Oh, For the Love of Cheese!

Oh, the joys of comfort food … a steaming hot bowl of creamy mac ‘n cheese, mom’s classic meatloaf and who doesn’t love an ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwich? Luckily, this scrumptious gastronomical delight has its own day to celebrate its lip-smacking goodness!

This April, wherever you are, stop and pay homage to this childhood favorite. National Grilled Cheese Day, (un)officially celebrated April 12, celebrates the classic sandwich with its buttery toasted bread on the outside and melted goodness on the inside. Whether you like your sandwich plain with just a single slice of cheese or like to go all out with multiple cheeses and assorted fillings like meat, onions or veggies, this day is for you. Grab a pan and some simple ingredients and teach the kids to make one themselves or head out to a restaurant to see how creative chefs put their own spin on this classic.

While you can get a grilled cheese just about anywhere, there are celebrations for this fun holiday around the country to showcase just how amazing a simple sandwich can be. San Francisco will host a Grilled Cheese Day Celebration on April 13 at the SoMa StrEat Food Park with plenty of cheesy fun from noon to 5 p.m. (admission is $5). Atlanta hosts its own Grilled Cheese Festival April 13 with a day of music, festivities and sandwich offerings from some of the best restaurants in town.

Grilled Cheese Festival.

Grilled Cheese Festival. Photo: Pojoslaw | Dreamstime.com

Whether you want to make grilled cheese or just eat one, what better place to celebrate the cheesy masterpiece than in Wisconsin, home to some of the best cheese produced in the United States? Head to Dodgeville April 27 for the 8th Annual Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championship. This yearly festival celebrates all things cheesy with activities for kids, cheese vendors, exhibits, cheese-carving demonstrations and plenty of food trucks offering — you guessed it — grilled cheese!

The culminating event of this festival is the grilled cheese cook-off, pitting chef against chef to see who can make the best sandwich of the day. Cooks of all experience levels are encouraged to participate in the competition, including young chefs, for a chance at the title.

Entrance to the festival is free but still requires an admission ticket (easily obtained online). If you plan to enter the competition to prove you’ve got the skills to make a master grilled cheese sandwich, plan on $10–15 per category, depending on your culinary skills.