I admit it, I have been guilty of buying processed American cheese for my kids. And I have bought it without giving it too much thought. Then recently, I was provided the opportunity by the Motherhood and Sargento to invite some friends over and participate in a cheese tasting, comparing Sargento’s natural cheese with the processed stuff. I was even provided with a cheese tasting guide which covered Look, Feel, Smell and Taste and some basic facts about the two. What an eye-opener.
On facts alone, we learned a lot about the difference in real and processed cheese. For one thing, some processed cheese is made with emulsifiers and preservatives and sits on a store shelf for months without refrigeration, before being sold… eww. Processed cheese is first cooked into a liquid before being pressed into slices through its plastic packaging. The natural cheese is made only with milk, cheese cultures, enzymes and salts. It is aged naturally and tested by cheese graders to ensure quality. It is cut from a real block of cheese and packaged. It also contains a lot less sodium than the processed variety.
1. Look. The natural cheese had a matte appearance and deeper color while the processed cheese was much more shiny and glossy and fake looking.
2. Touch. The natural cheese went bent would break off with a rougher texture while the processed cheese was pliable and rubbery and could be bent.
3. Smell. The natural cheese we were tasting smelled like what it was sharp cheddar cheese. The processed cheese really didn’t smell like much of anything.
4. Taste. The natural cheese had a depth of flavor and was tasty. The processed cheese tasted salty and flat.
The Sargento Natural cheese also comes pre-packaged and in slices like many of the processed cheeses but it is much healthier and tastier. It also comes in a lot of varieties.