Yellow tomato Caprese Salad (photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Caterers | FB.  Artistic Caprese Salad (photo courtesy Great Performances | FB).  Watermelon Caprese Salad. You can also use mango and other stone fruits (photo courtesy Watermelon.org).
On the hot days of summer, lighten up on your cheeses. Switch the heavier blues, cheddars and washed rind cheeses for delicate, creamy ones.
Even fresh year-round cheeses like chèvre, feta, mozzarella and ricotta taste better in the summer.
Here’s the 411 on cheese:
Cheeses are seasonal based on the feed and milk availability. Goats and sheep, for example, cease producing milk over the winter, when they have bred, until they give birth.in spring.
With modern freezing techniques to preserve the curds, goat’s and sheep’s milk curds, previously available only in spring when the animals give birth, are available year-round.
In the spring and summer, the animals from artisan cheesemakers graze in the field, eating grass and clover. The seasonal diet gives more dimension to their milk, with floral and grassy notes.
Fresh curds + richer milk = the best cheese of the year.
No one will stop you from getting your fill of aged Gouda, Roquefort or Stilton, but we prefer to save them for the cooler months.
There are many semisoft, semihard and hard cheeses at peak for summer. Your cheesemonger can guide you to the best semi-hard and hard summer cheeses in the store. On the soft, fresh side, here are our favorite widely-available cheeses:
FOUR FAVORITE SUMMER CHEESES
All pair with burgers, pizza, green salads and fruit salads.
Pay a bit more for artisan mozzarella. As opposed to rubbery factory mozzarella, it’s freshly made, and has a delightfully different texture from the standard “pizza mozzarella.”
Pair it with its soul mates, fresh basil and summer tomatoes; then:
Tuck it into omelets.
Make grilled cheese sandwiches or panini.
Toss with pasta and salads (ciliegine and perlini, bite-size mozzarella balls, work better here).
For appetizers and the summer “cheese course,” combine ciliegine with cherry tomatoes and other vegetables, cubed meats or rolled proscuitto. Use skewers or an artistic plating.
For dessert, do the same with fruit.
You can substitute mango, stone fruit or watermelon for the the tomatoes.
You can substitute feta, goat cheese, ricotta, even tofu for the mozzarella.
And get your fill of perhaps the most famous summer mozzarella dish, Caprese Salad.
Best Fresh Herb Pairing: basil.
Feta—crumbled, cubed or sliced—pairs with almost every summer fruit and vegetable. Tip: Some feta is very salty. Go to the cheese counter and ask to taste it first, or get a recommendation for a packaged brand with less salt.
In Watermelon-Feta Salad or crumbled over green salad.
On skewers—appetizer and dessert.
With grilled lamb, pork or poultry (turn it into a side with good olive oil, cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs).
On burgers: beef, turkey and especially lamb.
On pizza, anchovies, capers, olives and onion slices.
Best Fresh Herb Pairing: cilantro or dill.