Product Type: Kraft Cheese
Newest Review: ... as it turns out - it's not! At the beginning of this review, I made a list of my favourite ways to use this spread, it's fantastic to... more
Dollop of White, Cheesey Vileness, anyone?
Philadelphia Extra Light Cream Cheese
Member Name: MarcoG
Philadelphia Extra Light Cream Cheese
Advantages: Can help you on a diet, or if you're health conscious
Disadvantages: Nowhere near as tasty as the regular version
Introduction (ooo how I yearn for the full fat!):
Now, call me a traditionalist, but I like my cream cheese full fat. In the past I have thought, what's the point of a light version, why sacrifice the gorgeous taste, for the sake of saving a few calories? I adore Philadelphia and it is probably my favourite of all cheeses (although Brie does come a close second). I could eat Philadelphia on it's own, I find it that yummy. On toast, crackers, apples, burgers, steaks, with chips, a dip with veggies, anything! One day, I decided to start a health kick, and came to the (quite obvious) conclusion that it would be worth trying the lesser fat options. So, I tried Philadelphia light and remarkably, quite liked it. I managed to turn my tastebuds to it completely...then something else came along, claiming to be even better for you...Philadelphia EXTRA light. So, I tried it and...welll...I think I'll stick with my regular 'light' version thank you very much.
Philadelphia is made by Kraft, who in some circles are famous for their synthetic cheeses (they famously, make those god awful rubber cheese squares...urgh!). Kraft are the second largest food and drink company in the world! Based in America, they officially started business in 1903. As far as the cheese itself goes, Philadelphia is available in other varieties, such as garlic and herbs, chives, as well as light and it's original full fat. The reason is it called 'Philadephia' is because back in 1880 when cream cheeses were first being made, it was named 'Philadelphia' as that was where all the best quality produce was being made (the city of Philadelphia). So began the comparison with the quality of Philadelphia. Then some 20 years later, Kraft took on the brand (they were previously known as Phoenix, if anyone's interested). The extra light variety came onto the market in 2001 and claims to have less than 5% fat content. Then in 2006 it was remarketed as having an even tastier recipe...(really?? Could have fooled me!)
What is it? (apart from tasting vile):
'Philadelphia Extra Light' is a 'sweet' and smooth cream cheese, made from pasteurized milkfat. Therefore it is a cheese with a high moisture content, as opposed to more traditional hard fat cheeses. Probably the most significant point to note, is that a 30g serving has a cool 33kcal (but it also leaves your palette feeling violated).
Taste any good? (puh-lease):
Um...if you haven't already guessed...no. Not for me. The extra light variety doesn't look very different from it's big fat brother, well perhaps it is a little whiter in colour, and I haven't found much difference in terms of spreadability. But I find the taste to be substandard. Perhaps it's because I know it's not full fat, so I dislike it before even eating, I don't know. But the taste seems lacking and somewhat artificial. Perhaps it's the extra stabilizers and citric acid that they add in, but it definitely has an undeniable flavour that just doesn't cut it. Urgh! I really dislike it. I think it's passable (just) for anyone on a diet, but if you don't HAVE to eat this version, I would recommend the 'Light' variety for health conscious people. If you don't care about weight gain, then go for the original fat boy version.
Storage (if you must bring some home):
As with all cheeses, this is best kept in the fridge. The sell by dates are usually quite good, you can keep it for a good while (6 months to a year) if unopened. Then once it's opened, it's suggested that you use it up within a few days. Sometimes, when I go back to an opened pack of Philly, there is a clear, watery liquid floating around on top, I usually tip it down the sink, or as I understand it, you can just mix it back into the cheese (this sounds a bit weird if you ask me, mixing up my own cheese??). This watery-ness is nothing to worry about and has nothing to do with you being irresponsible and neglecting to care for your tub of cream cheese! It's fine! Also note, that you can't freeze the stuff, as the texture of the cheese will go funny and turn into a weird mush...don't do it!
Packaging and Sizes:
All varieties come in similar plastics tubs that have a clear plastic lid. Once you remove the lid, there is another foil lid that has to be pealed back to get to the cream cheese itself. You can even buy 'Philadelphia Extra Light' in small mini tubs, that contain 4 x 35g servings. So, if you're squeamish about finding the weird, clear liquid swimming across your cheese when you go back to it, worry no more. You can also buy it in 200g tubs (unlike its fattier kin, I've never found it in larger tubs)
Price (incase you really are considering buying it):
Depending on where you shop, you should be able to buy 'Philadelphia Extra Light' for around £1.40 from most supermarkets.
How Does it Compare to Other Cream Cheeses On the Market?:
I've often tried supermarket own brands of cream cheeses, and well, to be honest I've never noticed much of a difference. Apart from the 'light' versions. Whilst I don't like the extra light version of Philadelphia, it is heavenly when compared to supermarket own brand 'extra light' cream cheese, which doesn't really say much for the taste of 'extra light' cream cheeses as a whole. If you must have this version, Philadelphia probably do have (although it pains me to say) the best on the market.
As I've already mentioned, a 30g serving of Philly Extra Light, contains only 33kcal and 1.4g of fat (of which 1g saturates). It has hardly any Fibre or Sodium (0.1g) and 1.5g of Carbs. As for protein, only 3.5g. This variety of Philadelphia is fine for Vegetarians but not Vegans, because it's made from milk (!!!)
Ok, who hasn't seen those blummin annoying adverts, with women dressed up as angels, eating the cream cheese with their celery?? Well, those are the adverts for Philly. Yes, they are annoying. No, I don't want to discuss anymore. Shame!
What else?...Oooo Yes...You Can Cook with it!:
This is the great thing about cream cheese! If I'm making a pasta sauce, I often add a blob of Philly into it, to make nice and creamy. However, you would have to try it yourself with 'Extra Light' to see if you like it, you might find it comprises the taste of the sauce completely, it's down to personal preference at the end of the day.
Believe it of not, there is actually a 'Philadelphia cookbook', and their UK website includes a lot of recipes (website listed at end of review). I also really want to include my favourite and simplist recipe (it doesn't take up much room in the review at all, promise)
Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cheesecake:
8 oz Philadelphia (Extra Light or fat boy) cream.
8 oz Double Cream.
2 tbsp sugar.
1 prepared biscuity crust.
Mix the Philly and sugar together until smooth. Whip up the cream. Gently stir them together. Carefully put into the crust. Then pop it in the fridge until set (4 hours or so) EASY!!
(told you it wouldn't take up too much space)
Conclusion (...as if you couldn't guess what I think?):
Ok, it's no secret, I don't like Philadelphia Extra Light! I do think, however, that it serves a good purpose for those on a diet, or those health conscious people out there. It is useful if you want cream cheese without the fat (that's the only reason I've given 2 stars instead of 1). But having said that, it really is a poor version of the mighty 'Philadelphia', in my opinion. The taste is comprised with all the artificial after taste one might expect from the 'fat-free' version of a product. Some people's tastebuds aren't susceptible to the difference, so by all means, Extra Light is good in that case. But don't kid yourself that this version is no different to ordinary cream cheese. It just isn't. Yuck!
If you want more information you can check out:
Thanks for reading ☺
© MarcoG 2008
(also on ciao)
Summary: Chuck this in the bin...Go for the full fat...You know you want to :)