An American favorite, cream cheese is white, easy to spread, and mildly tangy. It goes especially well with bagels and nut breads. (called white cheese in Europe)
Season: available year-round
How to select: Cream cheese comes in low-fat and non-fat versions.
How to store: Use cream cheese within a few days after purchasing, and throw it out if mold appears. For best results, serve chilled.
Substitutions: 2 cups of cream cheese = 1 lb; Neufchatel (lower in fat and moister than regular cream cheese) OR equal parts ricotta and yogurt OR tofu