The Good: Wonderful flavor, Good ingredients
The Bad: Expensive, Not terribly nutritious
The Basics: North Country Cheese Garlic Dill Cheese Curds are a flavorful, delicious snack that is likely to please anyone who loves cheese, garlic or dill!
Having returned almost a week ago from the first vacation my wife and I have had in two and a half years, it is somewhat surprising just how much food I have around the house to review as a result of the trip. I certainly did not think our vacation was designed to give me a stock of reviewable foods! That’s not entirely true; when my wife chose Minnesota as our vacation destination and we decided that we would go through Northern Michigan and Wisconsin, I suddenly had the excited realization that I would be able to sample, stock up and review cheeses that I do not have access to locally. Despite being very excited to potentially tour one of the dairies (and disappointed when that did not materialize!), when my wife and I picked up a cooler, our first cheese purchase was not from that brand. Instead, at a gas station in Wisconsin, on our way home, we picked up cheese curds: North Country Cheese Garlic Dill Cheese Curds!
At $5.99 for a 12 oz. package, these cheese curds are a little pricy, though (to be fair) it has been a while since I have priced out cheese curds. North Country Cheese Garlic Dill Cheese Curds are a great snack, provided one accepts in advance that one’s waistline might expand and that the garlic flavor is potent enough to remain on one’s breath after the cheese curds are gone!
North Country Cheese is a Wisconsin-based dairy that does not seem to have extensive market penetration outside the Midwest United States (yet). The intent of most North Country Cheese cheeses is that they will be cheeses that hold their own as snacks that may be served to consumers in fancier settings. They specialize in cheeses and cheese curds that have different flavors infused into them: garlic, ranch, buffalo wing seasoning, etc. North Country Cheese cheese curds are intended to be little bite size cheese snacks that consumers eat to enjoy their love of cheese and indulge themselves every once in a while. The North Country Cheese Garlic Dill Cheese Curds come in bags at all sorts of places throughout Wisconsin.
Garlic Dill Cheese Curds are infused with actual dill, but the garlic seems to come in the form of garlic seasoning. Mixed throughout the white cheese blobs of these cheese curds are tons of flecks of actual dill!
Ease Of Preparation
North Country Cheese Garlic Dill cheese curds are a cheese curd product, so basically, one opens the container they came in and they begin devouring them. Opening the bag is like opening a bag of chips: open, eat. It's a pretty simple process! Be sure to seal them after opening them and if at all possible, eliminate the air from the package.
North Country Cheese Garlic Dill Cheese Curds are soft and require refrigeration. While cheese curds may be hard to work with for things like hamburger garnish, they melt exceptionally well and things like omelets may be zested up with these little cheese pieces very easily.
On their own, the North Country Cheese Garlic Dill Cheese Curds have a scent that perfectly blends the garlic and dill that is in them. The aroma is mouthwatering to those of us who love dill and the dill seems more potent arguably because the smell from the garlic in the cheese curds opens the nostrils up more to receive the herb’s aroma!
On the tongue, the cheese component seems almost like an afterthought or a medium solely to distribute the garlic and dill; the cheese curds are that flavorful. The cheese flavor asserts itself only after the potent garlic flavor in the cheese curd fades a little. The flavor of the cheese curd is like a magnified expression of cottage cheese (i.e. this does not taste like cheddar cheese or another recognizable cheese). The mild dairy flavor of the actual cheese curd is accented by the dill and the dill flavor is strong enough to overwhelm the cheese curd, though it tends to be subservient in the palate to the garlic in most of the cheese curds.
For something that is so intensely and deliciously flavored, the North Country Cheese Garlic Dill Cheese Curds have virtually no aftertaste, which is nice (and surprising).
North Country Cheese and cheese curds are not intended to be all that one lives on. But for those who try, the Garlic Dill Cheese Curds are not the best choice, though they could be far, far worse. The dill and garlic do not seem to add anything of note to the cheese of nutritional value (these cheese curds have 8% of the RDA of Vitamin A, but that seems to be in the standard range for cheese curds). A serving size is considered a one inch block (1 oz.) and some of the cheese curds I ate from my current bag were about that size or a little larger, though most were about 1/2" blobs. In the recommended serving, there are 110 calories, 80 of which are from fat. These cheese curds have 27% of one's daily recommended saturated fat intake and 7% of the RDA of sodium. On the plus side, it does have 20% of the RDA of calcium and has seven grams of protein.
Obviously, the Garlic Dill Cheese Curds are a dairy product, so those who are lactose intolerant will have problems with it. These cheese curds are made primarily of pasteurized milk, cheese culture and salt. That makes then apparently all-natural, as there are no listed preservatives in the ingredient list!
As a cheese curd and dairy product, North Country Cheese Garlic Dill Cheese Curds should be kept refrigerated. So long as that happens, it ought to stay fresh for several months. Ours had a "sell by" date of February 4, 2015 and so long as they are kept in an airtight, cool environment, they ought to remain fresh and supple. Ours seemed fresh and squeaked when we chewed them!
The Garlic Dill cheese curds are a cheese, so they are not going to stain or ruin anything unless it is ground into a fabric. Baring that, cleanup of nonporous surfaces is as easy as wiping them with a damp cloth. However, the dill from these does seem to come off on the fingers and get all over! Fortunately, the dill is easy to wash off.
I picked up North Country Cheese Garlic Dill Cheese Curds on a lark as part of having an authentic Wisconsin experience (and to balance my wife’s Ranch Cheese Curds from the same company) and I was pleased to discover that they were delicious and easy to enjoy. While they might have been the cause for some of my vacation weight, they were one of the most delicious and consistent cheese curds we tried on our trip!
For other cheese reviews, please check out my takes on:
Sartori Merlot Bellavitano Cheese
New Bridge Mediterranean Cheddar Cheese
Yancey’s Fancy Steakhouse Onion Cheddar Cheese
For other cheese reviews, please visit my index page by Cheese Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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