Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cheese, Please?



I am a definitely a cheese fan, although I was not born this way.  I still remember, when I was 7 years old,  holding my breath and covering my nose with my hands, as I ran out of a cheese shop in the French countryside that my parent had dragged me into.  At the time, I was sure something had rotted and died in there...and now I would hop on a plane tomorrow for the chance to return to that stinky little cheese shop.
    Knowing that there are many cheese lovers out there, with far too much cheese to conquer, when Sargento asked the Tastemakers writers if we would like to taste test their cheeses...I was willing to give it a shot.  Sargento specializes in sliced and shredded cheeses, as a way to provide their cheese somewhat already "prepared".  It is the American way to try to make things easier on our oh-so-rough lives, so Sargento takes the strenuous slicing and shredding out of the way for you.  I am not usually one to like "prepared" cheese, but Sargento claims that their cheese is simply pre-sliced from a block of  freshly made cheese, no processing at all.


The best way to test Sargento against the competition was to have an simple face to face, or taste to taste comparison.  Sargento originally asked if we could compare their cheese to processed cheese, but I really think that is a useless comparison for you all.  There is no point to it.  I can tell you right now that any real cheese will taste worlds better than that sticky, shiny, plastic wrapped, square-shaped, orange, salty substance. 

photo provided by valentinheyde
You know what I am talking about.  If you grew up in America, you know what it is...I used to love sitting by my grandmother's backyard pool as a child, unwrapping the cheese and folding in into tiny squares about 1/2 the size of a penny.  I would then stack them up, and peel them off to put on my tongue, one by one.  I was in heaven.


     In my tasting comparison I enlisted a few close cheese-eating friends to blindly give their opinions of Sargento versus a few unnamed competitors, producing similar products.  In sum, Sargento was flavorful, and did taste like real cheese that had been sliced.  The pepper- jack was nice and spicy!


The texture was creamy and while the competition was comparable, we liked how Sargento had some great options... from Chipotle Cheddar to a Vermont Sharp.  The slices are great for making sandwiches, (Brian's favorite lunch...),


or eating with crackers as a snack.  They are also a good way to get your kids away from processed slices...kids will have just as much fun while eating real cheese. (Or if you still like to play with your food, same goes for you.)


 I like how it keeps neatly in the refrigerator in its zip-able bag, but if they could come up with some eco- friendly recyclable packaging, I would really be impressed.  While I normally also do not buy pre-shredded cheese because I find that cheese stays most flavorful if you shred it right before you use it, Sargento's shredded cheese, was a flavorful alternative.


 So, I will give you all permission, when you are in a rush, to use it as an option for sprinkling on home-made pizza, lasagna, freshly roasted vegetables, etc.
We all really appreciated that Sargento is aiming to move the American consumer from processed cheese to the real thing, even if it is only one little slice at a time.
   

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