Product Type: McLelland Cheese
Member Name: Novabug
Mclellend Seriously Strong Cheese Chilli Flavour
Advantages: Tasty and creamy, nicely hot and easy to spread
Disadvantages: Solidifies quickly if not stored correctly, Not for people who don't like Chilli.
We all have our favourite savoury foods, but when you put them together things don't always work out as planned. My dumpling omelette was a shocker! Sometimes these combinations can work wonders though and tickle the taste buds. With me being a big fan of cream cheese and spicy food, this tasty sandwich spread was brought to my attention by my niece, who shares my love of food which has the potential to scold your tongue. Chilli and cheese is always good on a pizza, so why not as a spread? Here are my thoughts about McLelland Seriously Strong Chilli Spread.
--Smooth Heat Jimmy? Très Bon!--
McLelland Seriously Strong cheeses have been doing the rounds for a few years now, and like the other branded cheeses such as Cathedral City and Moo, they are very popular. While popularity may pave the way for good quality, they are competing with delicatessen local cheeses and farmers market own brands, and due the mass production factor, makes them cheaper. This is a shame for me, as I'm a big supporter of local produce all over the world and particularly in Britain. 'So why buy this 'Bug?' you say? Well, I like good tasting food, and I feel this is in that bracket, but rest assured, I'll still be buying my fresh Cheddar from, erm, Cheddar.
McClelland, (double C) is a Scottish cheese producer which was brought out by the French dairy foods giant Lactalis in 2005. They are the holder over many well known dairy brands such a Président and Rachel's Organic Yogurt. Seemingly appreciative of the McCelland name, Latcalis stamp the 1850 date of the Scottish companies foundation on the packaging, but strangely drop a C in the title. Odd, but with the added wording of Seriously Strong and some cheesy TV adverts, the brand sells well off the supermarket coolers, and this is one of my favourites. Chilli and cheese, what can go wrong?
--Price and Packaging--
In general, spreadable cheese's mostly hover under the £2 mark for 150 grams or so, at £1.45 for 125 grams this is a reasonable price, and can commonly be found on offers or multi-buy deals. It's on par with the price of original Dairylea spread and Philadelphia flavoured varieties.
The McLelland Seriously Strong brand does make a colourful impact on the supermarket fridges, particularly when compared to other brands of cheese spread. Bright green and cream packaging with a red rosette motif logo is the uniform colour for all Seriously Strong products, and this Chilli spread is no exception. It's simply differentiated from the plain spread by the world 'Chilli' in a small red typeface, and a small image of chilli peppers on the side. This can cause some confusion when buying, so look carefully. The container is plastic, quite thin, and the lid is a simple pop-off affair. With a foil layer inside to keep the freshness, the container performs it's purpose well, but keep that foil insert intact, because without it the contents can solidify quickly even with the lid fully on. It's certainly a rather unique design all round, and does catch your eye amongst the other brands.
--Taste and Texture--
If anyone has opened a tin of window frame putty, this is the sort of sight you get once you peel away the foil top, a slightly wobbly set mass. A mellow orange in colour due to the chilli powder content, with flecks of red pepper, it's actually quite appealing to the eye for cheese lovers, reminding me of Pepper Monterery Jack (Pepperjack). Although it can set pretty firm in a cold temperature, your knife glides in easily with no resistance. Its more firm than Dairylea, but holds together better than Laughing Cow or Philadelphia. Spreading does differ with the temperature however, and what you are spreading it onto. Like a chilled pure butter, it will rip up a slice of white or wholemeal if it is cold, so I prefer it slightly under room temperature to make spreading easy. On crackers and biscuits it's wonderful though.
While it has the 'Seriously Strong' title attached to it, the cheese flavour is not all that strong really, a slightly under-mature nutty chedder which is certainly very creamy, but doesn't have the bite that the solid cheese version has. The chilli mixed in gives the kick it needs to tickle the taste buds, and it does this nicely. At first, you may not taste or feel the heat of the chilli, or the red peppers for that matter, but a few chews and a hit at the back of throat of warmness is instant and surprising. It's a nice combination, the smooth, mellow and medium taste of the cheese with a kick of chilli and red pepper behind it works well. It's not massively hot, not for me anyhow, but just right to liven a boring sandwich or cracker up. I have used it with other sandwich fillers, and my favourite, to my surprise is with roast chicken, very tasty.
The bits of red pepper are not noticeable in the texture, it just feels very smooth and not 'bitty' or clumpy, and neither is is over salted. As I have said before, it can solidify and harden in the container after a time, but if stored correctly, it lasts well for a dairy product, over a week is good in my book. This is a minor flaw, because the taste is very pleasant indeed, as is the general texture and even the aroma is alluring, for someone that like their cheese that is. It also adapts well too. You can melt it without it becoming a translucent tile of bubbles, and include it into sauces and recipes. Finally, it doesn't dissolve into water in the container whilst in storage either. A fine dairy product of high quality.
--Ingredients and Nutritional Information--
Cheddar Cheese (53%), Water, Butter, Emulsifying Salts (E339, E452), Skimmed Milk Powder, Preservatives: Potassium Sorbate, Nisin. Chilli Powder, Dehydrated Red Pepper.
Allergy Information: Contains Milk, May contain lysozyme from egg. Suitable for vegetarians.
Amounts per 100g
Energy - 1233 kj/298 kcal
Protein - 15.9g
Fat in total -25.5g
Of Saturates - 18.0g
Carbohydrate in total - 1.5g
Of Sugars - 1.5g
Fibre - trace
Sodium - 0.9g
Calcium - 380mg
As far as cheese spreads go, this is definitely one that graces my top 5. I prefer this far more than any other flavoured cheese spreads like the Onion and Chives Philadelphia, and it's a little bit cheaper too. I was always a lover of Dairylea in my childhood, but as the taste buds dwindle as we get older, a stronger flavour is required, and if you like base food with an added kick of heat, this fits the bill neatly. Tasty and versatile, the French and the Scottish have come together in a graceful union here to produce a great addition to your fridge, and a product that would make Wallace sing from the rooftops. Maybe it could be a touch stronger for my personal taste, but as a balanced flavour it's great.
Thanks for Reading. © Novabug
Summary: Seriously Chilli Cheese-errific!