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Taste test: Swiss cheese

Even foodies can dread making school lunches. The task becomes even more frustrating when you have a picky eater. In our family, one child eats only cheese sandwiches. That said, I am constantly in search of finding the best-tasting cheeses. Our tasters offered help this week, sampling 10 brands of sliced, packaged Swiss cheese from local grocery stores. No need to stand in line at the deli. They found plenty of good choices in grocery cold cases.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
Publix Reduced Fat 67Winn-Dixie 64Kerrygold 55
Judges'

comments
These slices had a robust flavor and almost grainy quality. Judges liked the hint of butter in the taste and the petite holes in the slices. One judge said it would be best for a hearty sandwich. "This cheese could hold its own against thick-cut meats," he said. "This cheese was definitely made by happy cows." The only complaints came from a couple of judges who said the slices were a bit rubbery.The store brand's cheese slices were thin and rich in flavor. "They have nice Swiss holes that make them look authentic," said one panelist. "It's got nice tooth resistance and I would recognize this as Swiss." Another called it the Cadillac of Swiss cheese, referring to the bold flavor and nice finish on the slices. "This would go nicely with grapes or apples," he said. "This is hot-ham-and-cheese ready and would be great with spicy mustard."Judges said these slices had a very traditional Swiss cheese look with large holes. "It looks like someone took a hole punch to the cheese," said one taster. The Kerrygold slices were a bit more golden-colored than the competition. "It's very glossy and the slices are extra thick." One panelist said the cheese had a festive look. "Turkey Reubens with this tonight," he added.
Would

they buy?
Three of the four judges said yes.All four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$2.50 for a 6-ounce package of eight slices.$3.29 for an 8-ounce package of 12 slices.$5.69 for an 8-ounce package of eight slices from Publix.


Also Sampled: Land O'Lakes ($4.04 for a 6-ounce package of eight slices from Publix, 52 points); Hannaford ($2.69 for an 8-ounce package of 10 slices from Sweetbay, 46 points); Sara Lee ($4.49 for an 8-ounce package of 20 slices from Sweetbay, 45 points); Sargento ($3.29 for a

7-ounce package of 11 slices from Publix, 45 points); Great Value ($2.48 for an 8-ounce package of 12 slices from Walmart, 42 points); Trader Joe's ($3.99 for a 12-ounce package of 12 slices, 36 points); and Boar's Head ($7.49 for a 7-ounce package of 14 slices from Publix, 35 points).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic. 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

tampabay.com/things-to-do/food/tastetest.

Serving sizeOne sliceOne sliceOne slice
Calories7070110
Fat/Fiber 4.5g / 0g 5g / 0g 8g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium 0g / 50mg 0g / 35mg 0g / 110mg
Carbs/Protein0g / 6g1g / 5g0g / 8g

Taste test: Swiss cheese 03/31/14 [Last modified: Monday, March 31, 2014 6:14pm]
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