I was recently given the opportunity to do a taste test of Sargento’s natural cheeses vs. processed cheese courtesy of Foodbuzz and, of course, Sargento. The idea was to differentiate between real cheese and processed cheese. Real cheese is aged naturally, cut from a real block of cheese and packaged. Processed cheese is liquefied, preservatives and emulsifiers are added, and it sits for months before being sold.
I think we all know that processed cheese isn’t top quality. But to what extent?
For this taste test, I had my two children (and myself) do the work. Katelyn, my daughter is a cheese lover. Cheese dip, grilled cheese, cheese quesadillas, etc. You get the picture.
Today we tested Sargento’s Gouda and Pepper Jack cheeses.
To taste-test the cheese, we had fresh grapes, apples, melon chunks and crackers as accompaniments.
According to Sargento, you should do the following to properly taste test cheese:
A. Look at the Cheese: It shouldn’t be glossy or shiny (can you tell which one is the processed cheese above?).
B. Touch the Cheese: Pick the cheese up and bend it. Real cheese (depending on the type) will bend easily and/or crumble. Processed cheese is rubbery.
C. Smell the Cheese (as you do wine): The scent of cheeses will vary from earthy to fruity; however processed cheese smells like powdered milk, or maybe have no scent at all. The real cheese had a distinct cheese smell (think sharp).
D. Taste the Cheese: Processed cheese usually tastes salty, maybe a little like plastic. Real cheese has its own distinct taste. Some cheeses are more salty than others, and the texture in your mouth can range from very soft to crumbly, but that’s what makes them unique. Sargento cheeses had very unique deep taste, whereas the processed cheese was bland and salty.
The processed American cheese was barely touched. Both kids tried one bite on a cracker, but after that they pretty much inhaled the Sargento cheese (mainly the Pepper Jack).
Although our palates were accustomed to the difference between the two, today we took the time to stop and think about it more in depth. I’m wondering why we have used processed cheese for so long….
Have a great week everyone!