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Unbearably Mediocre

Black bear cheese

Normally, I scoff at brand label buyers who shun generics. Why buy Advil when Duane Reade ibuprofen does the same thing for less? But I just discovered that not all processed cheese is created equal (ok, I already knew that Kraft singles melt while weird 99-cent brands like Tropical don't).

While perusing the refrigerated deli section at a NJ Shop Rite, I went to grab my occasional guilty treat Land O'Lakes white American cheese then noticed a twin product mixed right into the pile: Black Bear, a brand I'd never heard of and can find no evidence of on the internet, for $2 less per pound. Sure, I'd try it.

I anticipated my first creamy bite, but no, it wasn't right. The deceptively albino slice just tasted like a normal shiny orange square that comes individually wrapped in plastic. It was lacking chewiness and real cheese flavor that might be attributable to milk though I can't say for sure.  I'm certain this knock off would taste fine in a grilled cheese sandwich but I just like tearing off bits of cheese to snack on straight from the fridge and Black Bear lacks purity. No more cutting corners with cheese products again.

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  1. ckc #

    I just moved to Austin and have been really disappointed with the cheese products at my local store. Seriously, Boar’s Head is not that great, Texas. I wouldn’t mind going to a different store for cheese, but everything here is so far away from everything else, a lot like Alaska but hotter. Grumble grumble. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for Land O’ Lakes, it’s my favorite butter but I’ve never tried the cheese.

    January 23, 2009
  2. ckc: Well, don’t get your hopes up about Land O’Lakes having “good” cheese. I just happen to have a weird fetish for their American cheese.

    One of these days I’ll make it to Texas. I can’t believe I’ve never been to the Lone Star state yet.

    January 24, 2009

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