Judges put taste buds to test on string cheeseWe like to think of string cheese as the banana of dairy products _ individually wrapped, cheerful in its blandness and eminently packable in a bagged lunch.
By: Heidi Stevens Chicago Tribune (MCT), INFORUM
We like to think of string cheese as the banana of dairy products _ individually wrapped, cheerful in its blandness and eminently packable in a bagged lunch.
And what cheese lacks in potassium, it makes up for by not bruising. So it’s pretty much an even trade. At least that’s what we tell ourselves when our children scarf down their sixth stick in a day. (Rarely happens with bananas.)
We asked around and as it turns out, string cheese affection (er, addiction?) is common in the early years of childhood. And the later years. And, fine, into adulthood. Which may explain why there are roughly 734 brands in your grocer’s dairy case. Here, we tackle four.
Nutritionally speaking, the big brands are all about the same. Sodium tends to hover in the 200 milligram range per stick. (Kraft is slightly less at 190 mg; Sargento and Lucerne a tad higher at 210 mg.) Each stick packs about 7 grams of protein. (Eight grams for Sargento; 6 grams for Frigo.) And calcium remains a reliable 20 percent of the recommended daily allowance.
But how do they taste? We put the question to a panel of crack cheese connoisseurs, ages 5-8. Not one of them asked about the affinage or the rennetting. The word “rubbery” did come up more than once. Each brand was ranked on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 is best).
First place: Sargento
(4.5 points. 12 pack. $4.99; 42 cents per stick)
“I love it. I tried getting used to the other ones, and it doesn’t work.” “That one’s better than all of them. It has the right amount of taste.”
Second place: Frigo
(4 points. 16 pack. $5.49; 34 cents per stick)
“Good.” “This one’s at least easy to open.”
Third place: Kraft
(3 points. 16 pack. $5.99; 37 cents per stick)
“A little rubbery.” “Not super good. Not super bad.”
Fourth place: Lucerne
(2.5 points. 12 pack. $4.49; 37 cents per stick)
“Blah.” “Doesn’t really have a taste.”