Packing healthy snacks is one of the best ways to keep those New Year's diet resolutions. And one of the most portable and protein-packed foods is string cheese. The individually wrapped cheese sticks travel well and, as Taster's Choice judges discovered, taste pretty good. Our panelists tested 13 brands of mozzarella cheese sticks, judging them on taste and stringiness, a good thing in this case. All of the brands had about 6 grams of fat each.
Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent
|Product/Score (out of 100)||Market Pantry/66||Crystal Farms/63||Chuck E. Cheese's/62|
|How'd it look?||Off-white color "with a wide girth."||Classic; just like mozzarella.||Pale. Nice and white.|
|Judges' comments||"This has a nice, forward butter taste. It's almost like a very friendly, cheddar cheese," said one panelist. It's got body, creaminess and a hint of salt in the flavor. "This cheese has a good bounce and strings nicely," said another judge.||A bit more greasy than some of the others, but buttery and tasty just the same. "It's got a good chew and almost a sweet, easy twang," said a panelist who liked the spongy texture of the cheese. Another described the flavor as pleasant.||The softest of the cheeses — the one that falls apart the easiest. "The cheese is rubbery and has a squeakiness against the teeth," said a judge who raved about the milk flavor.|
|Would they buy?||All five of the judges said yes.||Four of the five judges said yes.||Four of the five judges said yes.|
|Shopping information||$3.75 for a 12-ounce package from Target.||$2.68 for a 10-ounce package from Wal-Mart.||$2.63 for a 10-ounce package from Wal-Mart.|
Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian with Pinellas County Cooperative Extension; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620, Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute; Times food critic Laura Reiley; and consumer/foodie John Hehn, owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc. All foods were tasted blind.
Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.