Product Type: Kraft Cheese
Newest Review: ... soft cheese spread comes in regular, light and extra light, as well as having a variety of different flavours, such as garlic and cracker... more
Philadelphia Extra Light
Philadelphia Extra Light Cream Cheese
Member Name: lilyellowfish1
Philadelphia Extra Light Cream Cheese
Advantages: Just as tasty as the original and much healthier
Disadvantages: Expensive compared to competitors
Why I buy Philadelphia
I am a great fan of all things cheese, from soft cheeses to hard. I have always loved Philadelphia, whether it be the normal version, light or even extra light, I find no difference in quality between them. As I am currently on a diet the extra light version is perfect for me. The same great taste but better for you! And those adverts, although annoying look so tasty and always have me craving Philadelphia and they remind you that you can still have these tasty recipes with Light and Extra Light too.
What is Philadelphia
Philadelphia is a soft white cream cheese made mainly from milk.
About Philadelphia Extra Light
Philadelphia is made my well known product brand company Kraft, who also brought us the likes of Vegemite, Peanut Butter and Dairylea. Philadelphia Extra Light was originally released in 2001 with less than 5% fat but the taste wasn't up to scratch and didn't compare to the original version but then in 2006 they changed the product, to still contain less than 5% fat but be much tastier and more alike to the original, it has proved hugely popular, especially with those who enjoy the tasty treat of Philadelphia but who like to watch their weight. In 2003 Philidelphia Mini Tubs were released in Light and Extra Light Versions as they had proved popular. When some products are made into healthier less fat versions they loose their flavour and quality but not Philadephia Light or Extra Light, it is still as thick and creamy as the others. They have made a fantastic product here. Philadelphia Extra Light is exactly half the amount of calories that Philadelphia Original contains, so especially in large amounts this makes a huge difference. It is also not replaced with sugar like some low fat products are. In these times so many people are weight and look concious, releasing an extra light version could never go against Kraft, it would always be a big seller. It has been proved that is an acceptable product to eat for dieters and people wanting to loose weight as it has been featured on may diet websites approving it, so it can't be bad can it.
History of Philadelphia
An American dairyman William Lawrence first produced cream cheese in 1872, and distributed the brand in foil wrappers from 1880 under the name of the Empire Company, which all seems a bit strange now. It was named Philadelphia after the city which was considered at the time to be the home of top quality food. In 1903, the Phoenix Cheese Company of New York bought the business and with it the Philadelphia trademark. Production of the brand increased when Phoenix merged with the Kraft Cheese Company in 1928 and new, more consistent manufacturing processes followed. It is now one of the most famous soft cheese brands in the world.
Packaging & Storage
Philadelphia Extra Light comes in the same container as all the other Philadelphias, the foil seal displays that it is an Extra Light variety and the colouring seems to be slightly lighter than the other Philadelphias, I think to entise you to purchase it. It displays the nutritional information on the front and on the back and explains how much of your daily allowance is used consuming Philadelphia Extra Light, which is not much! A list of ingredients and other information can be clearly found of the back of the pack. The pack comes with a foil seal and plastic lid for easy storage and preservation of the product, although this does help keep the product fresh, there is still a limit on the time you need to consume a packet by, I would say this is usually about one week once opened and if kept tightly shut and refridgerated. Although Philadelphia should be kept refridgerated it can not be frozen as it breaks down the texture of the cheese resulting in an inferior product. However, both baked and chilled cheesecakes can be frozen but the texture of the thawed cheesecake may alter, but I have never found it to. Philadelphia usually has a shelf life of 6 months - 1 year depending where it is purchased from.
I have always wondered why there is sometimes water on top of Philadelphia and worried that it may mean the product had gone off but after going on the website I found this very interesting piece of information out, which proves it is perfectly safe and nothing to worry about -
"The clear liquid, which sometimes forms on top of Philadelphia occurs as a result of syneresis and is quite normal. This is a harmless separation of liquid from the cheese and will not affect the taste of your Philadelphia, it can easily be either mixed back into the Philadelphia or tipped off if preferred."
