Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cabot Smoky Bacon Cheddar Cheese Is Hard To Work With, But Worth It For The Taste!

The Good: Melts well, Tastes delicious, Nothing truly bad in it, Reasonably priced
The Bad: Fractures very easily, making it difficult to work with.
The Basics: With a delicious taste of cheese and meat, Cabot Smoky Bacon Cheddar Cheese is only brought down by how difficult it can be to work with.

One of the aspects of my personality that some who only know me casually have found odd is my sense of loyalty. I'm one of those people that has loyalty to ideals, loyalty to people and loyalty to brands I believe in. It takes a lot, despite my wanting to gather as much experience through reviewing, to leave brands I love to try other manufacturer's stuff. So, for example, when it comes to cheeses, I am still much more likely to pick up a block of Yancey's Fancy cheese because I enjoy their product and have not yet made it through their entire culinary repertoire. But when my wife and I were out spending the last of our two-week food budget, she decided to splurge for us on a block of Cabot Smoky Bacon Cheddar Cheese. My instinct was to put it back, but it was on sale and the flavor sounded like it had the potential to be a real treat.

And it was!

My wife and I found Cabot Smoky Bacon Cheddar Cheese at our local grocery store and it was surprisingly one of the more reasonably priced brand-named cheddars at $7.99/lb. (before the sale discount!). As one who loves bacon and cheddar the idea of putting the two together in one block sounded delicious to me and Cabot succeeded to such an extent that I suspect I will be going through their entire line-up once I get through the final few flavors of Yancey's Fancy cheeses!


Cabot is a manufacturer of cheddar cheeses and other cheeses in Vermont, at the Cabot Creamery Cooperative. The Creamery has been in business since 1919 and its cheeses tend to be found in large blocks. On-line, it is fairly easy to find the cheese in one pound blocks, though where we bought our Smoky Bacon Cheddar, the giant block had been cut into irregular sizes. Ours was just over half a pound. That gave us plenty to experiment with and enjoy. We sampled it on its own, in omelets with other meats and vegetables, and on sandwiches (hot and cold!). This is a pretty delicious culinary treat!

The Smoky Bacon Cheddar cheese is exactly as its name implies. This is a harder white cheese with actual bacon broken up in it. Mixed throughout the medium-sharp cheddar block of Smoky Bacon Cheddar are the actual chunks of red, cooked bacon, though none of them we found were bigger than a 1/4" long by 1/4" wide strip.

Ease Of Preparation

Cabot Smoky Bacon Cheddar is a cheese, so more often than not, it is used on its own or as an ingredient in a recipe. Preparation of the cheese is pretty simple: if it has been purchased in a smaller quantity than the entire block, remove the plastic wrap it is sealed in. This makes it a very easy cheese to prepare!

More than most cheeses, Cabot Smoky Bacon Cheddar is characterized by a brittleness that makes it a real pain in the butt to work with. The cheese plane cuts through both the cheese and the bacon easily enough, but the resulting slice frequently lacks the strength to hold together. Almost every slice or cut I made into the block yielded a piece where the cheese fractured around the bacon. This was irksome when eating the cheese on its own because it would separate from the bacon, which is a key selling point of this particular flavor.

That said, when the cheese is sliced, it melts beautifully with wonderful evenness and liquidity, making it an ideal ingredient to make flavorful omelets or to replace cheddar cheese in dishes like macaroni and cheese. It is delicious when melted into sandwiches, eggs or even a cream sauce (to make a cheese sauce). The first time I tried this cheese in a dish was as part of an omelet with no other fillings and this cheese carried the meal because of the bacon embedded (or, by that point, melted) within it.


On its own, the Cabot Smoky Bacon Cheddar Cheese is very simply to define from its bouquet. This smells like bacon. The odor from this cheese is almost entirely sublimated to the scent of smoked bacon, salty and full-flavored from the aroma forth!

The initial aroma adequately prepares the consumer for the taste of the Smoky Bacon Cheddar. When solid, the Cabot Smoked Bacon Cheddar is flavored by the salty, distinct flavor of bacon. The cheddar cheese taste is surprisingly mild and it lacks the sharpness that I find ideal. Instead, the creamy cheddar melts away from the chewy bacon pieces and one is left with the salty, fatty flavor of bacon in their mouth, as opposed to the bite of a great extra sharp cheddar. This Cabot cheese lacks that cheesy flavor.

Cabot's Smoky Bacon Cheddar comes alive in an odd way when melted. In that form, the cheddar does not assert itself, but rather is spreads the bacon flavor away from the actual bacon chunks. As the cheese becomes more fluid, it carries the salty, smoky flavor throughout its body and over the tongue of the consumer. It is hard to not want more from how good the cheese tastes - as a conduit for bacon flavor - when melted. The bacon pieces, when the cheese melts, becomes slightly less potent in its flavor.


Cabot Cheeses are not intended to be all that one lives on, though the Smoky Bacon Cheddar is delicious enough to want to. For those who try to live on Cabot cheese, the Smoky Bacon Cheddar is a poor choice. The bacon does not seem to add anything of note to the cheese of nutritional value. A serving size is considered a one inch block (1 oz.). In that, there are 110 calories, 80 of which are from fat. This cheese has 30% of one's daily recommended saturated fat intake and 8% 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, Smoky Bacon Cheddar is a dairy product and a meat product, so it is in no way kosher and those who are lactose intolerant will have problems with it. This cheese is made primarily of pasteurized milk, cheese cultures, and bacon. That makes it mostly natural, but it does have at least three preservatives in the ingredients, which robs it of being considered all natural.


As a cheese, Cabot Smoky Bacon Cheddar should be kept refrigerated. So long as that happens, it ought to stay fresh for several weeks. I am utterly unable to write about shelf-life as our half-pound block was gone within two days of being opened! Unfortunately, even kept in ideal temperatures and an airless container, the cheese became more brittle after the first time it was opened.

Smoky Bacon Cheddar is a cheese, so it is 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. Because it has the bacon, though, it may leave grease stains on lighter or papery surfaces.


My first experience with Cabot is a wonderful one and Smoky Bacon Cheddar is a taste winner I intend to enjoy again in the future! A strong recommend, especially for those looking to work with an entire block at once to avoid the workability issues.

For other cheese reviews, please check out:
Yancey's Fancy Peppadew Cheddar
Denmark's Finest Havarti Dill
Emmi Cave Aged Kaltbach Le Gruyere


For other food and drink reviews, please be sure to check out my index page on the subject by clicking here!

© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
| | |


  1. Wow, what a lovely review - thanks! Our farm family owners (and I) appreciate your support!


  2. Glad you liked the review! I love reviewing new cheeses!