The Good: Melts well, Nothing truly bad in it, Easy to works with.
The Bad: Comparatively expensive, Not very flavorful
The Basics: Yancey's Fancy Pepperoni Cheddar Cheddar is one of the few disappointments the great cheese manufacturer has made, not tasting robustly cheddar or particularly like pepperoni.
It is a rare thing that I encounter a cheese I am not particularly fond of. It is even more rare when I encounter a cheddar cheese from Yancey's Fancy that I do not like. Yancey's Fancy has a great record with me and I have found so many of their products to be entirely delectible. As a fan of meats and cheeses, I was especially excited about the Yancey's Fancy Pepperoni Cheddar Cheese. Alas, though, Yancey's Fancy Pepperponi Cheddar Cheese left me wishing for more, on both the cheddar and pepperoni fronts.
I encountered Yancey's Fancy Pepperoni Cheddar cheese at the grocery store and I was disappointed to not be able to find it for less than $12.99/lb. At that price, I figured it had to be an amazing cheese. As it was, I was able to get a half pound and I have been feeling I overpaid ever since I began eating it.
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 with bacon. 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 Pepperoni Cheddar cheese is exactly as its name implies. This is a softer orange cheese with actual pepperoni broken up in it. Mixed throughout the cheddar block are the actual chunks of red, cooked pepperoni, though none of them are bigger than a speck of fresh ground pepper would be. Yancey's Fancy Pepperoni Cheddar cheese comes encased in a soft reddish-brown wax which allows the cheese to maintain its shape and solid state. The red-brown wax helps consumers distinguish it from other flavors of Yancey's Fancy cheese.
Ease Of Preparation
Yancey's Fancy Pepperoni Cheddar cheese 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 Pepperoni Cheddar 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 Pepperoni Cheddar cheese is soft and falls apart easily, making it problematic to work with. Fresh out of the refrigerator, my cheese plane passes through it just fine, pepperoni and all. As the cheese gets closer to room temperature, the Pepperoni Cheddar becomes more difficult to work with, especially on the thinner part of the wedge.
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 easy to work with when melted into sandwiches, eggs or hamburgers. The first time I used this cheese, it was as an ingredient in an omelet and there it was perfectly melted and gooey and even smelled like pepperoni rather aromatically!
On its own, the Yancey's Fancy Pepperoni Cheddar cheese has a light cheese aroma. The bouquet is very familiar for those who have ever had a processed cheese product. This smells much like, of all things, Cheese Whiz.
When placing the Pepperoni Cheddar on my tongue, I was surprised by how very mild the cheddar flavor of this cheese was. Bearing more of a resemblance to an American cheese in the primary flavor, the Pepperoni Cheddar is only vaguely cheddar flavored. The aftertaste is more sour and sharp with a tang like a cheddar cheese.
What is noticeably lacking is the flavor of pepperoni. The bits of pepperoni in the cheese add texture, but nothing in the way of flavor. The Pepperoni Cheddar is not even particularly salty around the pepperoni.
The Yancey's Fancy Pepperoni Cheddar cheese releases the a little more flavor when heated. The pepperoni scent comes out more and that enhances the flavor, though the cheese portion of the cheese is still ridiculously mild.
Yancey's Fancy New York Artisan Cheeses are not intended to be all that one lives on. But for those who try, the Pepperoni Cheddar cheese is not a terribly healthy choice. The pepperoni 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 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, Pepperoni Cheddar cheese 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 aged cheddar cheese, pepperoni and trisodium citrate. That makes it mostly natural, outside the preservative trisodium citrate.
As a cheese, Yancey's Fancy Pepperoni Cheddar cheese 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 the half pound did not last long, as I made two omelettes, a bunch of cheeseburgers and then tested this cheese on its own! So long as it is kept in an airtight, cold environment, it ought to remain fresh and supple.
Pepperoni 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.
Yancey’s Fancy Pepperoni Cheddar cheese is depressingly underflavored, which makes it a real exception to the rule of greatness for Yancey's Fancy cheeses. Yancey's Fancy makes a lot of amazing cheeses; unfortunately, this is not one of them.
For other Yancey's Fancy cheese reviews, please check out my takes on:
Buffalo Wing Cheddar
New York Sharp Cheddar
For other food and drink reviews, please visit my index page on the subject! That is available by clicking here!
© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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