Taste, Texture & Smell
Philadelphia Extra Light is white in colour and tastes pretty much the same as Philadelphia Original, its thick, creamy with a pleasant aftertaste. There is only a really slight difference in flavour, it doesn't taste quite as rich as the original, which I think is actually better, especially if you're having quite a lot of it. It looks really rich and unhealthy but with this version it really isn't! It goes well with so much. It doesn't really have a smell to it, it doesn't smell cheesy or horrible, it only has a smell to it if you purchase one of the varieties with garlic and herbs or chives when you can then distinctly smell this. You can't smell it when it is just in the tub, but if warmed when you cook or for example when spread on toast it certainly has a mouthwatering and I want to eat it now aroma! I would say the only slight difference in the Extra Light version and Original is the texture, although it still has the rich and creamy look of the original, it seems to break apart a bit more easily, but this is no problem, you don't need it in a whole slab to eat it. The texture is still good enough to easily spread or use.
How Philadelphia is made
First of all, the milk is tested for quality and purity. It's pasteurised to kill any harmful micro-organisms, then homogenised by squeezing it through tiny holes to make sure all the fat is evenly distributed. The milk is then cooled before going to the next stage. The milk needs to have a certain level of acidity to help stop bacteria growing in the finished cheese, so it's gently warmed before a starter culture is added to sour the milk. Now it's time to ferment it. Another starter culture is added to act on the natural sugar (lactose) that is present in the milk and turn it into an acid. As the amount of this lactic acid slowly increases, the milk gradually curdles to form a soft curd consistency. In the production of some cheese like Philadelphia, the soft curd is cut to separate the whey from the curds. The cheese is then also heated or 'scalded' to develop the correct texture. At this stage the basic soft cheese-making process is complete. Other ingredients may be added depending upon the cheese such as:- Salt - to add flavour to the cheese. Stabilisers - to provide firmness to the cheese and prevent the separation of the whey.
Pasteurised milk. Added Ingredients:Stabilisers (locust Bean Gum, Carrageenan), Citric Acid.
Cooking with Philadelphia
There are so many things you can use Philadelphia for, other than just eating with a sandwich, using as a dip or on cheese biscuits, and using the extra light version you know you're getting a tasty yet amazingly healthy treat (depending what else you put with it of course!)
If you are planning on cooking with Philadelphia, it is recommended to take it out the fridge before you plan to use it, to allow it to adapt to room temperature, enabling you to mix it with other ingredients alot easier.
Philadelphia works well with both sweet and savoury dishes. You can use it as so many things for example - it can be used to mix a topping for a cake, instead of sour cream and such alike. Philadelphia compliments both subtle and strong flavoured ingredients. It works really well if you place a dollop of Philadelphia to soup as you would creme fraiche, or adding to curries to make it lighter and creamy, which I love doing, as I love my curries to be creamy, the amount you add depends on how creamy you'd like it, I'd say it works best in Kormas. It works the same as adding cream to your curry but its actually much tastier and extra light makes it much healthier too! I also love it as a pasta sauce or as a dressing for salads, on toast, with vegetables, in a jacket potato, it just has a much nice taste than creme fraiche or cream, which can become sickly. It's also tasty if you put your own herbs or seasoning in, adds that little bit extra!
Philadelphia makes a perfect cheesecake, it's actually used in alot of top resturant recipes. Using the extra light version, a low fat spread suitable for cooking instead of butter, swapping full fat digestives for low fat ones and using fresh fruit ontop actually makes a delicious yet healthy cheesecake, which is one of my favourite desserts, but it is so bad for you so this low fat version is brilliant! I've made it on several occasions and it's really tasty, although you'll never get one as good as a resturant this one is nearly up to their standards! Some people like to use gelatin in their cheesecakes but vegetarians may wish to use Agar-agar instead of gelatine to make chilled cheesecakes, it is made from dried seaweed and is used extensively in Asian cooking. It has stronger setting properties than gelatine and therefore less is required. Read the instructions on the packet for the exact quantities required. Agar-agar is available in powdered form from supermarkets and health food shops.
