Monday, October 3, 2016

Trader Joe's Lite Sharp Celtic Cheddar

I picked this up around St. Patrick's Day, and thought maybe it was a new product introduced for the occasion. A little research after I got home showed that it was not new. I still don't know if it's brought out only in March each year, or if it's available year-round.

This is, incidentally, the first item I've ever noticed at TJ's labeled as "Trader O'Joe's."

Let's cut to the chase: This is the best low-fat cheese I've ever tasted--and it's not even close. In fact, I would never have guessed that it's a reduced-fat product if the label had not so informed me. What's more, it's among the best white cheddars I've had, even competing against full-fat versions.

I happened to have a block of Cracker Barrel's Vermont Sharp White Cheddar at home when I bought this, so I compared them side by side. They definitely tasted different, but I could not say that one was clearly better than the other. The Cracker Barrel is more of what I've come to expect from years of eating such things, but it isn't superior. The TJ's is a little off the beaten path, but in pleasant, interesting ways.

The difference in fat is not trivial. Comparing one-ounce servings of the Cracker Barrel and TJ's:

Total calories: 110/70
Fat calories: 90/35
Fat grams: 10/4
Saturated fat grams: 6/2.5
Cholesterol mg: 30/10

I like this stuff a lot, and the fact that I can enjoy my cheese and crackers with that kind of reduction in fat and calories makes this one that I'm going to choose repeatedly, and perhaps even as a default first choice.

I'm also naming it to my Top Ten list. It really is something unexpected and special.

Will I buy it again? 

Yes, yes, yes.


Since writing the above, I've bought this four more times, and I just continue to love it more. It has become my default choice for snacking cheese. Except to experiment with new varieties, I simply see no reason ever to buy any other white cheddar. And, by the way, it's obviously not just a special springtime item as at first I thought it might be.


  1. What makes it "white cheddar"? Doesn't look white to me.

    Thanks for the tip, though. Will try.

  2. That's one of my worst photos for color accuracy. The weird lighting in my kitchen always throws off the camera's color balance, and this time it was horrendously bad.

  3. Are these really old reviews, or...??? The sell-by date is 6 months ago! I might check this out (not focused on reduced-fat items), but for me the go-to cheddar of all time is TJ's English Coastal Cheddar. Their Unexpected Cheddar is similar and also great.

  4. stevenp raises my question:

    Why do you hold on to such revelations for months?

    Interrupt yourself when you find something great!

    Everyone's a critic, including me,
    Dan from Hopkins (Minnesota)

  5. Apparently it was discontinued, I just sent them an email, this has been my favorite cheese for years.

    1. yes it was discontinued. They have their own brand that they are promoting. Not nearly as good.

    2. I bought another block of it on Wednesday, October 18, so I'm skeptical of this.

  6. We contacted mgmt and he said it was being discontinued. CRISIS! We are going to find out info about the Irish dairy and their importers. If they lost the TJ account they will also be unhappy. I would pay double what TJ sold it for.

  7. TJs confirmed for me today that it was being discontinued. I , too, am very unhappy about it. It's by far the best low fat cheddar available. Or not, as it seems.

  8. Only cheese my wife can eat. And the only reason went to TJs.

  9. I was told at Trade Joes that they have discontinued this reason...

    1. They responded to my email that they might bring the product back if people indicate a demand...might be worth sending an email, couldn't hurt.

  10. I am on a heart healthy diet and what cheese I have always eaten is Celtic Lite Cheddar Cheese, product of Ireland. VERY disappointed that Trader Joe's no longer carries this product. I shopped there specifically to buy this product, and because I was in the store, made other purchases. Won't be going there as frequently anymore if I can't buy the cheese product. I looked though ALL of the cheese selections and NONE OF THE OTHERS compared to the low fat, calories, and in general better for your health. PLEASE bring this product back!!!!!!!!!!