Remembering back to bagged school lunches, it wasn’t the sandwiches, soup, or cold slices of leftover pizza that were the most exciting—it was the snacks. Something as simple as a ziplock bag full of Cheez-Its or Goldfish could add some flavorful zip to the day. And what better snack than a little hunk of cheese? While string cheese was certainly a tasty option, the most attractive and enticing of the cheeses was the Babybel, the small wheel of soft dairy packaged in a distinctive red wax. It always looked so good that I would immediately try to trade for it if the opportunity presented itself. That way, I got to eat some cheese, and then play with the weird wax afterwards—a true win-win. But, despite my excitement, I’m not sure I ever really knew exactly what the stuff was. So, what is babybel cheese? Why is it put in wax like that? Can you…eat the wax? Let’s slice into some answers.
What is Babybel cheese?
Babybel cheese is a brand of small, individually-packaged snack cheese products from Le Groupe Bel, a company with French roots. Their line includes white cheddar, Monterey Jack, and gouda varieties, and they have now even expanded into plant-based cheese alternatives. But when it comes to the original, what kind of cheese is Babybel? According to their website, the product is “100% real semisoft cheese goodness packed in a delicious, palm size snack.” To get a little more specific, Babybel is a cheese in the style known as “Edam.” Edam is a semi-hard Dutch cheese known for its wax wrapper.
Why is Babybel cheese in wax?
As noted above, Edam cheese is often wrapped in wax to protect the cheese and prevent any unwanted mold from getting into the product. And of course, it’s also a stylish way to transport your cheese. Think of it as plastic before plastic was invented.
Does Babybel cheese need to be refrigerated?
The wax may help protect the cheese against some things, but it cannot protect against temperature. Yes, Babybel should be refrigerated at all times. When you are on the go, the cheese has about two to four hours before it should be re-refrigerated. Also note that Babybel should not be frozen, as it will alter the consistency of the product.
Does Babybel cheese melt?
As with most real cheeses, Babybel will melt if brought to the right temperature. In fact, some people are big fans of melted Babybel and it’s an option you might consider for your next burger or grilled cheese.
Is Babybel wax edible?
Let’s be clear here: It is not recommended that you eat the Babybel wax. They even say so on the FAQ of their website. That being said, is chowing down on the entire red wheel of dairy and paraffin going to cause any serious digestive issues? Probably not. So, if you happen to have already eaten the wax, don’t worry, you’re fine. But going forward, it’s best to just consume the cheese inside.