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.