatoes and basil are added and another slice of bread is placed on top. The entire sandwich is placed into a panini press until the cheese is melted.
England – Cheese Toastie
The cheese toasties in England are very similar to our grilled cheese sandwiches, but they put butter on the inside of the bread too.
France – Croque Monsieur
The French always go all out when it comes to their food, so it is not shocking that their grilled cheese uses ham and Gruyere. Once the sandwich has been grilled, bechamel sauce is added to the top with even more Gruyere.
Mexico – Quesadilla
The Mexicans use tortillas as their bread, so they basically place shredded cheese in between two tortillas and warm them until the cheese is melted. While they eat plain cheese quesadillas, most of the time, they add different types of meat, beans, and even peppers to give them more flavor.
Wales – Welsh Rarebit
Only one piece of bread is used for this type of grilled cheese. Once cheese sauce is placed on the bread, it is all broiled until it is toasty and slightly brown.
On National Grilled Cheese Day, you may want to try making one of these other versions of grilled cheese to see if they taste better than the grilled cheese sandwiches you are used to. Let me know below if you find a new favorite or if you make grilled cheese sandwiches different from all the options I mentioned above!
One of my favorites is
Grilled Cheese with Tomatoes and Bacon
2 large heirloom tomatoes sliced thick
Sea salt (such as Maldon)
12 oz. bacon
8 slices thick-cut bread
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 lb. sliced Gruyère cheese
1/2 lb. sliced provolone
1. Season tomatoes with sea salt and set aside.
2. In a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, place bacon in an even layer and cook until crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
3. Spread each piece of bread with a thin layer of mayonnaise. Reduce heat to medium. Place bread in cast iron skillet mayonnaise-side down. Top with layers of gruyère on one half of the bread and provolone on the other side. Place sliced tomatoes and bacon on one side of the bread and cover skillet.
4. When the cheese has begun to melt, top the tomatoes and bacon with another bread slice, mayonnaise side up. Flip occasionally until both sides are golden brown. Serve immediately.