The Good: Melts well, Tastes appropriately smoky, Nothing truly bad in it, Reasonably priced
The Bad: Intangibles - softer than I would like to work with?
The Basics: A near-perfect cheese, Yancey's Fancy Smoked Gouda With Bacon realistically captures bacon flavor in a cheese that melts well and tastes delightful!
Given that I have made my way through all of the flavors of Jelly Belly jelly beans and almost the entire assortment of Celestial Seasonings teas, I've been on the lookout for more foods I actually enjoy enough to devote time and energy to reviewing. My wife, helpful as she is with such things, steered me in the right direction by recommending I review more cheeses. Locally, we've been finding Yancey's Fancy cheeses, so we decided on our fun evening out to pick up a few more flavors. The one I had most wanted to try was the Smoked Gouda With Bacon!
My wife and I encountered Yancey's Fancy New York Smoked Gouda With Bacon at one of the nicer grocery stores and it was surprisingly one of the less expensive Yancey's Fancy cheeses at $8.99/lb. While she was not so excited about the smoky flavor the cheese promised, I was excited by the blending of cheese and meat and fortunately, this cheese lived up to its promised flavors!
Yancey's Fancy is a manufacturer of Artisan Cheeses here in upstate New York. The intent of most Yancey's Fancy 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 cheddar cheeses that have different flavors infused into them: champagne, jalapeno, various nuts, etc., as well as more exotic cheeses like gouda. Yancey's Fancy cheeses come in wheels (usually ten or twenty pounds each) and most stores chop the wheels into blocks. On-line, it is fairly easy to find the cheese in one pound blocks.
The Smoked Gouda with bacon cheese is exactly as its name implies. This is a creamy cheese (not quite white, not quite yellow, but in between) with actual bacon broken up in it. Mixed throughout the smoked Gouda block of Smoked Gouda with bacon are the actual chunks of red, cooked bacon, though none of them are bigger than a 1/4" long by 1/16" wide strip. Yancey's Fancy Smoked Gouda with bacon comes encased in a soft brown wax which allows the cheese to maintain its shape and solid state. The brown wax helps consumers distinguish it from other flavors of Yancey's Fancy cheese.
Ease Of Preparation
Yancey's Fancy Smoked Gouda with bacon 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 wheel, remove the plastic wrap it is sealed in. When that is done, simply peel back the wax coating on the outer edges. This happens with remarkable ease. The Smoked Gouda with bacon cheese seems to not adhere to the wax. This makes it a very easy cheese to separate from the wax coating and it may be placed on a cutting block or plate ready to be cut!
More than most cheeses, Yancey's Fancy Smoked Gouda with bacon is characterized by a softness that makes it problematic to work with. While this cheese is not so soft as a processed cheese food, it is sufficiently soft that it does not shred easily using a cheese grater. Even so, fresh out of the refrigerator, my cheese plane passes through it just fine.
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 was actually as a grilled cheese sandwich and I was pleasantly surprised by how this cheese handled, melting perfectly before the outside of the bread burned!
On its own, the Yancey's Fancy Smoked Gouda with bacon Cheese has a scent dominated by the bacon, which made me think the flavor would be a bit more mild than I would like. Only when it is warmed does the Gouda scent take over and that scent is quite smoky and sharp.
When ventilated and slightly warmed, The scent prepares the consumer for the taste of the Smoked Gouda with bacon. The soft, mild Gouda cheese melts, but its flavor coats the tongue like a rich sauce. The cheese is more mild in its smoky quality, so those looking for something sharp or truly dry and abrasive to the tongue will likely be a little disappointed. Still, I found the lighter smoked flavor decent, as it allowed the bacon flavor to come forth.
The Yancey's Fancy Smoked Gouda with bacon releases the full flavor of the bacon after only a moment of the cheese lingering on the tongue. The salted meat flavor erupts from within the cheese and carries itself perfectly over the taste buds. The Smoked Gouda with bacon has a subsequently rich flavor that is absolutely delightful for anyone who loves cheese.
Yancey's Fancy New York Artisan Cheeses are not intended to be all that one lives on. But for those who try, the Smoked Gouda with bacon is a particularly 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 100 calories, 70 of which are from fat. This cheese has 25% of one's daily recommended saturated fat intake and 11% of the RDA of sodium. On the plus side, it does have 20% of the RDA of calcium and has six grams of protein.
Obviously, Smoked Gouda with bacon 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 gouda cheese, bacon, and natural smoke flavor. That makes it mostly natural, but it does have the preservative trisodium citrate, which robs it of being considered all natural.
As a cheese, Yancey's Fancy Smoked Gouda with bacon 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 one-pound block was gone within five days of being opened! So long as it is kept in an airtight, cold environment, it ought to remain fresh and supple.
Smoked Gouda with bacon 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.
Yancey's Fancy has a real winner with its Smoked Gouda with bacon and while I try to come up with the detractions for this cheese, I find myself at a loss for words. I like the way the bacon and cheese flavors accent one another, but I think I would have liked it just a little smokier. That said, this is a near-perfect cheese and one which anyone who loves good cheese should be on the lookout for!
For other Yancey's Fancy cheese reviews, please check out my takes on:
Chive Cheddar Cheese Curds
NY Maple Cheddar
For other food and drink reviews, please visit my index page on the subject! That is available by clicking here!
© 2011, 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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