I love cheese.
I mean really, who doesn't LOVE cheese!
You can imagine how thrilled I was when Sargento asked me to hold a cheese tasting gathering! They asked me to compare Sargento natural cheese with processed American cheese.
This was intriguing to me as I buy both cheeses. Sargento IS the brand of natural cheese that I buy as it is quite tasty, I find coupons often and it is affordable. I also buy processed cheese as some of my daycare children prefer it. So I thought a taste test was a great idea!!
Sargento was kind enough to ship me some Sharp Cheddar Sargento Slices, some processed American cheese, crackers, dried fruit and adorable napkins. I invited some guests and got ready for a cheese party!!
If this was going to be a cheese party, I had to include MORE cheese! So we ate Pizza Roll-Up Burritos made with Sargento Mozzarella Cheese Sticks.
We had a lot of fun. I invited 4 other people. We ate, tasted cheese, talked and then played cards until way too late. I meant to get more pictures but I just snapped some of the food and then just had fun and forgot about the camera.
So I knew that processed cheese wasn't as good for you but I guess I never really thought about WHY. It's easy to live in denial!!
Here are some differences:
Sargento Natural Cheese:
...Is never made with processed ingredients.
...Is naturally aged to perfection
...Is tested by professional cheese graders to ensure the highest quality cheese
...Is cut directly and simply from real block cheese and packaged immediately.
...It is never melted while being made
...Needs to be refrigerated
...130 mg sodium for a 21 g. slice
...is REAL cheese
...Is made with added emulsifiers such as calcium phosphate, sodium citrate and sodium phosphate and often has preservatives such as sorbic acid.
...Is typically heated to about 180 degrees and cooked with team which strips out flavor
...Some processed cheese sit on a store shelf for months without refrigeration before being sold
...Often is pumped into plastic packaging and run over a series of rollers to form a slice
...Is cooked into a liquid before being formed into a slice
...250 mg. of sodium for 19 g. slice
...Is MADE FROM cheese (and other ingredients)
After hearing this, my kids don't want me to ever buy processed again.
Sargento asked us to:
1. Look at the cheese - Natural cheese come in different colors but in general have a non-glossy appearance. Processed cheese have a shine to them, even after the plastic is removed.
2. Touch the cheese and feel it's texture - Natural cheese texture can vary by cheese variety but will normally break when you bend it which is what cheese is supposed to do. Processed cheese is smooth and rubbery and can often bend and fold without breaking. It can sometimes feel mushy.
3. Smell the cheese - Natural cheeses' aroma will vary but they will be earthy, nutty and/or fruity. Processed cheese is usually lacking in strong aroma.
4. Taste the cheese - Natural cheeses have a bunch of flavors, from savory to fruity to spicy and sharp. The dominant characteristic in processed cheese is often described as salty.
Well, after doing all this, the Sargento Natural cheese not only looked better but felt, smelled and tasted better. Funny, I never really thought of this before. I'd always used processed cheese for grilled cheese but after trying it on a Grilled Apple Cheese Sandwich, I always use the Sargento singles now.
Sargento provided me with free cheese, crackers and dried fruit but all opinions are mine. We DO buy Sargento cheese and it is our favorite! If you're a processed cheese fan, I suggest you branch out and try some Sargento Natural cheese.