As a part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I’m pretty lucky. I get sent samples of some really cool things sometimes. Most recently, one of these cool things was a $25 American Express gift card to participate in the Sargento Taste Test. Another was a box of samples from Ghiradelli Intense Dark Chocolate.
The offer from Sargento was meant for an educational cheese tasting experience, in which we were to compare Sargento natural cheese to any processed cheese. We also were given enough money to also buy cheese pairings of our choice.
Along with the Sargento cheese you see above, I bought:
Processed Mild Cheddar, Swiss, Colby Jack and Pepper Jack…
Woven Wheat Crackers, Butter Crackers and dried apricots…
A Mixed Red and a Merlot…
And a baguette, which Mark modeled beautifully.
Our friends Ryan and Chris were able to join us for the cheese tasting experience.
Sargento guided us through this experience.
“1. Look at the cheeses. Natural cheeses, like cheddar, come in many different colors, but in general an understated and non-glossy appearance. Processed cheeses, however, have a luster or shine to them, even after their plastic is removed.”
“2. Touch the cheese and feel its texture. Bend the cheeses. Natural cheese texture can vary by cheese variety, but will normally break in an authentic fashion when you do this. Processed cheese is characterized by a smooth, rubbery and artificially pliable texture, and often can bend and fold without breaking… It can sometimes even feel ‘mushy.'”
“3. Smell the cheeses like you’d smell a glass of wine. Natural cheeses’ aroma will vary by cheese type, and the range of smells span adjectives like earthy, nutty, and fruity. Processed cheese is usually lacking in a strong aroma, but can have cooked milk notes due to its heating process.”
“4. Taste the cheese. Natural cheeses have an incredible array of flavors — from savory to fruity to spicy and sharp. The dominant characteristic in processed cheese is often described as salty. Take note of the characteristics of the cheese, the intensity of the flavor, the saltiness, sharpness or fruitiness of the cheese.”
The way we used the Sargento cheese, specifically, was to create our “main course,” if you will. I think I’ll call them… pizza dippers.
We used the bread and the shredded cheese…
… along with some olive oil, salt and pepper.
Basically, we sliced the baguette, then toasted those slices for about 5-10 minutes at 400 degrees. Then we took the toasted slices out, drizzled them with olive oil and topped them with salt, pepper and cheese, and then put them back in the oven for a few more minutes (until the cheese was melted).
Once they were out of the oven, we dipped them in warm roasted garlic & sweet basil tomato sauce.
It was very popular. We finished the entire baguette between the four of us!
Once we finished that baguette, the dessert portion of the evening came about.
It was Ghiradelli Intense Dark Chocolate time!
You might not be able to tell in the picture, but…
Mark and I had already made a serious dent in the Sea Salt Soiree bar before the party.
We tried the (rest of the) Sea Salt Soiree, 72% Cacao Twilight Delight, and the 86% Midnight Reverie.
Each of them was delicious. but I’m particularly fond of the Sea Salt Soiree. I love sweet and salty!
This was a perfect end to the evening!
“Ghiradelli Intense Dark chocolates deliver luxuriously deep and velvety chocolate in a variety of cacao percentages… and sophisticated flavors… This line of 100% all natural chocolates delivers unrivaled chocolate intensity in a delicately thin chocolate, allowing the chocolate to melt slowly in your mouth.”
I actually think these rich bars offer the perfect dessert. I could absolutely be satisfied with just one square.
Pretty nice night, right? I had so much fun and loved the guidelines given by each brand!