If you go on the following website it provides you with loads of interesting recipes you'd never have thought to use Philadelphia in, I think it's excellent. And if you want to use Extra Light instead of the Original just replace it, you'll never know the difference.
http://www.philadelphia.co.uk/philadelphia1/page? siteid=philade lphia1-prd&locale=uken1&PagecRef=55
Kraft supply a large range of different Philadephia products as followed:
Philadelphia Extra Light
Philadelphia Light with Chives
Philadelphia Light with Garlic and Herbs
Philadelphia Mini Tubs in Light, Extra Light and Light with Garlic and Herbs
Philadelphia Splendips in Chive, Thai Sweet Chili, Cheesecake and Nachos
Philadelphia Light Snack Pots
Protein (g) 12.0
Carbohydrate (g) 5.0
Carbohydrate - of which Sugars (g) 5
Fat (g) 4.7
Fat - of which Saturates (g) 3.2
Sodium (g) 0.4
Salt equivalent (g) 1.0
Compared to Philadelphia Original:
Protein (g) 5.9
Carbohydrate (g) 3.2
Carbohydrate - of which Sugars (g) 3.2
Fat (g) 24.0
Fat - of which Saturates (g) 16.0
Sodium (g) 0.4
Salt equivalent (g) 1.0
The Extra Light version, when compared per 100g has over half the amount of calories that the original version contains, which is a large amount although there is double the amount of protein, there are slightly less carbs and that of which are sugars, but neither product is a significant amount to even consider being anything to worry about. There is also at least 4 times the amount less of fat in the extra light version, also lowering the amount of saturates. There is the same amount of sodium and salt in both products, again nothing to worry about and 0.2 more fibre in the Extra Light version. All in all the Extra Light version is definately considerably better for you than the Original version. Although it has slightly more sugars, the amount of calories and fat in the product are really good, so you can go treat yourself!
Is it suitable for vegetarians and intolerances to certain food types?
Philadelphia products are suitable for vegetarian usage and you can find a "suitable for vegetarians" symbol on each pack. Vegans however will not be able to eat Philadelphia as it is made from a product derived from an animal source (milk).
It is also suitable for wheat, egg, soya, nut and gluten intolerances, but if you suffer from any of the above, the snack pots that contain breadsticks and alike would not be suitable. It also does not contain genetically modified ingredients.
Is it suitable for pregnant women?
Pregnant women are advised not to consume un-pasterised cheeses, so as Philadelphia is pasterised it is suitable.
Where is it made? Germany
Price & Availability
You can purchase a standard 200ml tub (shown in the picture) of Philadelphia Extra Light from most supermarkets and even some garages etc for approx. £1.33 depending where it purchased from. This is more than other soft cream cheeses but you can't compare them to Philadelphia, it is so much nicer. The product is widely available and can be located in the cheese section of supermarkets. Waitrose currently have an offer on when you buy any Philadelphia brand buy 2 and save 50p.
Competitors and how Philadelphia Extra Light compares
Some well known competitors within the low fat soft cheese range include - Dairlyea, Laughing Cow Extra Light, Quark, Sainsburies Be Good To Yourself Soft Cheese, Tesco Healthy Living Low Fat Soft Cheese, Tesco Light Choices Extra Light Soft Cheese, Weight Watchers Low Fat Soft Cheese. I do not think any of these other low fat varieties of soft cheese compare to Philadelphia, although some of the full fat versions are tasty, I still never think they can compare to Philadelphia. Although I love them, I do find that Dairylea Laughing Cow get too sickly and is a bit strong after a while, and the others tend to be very bland in taste and in texture and make it really not worth having the low fat version, they you end up not getting to have anything tasty if you're dieting. Although other varieties are cheaper, I think that you get what you pay for in quality. Even though it is more expensive it is much tastier and makes being healthy a pleasant experience so I definately think that Philadelphia Extra Light wins hands down.
Kraft Foods UK Ltd
St George's House
Phone: 01242 236101
Fax: 01242 512084
I think this version of Philadelphia is fantastic, it tastes as good, if not maybe better than the original and is healthy for you! It's a simple product than can be used as so many things, on crackers, in cooking, in a sandwich etc. Although it's a little more pricey than other soft cheeses, it is much better and I don't think it's that unreasonable to pay for such a versitile product. It would never make me want to buy the cheaper brands, I think you get what you pay for. I would really recommend this product to anyone, whether on a diet or not.
Summary: Great alternative to the original!