A few weeks ago, one of the feature articles about Trader Joe's that came across the transom was about what products some chefs routinely buy there. One of them mentioned "pub cheese." I had never heard of that and had no idea what he was talking about, but it sounded like something I needed to explore.
It wasn't hard to find, once I started poking around the cheese section. In fact, there are three different varieties. Only two are shown above, because the third is cheddar with horseradish, which I'm confident I wouldn't like, so I'm not wasting my money on it.
Notice that these are not, in fact, "Trader Joe's Pub Cheese." Oddly, there is no brand at all on them. The side of the tub does list a distributor--not Trader Joe's--but no manufacturer is named anywhere. But this should be a TJ's-branded product. It's certainly good enough.
In fact, it's really great stuff. It is non-stop-edible. If you're not paying attention and have a large enough supply of crackers or whatever else you're pairing this with, half a tub will be gone before you even notice, and your diet will be about 8 billion calories off-course.
I kind of arbitrarily picked TJ's Honey Wheat Pretzels as the first thing with which to scoop up gobs of this cheese, and it was a fortuitous match. They're absolutely delectable together. On my next trip to TJ's, I bought another container of each just so I could have at it again. I could seriously eat this cheese on those pretzels all day long.
I tried the same thing with the jalapeno cheddar version, and didn't like it nearly as much. Not terrible, but I just didn't find the cheese-jalapeno combination pleasing. I don't think I would ever pick it over the plain original.
Will I buy it again?
Oh, yes. It's already an all-time snacking favorite. I've flirted with the idea of adding it to my Top Ten list. It's a close call, but at least for now I'm ruling it to be just a hair short of that level of magnifiosity--but it's damn good, and highly addictive.
A strange thing happened. I blasted through two tubs of the plain in addition to the one of jalapeno, and loved them. But then I took some time off from them before buying a third tub--and I suddenly didn't like it as much. That half-eaten third tub has been sitting in my fridge for, I dunno, maybe a month now. I see it often when I'm in snack-hunting mode, but keep passing it over for several other things. I don't think there's anything different about this tub; it doesn't taste off or anything. I think I just kind of used up my interest in the product, which is not a common occurrence.
Apologies for the lack of a convincing explanation--I don't have one, but can only report my experience.
These are not a high-end item for the discerning palate. They are salty, fatty, snacking crack-bombs. If you like cheese products, you'll probably like them as a guilty pleasure.