I was excited to see Arla cheese come on the market in my area. Cream cheese, though mild and fairly standard, is nevertheless a favorite of mine. Its smooth, creamy texture and taste of fine cream make it both refreshing and versatile. I once attended a seminar on the history of cream cheese. During its evolution in the U.S., this ancestor of French Neufchâtel gradually acquired gums and stabilizers as ingredients. I longed to taste the more delicate cream cheeses of a bygone era, but found none on the market. Until Arla.
Arla is a dairy-owned company in Denmark devoted to sustainable farming.
Arla’s line of Danish cream cheeses—which includes Original, Light, Peppercorn, Herbs & Spices, and Blueberry—are free of added hormones, stabilizers, thickeners, artificial flavors and preservatives. Not only are they lighter on the palate, they are also lighter in calories and fat; two tablespoons range from 60 to 80 calories with only five to seven grams of fat, depending on the flavor. One especially intriguing ingredient is buttermilk to the cream, which possibly accounts for the lower fat and added tanginess in the Light, Blueberry, Peppercorn, Herbs & Spices flavors. The Original contains both cream and skim milk.
Arla Cream Cheese Spreads are silky with a pleasant texture that is not at all sticky or gummy. Their moisture content seems to be higher than other brands’, allowing them to glide onto bagels and crackers with ease.
Peppercorn, which is spiced up with black pepper and pink peppercorns, is a personal favorite. Gerry, who was presenting samples and “$1 off” coupons, said the Herbs & Spices was especially popular for its savory blend of onion, garlic, paprika, and dill. The lightly sweet Blueberry needs no explanation.
The only drawback to these cheeses is that they are not kosher as other brands are. While they contain no offending ingredients, they simply don’t have certification. (Kosher cream cheese is a staple at many Jewish events.)
Thanks, Gerry, for the coupons and excellent cheese samples! Click HERE to print a $1 coupon online (at bottom of page).
Elizabeth Bland, The Cheese Mistress