When we heard that the best sellers at Cabot—makers of the award-winning Vermont cheddar—were the Light varieties, we were surprised. Cabot is possibly the best cheddar one can buy in the supermarket; and certainly, we reasoned the market for good regular cheddar must be larger than that for reduced fat.
After we ran out and to purchased the two varieties of Cabot Light, 50% Light and 75% Light (50% less fat and 75% less fat than regular cheddar, respectively), we discovered what all those buyers already knew: how amazingly good a reduced fat cheese can be. Both have excellent flavor and texture: full-strength cheddar flavor, nothing artificial, nothing rubbery. Real cheese.
This review can be brief because we have just two points to make:
These cheeses are top-notch: we used them melted in grilled cheese sandwiches, grated onto chili, and as snacking cheese; and were 100% happy substituting them for everyday, full-fat Cheddar.
There’s not much discernable difference between the 50% and 75% Reduced in terms of flavor or texture: you have to concentrate hard to detect the subtleties. In terms of hard science, the chart below shows the comparison on a one-ounce basis; as well as the tally if you ate the entire 8 ounces. If your goal is to save on fat, the bargain is the 75% Reduced.
Compare & Save Calories & Fat
Calories 1 Oz./8 Oz.
Calories From Fat
60 / 480
20 / 160
70 / 560
40 / 320
110 / 880
80 / 640
We especially loved the 50% Reduced Jalapeño Cheddar and 50% Reduced Pepper Jack; the Jalapeno, which is easier to find, has become a staple in our home. There’s so much flavor, you need do nothing more than slice and melt to make a dynamite grilled cheese sandwich, or flavorful snack with an apple.
Cooking tips and recipes are on the website; but if you don’t get there, here are some to start:
50% and 75% Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddars. Serve with grilled bruschetta or pumpernickel rounds topped with sliced sweet Vidalia onions and capers; pair with a Vouvray. Make a spinach bread by splitting a round of focaccia; fill with cheese and baby spinach and melt in a hot oven. Serve with a Hefe-Weizen beer.
50% Reduced Fat Omega-3 DHA Cheddar. For those who want their food fortified with heart-healthy Omega-3 and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) fatty acids, here’s a painless way to do it. You won’t notice any taste difference over the regular 50% Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar.
A lean scallion sirloin burger with Cabot’s 50% Reduced Fat Jalapeño Cheddar or Pepper Jack is a gourmet delight.
50% Reduced Fat Jalapeño Cheddar Cheese. We buy this whenever we can find it—there’s nothing like the extra kick of jalapeño for grilled cheese, kebabs or general snacking. Pour some Rosé and serve with mini johnnycakes or cornbread or melt and serve with corn chips and salsa. Serve with India Pale Ale and blue corn tortilla chips: shred cheese on top of the chips, stick under the broiler to melt, and serve with lime wedges (or add salsa for nachos).
50% Reduced Fat Pepper Jack Cheese. Pepper Jack is Monterey Jack with jalapeños or other hot chiles; it is often used in quesadillas. Each cheese recipe is different. Jack does not undergo the Cheddaring process, in which the curds are piled along the floor of the vat to consolidate into a dense sheet of curd (Cheddared cheeses are not crumbly). Serve Pepper Jack with American Pale Ale and a pepper jack burger: melt over scallion-flavored grilled burgers and top with tomato slice. Use for spicy grilled cheese sandwiches. Or, make a sandwich of thinly-sliced slice cheese with Black Forest ham on multi-grain bread, with coarse-grain mustard. As a snack, serve with crunchy Italian crostini and a Rioja, or with crunchy apples.
Cheese board, sandwich board, grated, or incorporated into more complex dishes: you can’t go wrong with these reduced-fat wonders.