Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Product Review Time

One of the things I've wanted to do more of with my blog is product reviewing. Like I've mentioned before, I am a sucker for the newest and latest. I like to be the one who first discovers the latest thing in yogurt or the new gizmo from Pampered Chef. This would be why I got very excited a week or so ago when I received a very nice e-mail from a young man at Kraft foods. He explained that he was a summer intern helping with a new product, and would I be interested in trying it out and providing him some feedback. Whoopee! Sign me up. No strings, no demands for me to promote the product, strictly a feedback opportunity. I looked forward to recieving the product and giving it a fair trial in my kitchen. What I really didn't expect though, was the results from my testing.

And so I am here today to share about this innovative new product from Kraft Foods, Kraft Grate-It-Fresh Parmesan Cheese. I confess, that I didn't expect that I would like using this Parmesan Cheese. I mean, it's a cousin of that green can... but the concept really intrugued me. What you see here is a block of real parmesan cheese snugly packaged in a sturdy plastic container. The green base contains the grater and there is a spindle running up the middle of the block of cheese to hold it in place. Eager to give it a taste test, I removed the clear plastic cover to the base and gave the can a twist. Immediately cheese began sprinkling my counter. So I grabbed a small bowl, and effortlessly gave the can a few twists. First, I grabbed a pinch of the cheese shreds. The were soft, pliable- definitely fresh cheese. The taste was pleasant and salty- just the way a parmesan should be.

Dinner plans immediately changed. I wanted to make pasta and give this contraption to my kids- surely they would struggle with the twisting. Abigail took her turn first, and really enjoyed putting fresh cheese on her pasta. She didn't have any problems twisting the container, and really was enamored with the thing. Zander had a few more troubles, but his 2 year old hands just couldn't grip the container. So I held the base for him while he twisted the can. He thought that was great! And Zander LOVES sprinkle cheese on his pasta. My next thought was that surely after a bit of use, the cheese would seize up a bit on the grater. Nope. Not yet anyway. The cheese consistently grates and falls onto the food. Occasionally I did need to use my fingers to pull at the long dangly shreds still attached- but they fell right off with a quick brush.

I admit that I'm having a hard time coming up with anything negative to say about this Grate-It-Fresh Cheese. It's almost one of those "duh, why didn't anyone think of this sooner" products. Usually when I am in need of parmesan cheese, I have a choice at the store. I either reach for a tub of pre-shredded cheese, or I grab a block to grate fresh with my microplane. Now, I love my microplane. Love it. But this is all inclusive! The cheese is stored in this container, there is no messing with plastic wrap or vacuum sealing with each use. And there's nothing to wash. People who are maybe used to the shelf-stable Kraft Parmesan Cheese may have to get used to that fresh cheese taste. But overall, this gets a huge thumbs up from me. It may not compare to a true Parmesano-Reggiano, but like I can afford that in my kitchen anyway.

On the product sheet sent to me by Kraft, it states that the Grate-It-Fresh is available on the East Coast now, and will be available nationwide in January. It's a 7 oz. package, and will retail for $4.99- very reasonable for a block of parmesan cheese. And because it is refrigerated, it will be found in the dairy case. All I can say is hurry up Kraft! This is a great product and I will certainly buy it. The only improvement I can honestly say is that it would be great if other cheeses were available like this- specifically Romano and Asiago.

In the interest of full disclosure, I did receive the sample product for free from Kraft. But no where did I agree to advertise for them or review this product on my blog. I do this wholeheartedly from my own free will. As I would with any product I review on here. If you think you might be interested in giving this a try, let me know and I can share your name with the intern at Kraft, and see if he can't send you a sample as well. I am thrilled that he asked for my input, and would do so again in a heartbeat.


Retrofood said...

You just knew that this caught our eye last week and we talked ourselves out of it, even if I am sure we NEED this product.

Tammy said...

That sounds like a great product. I love freshly grated parmesan. I just purchased a 3 pack of cheese at Sam's. It included 6 oz. of feta, 6 oz. grated parmesan and 6 oz. of blue cheese. It was $5.99 and all 3 cheeses were delish.
I'd love to try the Kraft if you want to pass on my info. My email is

Amy Sherman said...

My only issue is the waste. The container/grater is not reusable. I know it's convenient, but how are you going to feel throwing it away when it's empty?

Ellen said...

Oh, you're better than me. The intern sent me a package as well, but right when we got back from vacation, and then there was back to school shopping, and then back to school. I opened it one night in a hurry and thought it was okay, but milder than my normal Costco-purchased Parmesan. Infinitely easier to deal with, as you say, but the waste bothers me as well. Now I'll have to go do my own blog post about it I suppose. I'd forgotten to do it.