Thursday, May 28, 2009
Gorgonzola Cheese and Pepper Cheese Snack
When I spied this packet of crackers in a convenience store, I didn't pay much attention to much more than the slices of gold yellow cheese and the emblem of the maker on the package. Kameda Seika makes great salted snacks and you can't go wrong with cheese.
Upon closer inspection (i.e., actually reading the package), I noticed that these lack truth in advertising. While the package shows what appears to be a slice of cheddar or at least processed cheese, these are made with Gouda (which is a buttery white cheese) and Gorgonzola cheese. For those who don't know, that's a pungent, strongly flavored blue cheese which is white and has veins of mold running through it. Considering the fact that these are made with 48% cheese, one can expect some really strong cheese flavor.
Another point that I didn't notice until I opened the bag and dumped them out for picture-taking was that there are what look like tiny alien eggs in the bag. Once again, actually reading the package reveals that they are flavored with black pepper so this is a mix of both cheesy crackers and peppery balls.
When I opened the bag, I was hit by a very strong smell of cheese. This is almost certainly the Gorgonzola effect. I ate one of the little round ones first and it was very peppery, but not overly hot. Tasting a little square cracker separately, I found it super strong, particularly with the blue cheese flavor. When eating them together, the pepper tends to cut through the intense cheesiness and make a very strong, savory mix. I found it to be an excellent combination, but those who don't like pepper or strong, stinky cheeses may find it too intense. The only thing I didn't like was that they seemed to have a sweet finishing taste which I could have done without.
Both types of crackers are very crispy and fresh. They're made with soy beans, black beans and rice flour and a wide variety of flavorings including chicken, pork, onion and garlic. The bag is 40 grams (1.4 oz.) and 169 calories. It cost a little over 100 yen (a dollar).
The flavor of these is very complex and it hits your tongue like a strong, savory flavor bomb. I just wish there were more of the little peppery balls in the mix as the cheese flavor on the crackers is so strong that I'd like a few more of the other kind to off-set the blue cheese flavor. I liked these, and I'd seriously consider getting them again if I run across them naturally. The main problem is that you can only get these at convenience stores and they will be on the shelves for only 120 days.