Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Trader Joe's Quattro Formaggio

As the label tells you, this is a blend of Parmesan, Asiago, fontina, and provolone cheese. Most shredded cheese is mild. This is not. It is boldly flavorful and distinctly Italian. That is both its strength and its weakness. It is superb atop pasta, for example, and would probably be similarly great on a homemade pizza, though I didn't try that.

But I use shredded cheese mainly for Mexican-style foods that I make, and this blend just doesn't work well there. It's more, I think, than my brain rejecting the idea of cross-contamination of international cuisines. It seems to me that it just doesn't play well with the flavors of Mexican staples like refried beans. With every bite, I got a mildly jarring hit of sensory discordance.

The problem for me, then, is not that this stuff is bad. It's that it has a specific niche--one that I need filled rarely enough that a package this size will mostly go moldy in my refrigerator before getting used up.

Will I buy it again? 

Probably not, unless I'm planning an Italian food bash of some kind. But if you do more Italian cooking than I do, by all means give it a try.


  1. It's our standard cheese for simple "homemade" pizzas.

  2. I would mix this with some shredded mozzarella for pizzas. And yeah, I see how it wouldn't go with Mexican food. But a heavy sprinkling on pasta/Italian is pretty great! Or added in a lasagna.

  3. Agree this is not what you want with mexican food.... There's a "fancy shredded mexican blend" that is mild and melty that you want instead

    That italian blend would be great in a simple arugala salad with vinegrette, or on eggs and toast, or on simple tomato sauce pasta