If you've ever tried any of Cabot Creamery's cheddars, you've tasted what good cheese is all about. My friends up there affectionately refer to themselves as the Makers of the World's Best Cheddar... and it's not just a catchy slogan. It's a true assessment of the quality of their cheeses, evidenced by the mounds of awards they've won over the years.
And this year is no exception. Austin, Texas recently played host to the annual American Cheese Society competition (a competition I've never had the great food fortune to attend, but intend to before my days are done.) While I can't even begin to imagine the palate fatigue that sets in at the end of a marathon of cheese muching for these judges, I applaud them for many of their choices... and especially in the reduced-fat realm.
All the details can be found here, but I draw special attention to one of my all time favorite cheeses that received the accolades it deserves--Cabot's 50% Reduced-Fat Jalapeno Cheddar. It reminds you of a perennial favorite, Pepper Jack, but the 1st place winner boasts a better bite (in my opinion) and better nutritional profile (made with 1.5% milk, it's a nutritional no brainer.)
I can talk about the great taste all day long ('course if you don't believe me, just refer back to the earlier ACS 1st place award... believe them, they're the experts.) But that's just one reason to choose a cheddar of this caliber. The others are clearly the reduction in fat, sacrificing none of the calcium.
Calcium continues to be a mineral of concern among Americans--especially among teen girls and women. It's such a concern that the Institute of Medicine's Committee on the Dietary Reference Intakes has undertaken a two-year review on both calcium and vitamin D in response to new research on bone health, as well as growing interest in the connection between vitamin D intake and lower rates of cancer and other chronic diseases.
Calcium can certainly be found in a number of sources: milk group foods, as well as some vegetables (although the quantities you have to eat for adequate consumption typically make it too difficult for the average American to meet their needs... I recommend eating lots of veggies for their cancer prevention potential and count your calcium in easier ways). Many foods are also fortified with calcium, as well.
But eating calcium doesn't have to feel like you're following a diet that the dietitian ordered. With a cheddar universally accepted as this good, it feels more like a present than a prescription.