Cream CheeseGood cream cheese makes just as big a difference as good olive oil and good chocolate. Photo by Claire Freierman | THE NIBBLE.


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STEPHANIE ZONIS focuses on good foods and the people who produce them.



February 2007
Updated February 2009

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Cheese-Butter-Yogurt

Gourmet Cream Cheese

Page 2: Artisan Cream Cheese Tastes Far Superior To Supermarket Brands


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Cheese of the Month: Cream Cheese

Usually, I’ll highlight a company here, in order to tell you about some good cheeses they produce. But this month, given the topic, plus the fact that I’ve written previous articles on both mascarpone and ricotta, I thought it was time to pay our respects to cream cheese, another soft cheese often used in Coeur à la Crème. I’m sure most of us grew up on that silver-foil-wrapped “brick” of cream cheese, and that certainly has its uses. But there’s a whole little world of smaller companies out there, all busily making other cream cheeses with much more flavor and character. These cream cheeses are so good I’ll often eat them all by themselves; they don’t need to be in a cheesecake or spread on a bagel to be consumable.

Who makes these gourmet cream cheeses? There are far too many companies to list Sierra Nevada Cream Cheesehere, but we’ll start with three and perhaps save the rest for a long review at a future date. The first two are not available by mail order, but have good national distribution.

  • Sierra Nevada Cheese Company. With no preservatives, hormones, or stabilizers, this is not your everyday cream cheese, but then the taste will convince you of that better than I ever could. The Soft Cream Cheese With Garlic Chives won First Place in the American Cheese Society’s annual competition in 2001. Telephone for a retailer near you: 1.530.934.8660.
  • Franklin Foods, in Vermont, produces All Season’s Kitchen Cream Cheese. Unlike that "brick," it really has flavor. It’s tangy, but not acidic, and way too easy to eat with just a spoon! Their All Season’s Kitchen Salsa Cream Cheese won an American Cheese Society Second Place Award, and the All Season’s Kitchen Chipotle Chile Salsa Cream Cheese was a winner in the 2005 U.S. Championship Cheese Competition. Call 1.800.933.6114 for a retailer near you.
  • Zingerman’s Creamery makes a cows’ milk cream cheese as well as a goats’ milk cream cheese; both are available via mail-order.

A little online research will yield more possibilities in this vein; you may even be lucky enough to have a local creamery making cream cheese. Try something new in this toast-and-baking staple, and reward your taste buds!

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