Monday, August 15, 2011

Do You Know Your Cheese? Sargento Natural Cheese vs processed cheese

If you were to ask Lily what her favorite food is, she'd certainly answer with "CHEESE!"

And since cheese is a pretty large part of her diet, I try to make sure I give her good quality cheese, and a variety at that. She certainly loves american cheese, but she also will eat cheddar, swiss, gouda, muenster, and even a gourmet raspberry cheese that my husband got at our local farmer's market.

Before I started working with Sargento, I didn't know too much about cheese. But what I did know is that processed cheese never really sat well in my tummy, but if I ate the "harder" cheeses I never had that problem. And those cheese's that didn't upset my tummy always tasted better and just seemed like they were better quality and worth the higher price tag, I just wasn't so sure why.

Sargento send me a box with a couple of goodies so I could host a little cheese tasting party. Kind of a way to compare the differences of processed cheese and Sargento Natural Cheese.

They also gave me some tips on how to "taste cheese":

1. LOOK at the cheese. A processed cheese will have a shiny appearance, while a natural cheese does not.

2. TOUCH the cheese. A natural cheese will normally break, a processed cheese with artificially pliable and rubbery.

3. SMELL the cheese. Natural cheeses can be described as "earthy", "nutty", or "fruity". Processed cheese doesn't have much of a smell at all.

4. TASTE the cheese. Natural cheeses have an incredible array of flavors, but the dominant characteristic of processed cheese is "salty".

Now after I learned how to properly taste cheese, I realized just how "fake" processed cheese is. Since natural cheese's only contain natural ingredients, like milk, cheese cultures, and salt. It is aged to perfection and one slice of Sargento Cheddar has 130 milligrams of sodium (compared to processed cheese that typically has 250 milligrams of sodium).

When sampling the cheese's, it apparent that everyone preferred the Sargento Natural Cheddar over the processed cheese slices....even this little diva. She knew how to pick out the better quality cheese, without me even having to tell her! LOL

A few not-so-yummy facts about processed cheeses....

~ Processed cheese is made with emulsifiers like Calcium Phosphate, Sodium Citrate, and Sodium Phosphate
~ Some processed cheeses sit on a store shelf for MONTHS w/o refrigeration before being sold
~Often is pumped into plastic packaging as a liquid and run over a series of rollers to form a slice

I don't know about you, but after learning everything I did about the comparisons between natural cheeses and processed cheeses, I am certainly grabbing for the natural cheese in a heartbeat when I go grocery shopping. How about you? Have you ever thought that much about what your cheese is made of?

Full Disclosure: I am working with Sargemto and The Motherhood on this project and am receiving a stipend for my review of the products. As always, you can rest assured you will always get a true and honest description of my experiences while reviewing this product, regardless of compensation or products provided. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me by email.

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