Sunday, January 24, 2010

Alouette Cheese Review and Giveaway

Giveaway is now closed!

I love cheese.

All kinds of cheese from American and Provolone slices for sandwiches, to feta crumbles on a cracker smeared with hummus, to fresh mozzarella stringing from a slice of pizza or steaming plate of pasta bake.

I remember talking with a sweet lady at a women's ministry social over our plates of finger foods and telling her that I'd never met a cheese I didn't like (this to her bemused observation at some cheese tidbits that "her daughters like all kinds of cheeses that she'd never heard of, but she usually just bought the sliced yellow kind".)

I'm not a gourmet by any stretch of the imagination, so I know there are cheese's out there that I might turn up my nose and oh-so-uneducated-palate at, but so far we have not been introduced.

So, when I got a chance to try some of Alouette spreadable cheeses, I jumped at the chance.

I received a box with several packages of their new Sweet & Spicy Pepper Medley, and their seasonal Berries & Cream flavor.

The first thing I did was grab two packages and head to my mother's house (we were home in Louisiana at the time) and we broke out one of each of these and tried them spread on crackers. Oh, my. Really good. Really, really good. In my opinion, one of the tests of a really good tasting cheese is how it tastes all by itself, and how it tastes served very simply, like on a cracker. (or on your finger. Shhhh.)

I later tried some of the Berries & Cream as a spread on toast--it would be excellent to spread on a toasted bagel, or a rice cake. Or on a piece of cardboard. What amazes me about this is that the main "berry" in this is raspberry, which I am normally not a big fan of, but it's mixed with cranberries and with blueberry juice, and it has just the right taste and texture. My only complaint is that it's not available year-round, but is considered seasonal.

The Sweet & Savory Pepper Medley I ate on crackers, and I confess, about half a container I scooped out and ate all by myself with corn chips. I used some of this in a quesadilla I made for lunch one day, as well as some party pinwheels. I liked this flavor every way I used it.

In the information packet I received some coupons good for several varieties of FREE Alouette cheese, some to keep for myself and some to share--for their Baby Brie, Spreadable Cheese, and Cheese Crumbles. Now, so far I haven't been able to find the cheese crumbles, but I've only looked at two stores so far, and it's quite possible I overlooked them--I found some of their cheeses in the deli area, and some also in the dairy section at Publix, so look both places.

I chose the Garlic & Herbs and the Sundried Tomato & Basil to try on my own.

The Sundried Tomato & Basil was, once again, wonderful--good on a cracker, and good also in the party pinwheels I made. This kind would be good on a toasted bagel crisp, or those little toasted bread rounds that are served with bruschetta.

The Garlic & Herb I was eager to try after I found a recipe at the Alouette site for garlic bread. I have to say, we were disappointed in this--I'm not sure what I expected, and maybe I spread the cheese on too thick, but it was hot and kind of gunky, and not that garlic-y, if you know what I mean. I ended up stirring the rest of this into some pasta sauce where it added a nice creaminess, but I probably won't be buying this one again.

My conclusion--Alouette cheeses are definitely well worth the try--it all depends on the variety and on your personal taste.

Berries & Cream, Sundried Tomato & Basil, and Sweet & Savory Pepper Medley are definite keepers. Garlic & Herbs, not so much. Okay, I've been told in a couple of the giveaway comments that the problem may have been that I bought the Light Garlic & Herbs, but that the regular is delicious--so I'll keep an open mind on that one!

There are lots of really good sounding recipes as their site, several of which I'm looking forward to making. The Baby Brie in puff pastry or baked with brown sugar and nuts, along with the stuffed mushroom caps all look like something I'd like to try.

And now for the giveaway--are you ready?

The prize is a simple one, one winner will receive five coupons for FREE Alouette Cheese--1 for Baby Brie, and 2 each for Soft Spreadable cheese and cheese Crumbles, any flavor or variety.

To enter, just leave your name, email address, and comment on the giveaway form. This giveaway will be open until Sunday night, January 31st at 6:00 pm Eastern Time.

Just one entry per person this time, please!

The Giveaway is now closed!

(Disclosure: I received 6 tubs of spreadable cheese and 5 coupons for free cheese so that I could taste and review the product. I did not receive any further compensation for doing the review or the giveaway, and the opinions stated are those of my own.)

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!

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