Tuesday, June 1, 2010
My husband and I bought a gigantic 6-lb. bag of mini pretzels from Costco over a month ago and haven't even made a dent in it yet. If you marry our abundant supply of salty-bread-based twists with a desire on my part to find another processed cheese product to review, you'll know my motivation in choosing this single serving fondue as a snack.
I found this at a Lawson's 100 shop (so it cost 100 yen or about a dollar) and was intrigued by the small size and the fact that it says that this is made of "natural cheese" (as opposed to processed cheese). Mind you, this is still processed cheese to me. Anything which is processed such that it melts evenly and contains additives is "processed" in my book.
There are picture-based instructions on the top of the box, which I didn't pay attention to and therefore did not follow. I did look at the top of the little cup and did the important thing, and that was to remove the plastic seal from the top of the cup. That meant I didn't explode the fondue all over the microwave. The part that I didn't do was place the solidified cheese bowl back into the box before putting it into the microwave. I'm guessing this step is to steam the fondue a bit, but I don't think it mattered at all.
This smelled like mild cheese, unsurprisingly. The texture is smooth and it is a good consistency for dipping. You're supposed to microwave it for 40 seconds at 500-600 watts, and that allows you to eat it all before it completely congeals. It did start to solidify to some extent, but it wasn't an issue given that the portion is small and it's easy to finish up before it totally returns to it's original state.
The taste is better than most processed cheese. It resembles Gouda with a hint of Swiss. It's definitely not as intense as some cheeses (like Cheddar), but there is a tiny whisper of aged cheese flavor. It's not great, but it's serviceable and better than some processed cheeses. I do wish it was a bit sharper.
There are 45 grams (1.6 oz.) and 94 calories of fondue in the bowl and that's actually a pretty good portion size. There is enough cheese to dip 12-14 mini pretzels. I had this as an afternoon snack and found it pretty satisfying as a more filling and marginally less "junky" snack. I'm not doing cartwheels over it, but I'd probably buy it again if the mood struck me or I wanted a snack and felt like spending too much so I could dip my pretzels in warm, melted cheese without making an effort on my part.