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Taste test: ricotta cheese

Serving size one-fourth cup one-fourth cup one-fourth cup
Calories 110 110 110
Fat/Fiber 8g / 0g 9g / 0g 9g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium 2g / 65mg 1g / 55mg 1g / 55mg
Carbs/Protein 2g / 7g 2g / 5g 2g / 5g


Ricotta cheese is handy for a variety of dishes from Italian lasagna and pasta bakes to breakfast pancakes or yummy desserts. The cheese is usually smooth and flavorful enough to stand alone. Our panelists sampled nine brands to see which they will use in their favorite dishes or which to smear on a loaf of warm French bread on a weekend afternoon.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
Polly-O 75Sorrento 63Great Value 59
Judges'

comments
Judges liked this ricotta for its cottage-cheese-like texture and full-bodied flavor. "It's lumpy in a good way and has a great cheesy taste," said one panelist. "It has a great aroma and a very good aftertaste," said another. One said the creaminess would make this cheese especially good in a lasagna for its spreadability. "It would be delicious slathered with herbs and spices," she said. "I wouldn't mind it mixed with a bit of chocolate either."Hearty flavor and texture made this another favorite among judges. They said the cheese had a strong smell and taste, reminding them of fresh Italian food. "This ricotta would be good in a recipe that needs a slight cheese flavor but has lots of other ingredients," said one judge. "It will give body to a dish, but not overpower other flavors." A couple said it would be great in lemon-ricotta pancakes.Walmart's store brand of ricotta was described by judges as "sturdy." They liked the way it held together and said it would be especially good in a dish like stuffed shells where baking wouldn't break it down. "It's creamier and more granular, but melts in your mouth," one said. Another compared the texture to vanilla ice cream, saying she liked the texture but wanted a bolder flavor.
Would

they buy?
All four judges said yes.All four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$4.86 for a 32-ounce tub from Walmart.$3.98 for a 32-ounce tub from Walmart.$1.94 for a 15-ounce tub from Walmart.


Also Sampled: Kraft ($3.98 for a 32-ounce tub from Walmart, 49 points); Market Pantry ($4.49 for a 32-ounce tub from Target, 42 points); Publix ($2.49 for a 15-ounce tub, 32 points); Winn-Dixie ($2.59 for a 15-ounce tub, 38 points); Hannaford ($1.99 for a 15-ounce tub from

Sweetbay, 38 points); and Calabro ($3.99 for a 16-ounce tub from the Fresh Market, 22 points).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; Wayne Conery,

manager of the R Bar on Treasure Island; and Julie Overton, consumer and mother of our. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to jkeeler@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.

Taste test: ricotta cheese 07/03/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 5:30am]

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