Cheese innovations took center stage at Winter Fancy Food Show, held Jan. 11-13 in San Francisco.
Snacking represents 50% of all eating occasions, with cheese being both a healthy and indulgent option. An increasingly popular format for snacking cheese is baked. Sonoma Creamery, Sonoma, Calif., introduced four varieties — cheddar, original, sweet chili and Tuscan herb — of Mr. Cheese O’s in 2014. At the Winter Fancy Food Show the company launched three new flavors: bacon cheddar, French onion and zesty barbecue.
Spreadable cheeses are great for snacking. They also make for a flavorful condiment. Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Red Clay Gourmet markets a line of namesake pimento cheese spreads. Made in small batches using local ingredients, the spreads come in four varieties: classic sharp cheddar, flame roasted jalapeño, goat cheese and sundried tomato and hickory smoked cheddar. The recipe starts with aged, extra sharp white cheddar shreds. The firm texture of the aged cheese allows for the use of very little mayonnaise, as compared to other pimento spreads in the marketplace, according to the company.
Nibbi Heitmann, who is based in Martinez, Calif., opened Nibbi’s Kitchen in order to commercialize her mom’s pimento cheese spread recipe. Nibbi’s Carolina Pimento Cheese Spread comes in original and jalapeño and may be served cold or warm as a dip with crackers and vegetables.
Pine River Inc., Newton, Wis, offers a range of cold-pack cheese food spreads, with its most recent addition being ghost pepper. There’s also a new spreadable chocolate cheese that is more than 51% dairy, allowing it to sport the Real Seal. Pine River Dairy Fudge is a sweet chocolaty, protein-packed spread based on American cheese. It is great with graham crackers, pretzels and apple slices.
Moondarra Cheese Pty Ltd., of Australia, exporters to the United States of its namesake uniquely flavored cream cheeses, now offers chocolate and hazelnut and Bruschetta varieties.
Fonterra of New Zealand, is making its Mainland cheeses available to U.S. consumers in a retail pre-pack. The 7-oz Mainland cheeses come in three cheddar varieties — organic, sharp and Vintage — and Egmont, which is a Gouda-style cheese with a slight nutty flavor.
BelGioioso Black Truffle Burrata, from BelGioioso, Green Bay, Wis., starts with fresh milk, with the cheese made to order just hours after milking. Each mozzarella pouch is filled with a creamy filling seasoned with black summer truffles. Each 4-oz hand-formed ball is packaged in an 8-oz retail cup with water for an extended refrigerated shelf life of up to 37 days.
Plymouth, Wis.-based Sartori used the Winter Fancy Food Show to launch its new citrus ginger BellaVitano Cheese, which is the company’s signature BellaVitano cheese that features a unique blend of spices including ginger, onion, garlic, red bell pepper and citrus.
The cheesemakers at Litehouse Foods, Sandpoint, Idaho, have crafted a new line of gourmet cheeses called Simply Artisan Reserve. There are 6- and 8-oz pouches of blue and gorgonzola crumbles, as well as 4-oz cups of blue, feta and gorgonzola crumbles.
Serving brie is easier with Brie en Croute from Elegant Brie, Pleasanton, Calif. Each Elegant Brie starts with creamy brie cheese. After the rind is removed, it’s wrapped with fillings in a flaky puffed pastry. It’s a bake-at-home appetizer sold frozen. The company used the Winter Fancy Food Show to debut its most recent offering: artichoke, jalapeño and garlic.
There’s a cheese for everyone, even those on a vegan diet. Earth Island, Canoga Park, Calif., introduced Follow Your Heart dairy-free cheese alternative. Based on coconut oil and potato starch, the product comes in four flavors: American, garden herb, mozzarella and Provolone. The cheese alternatives come in chunk, slice and 1-oz portion packs.