Just the Cheese is a packaged snack food made from 100% Wisconsin cheese that is baked into bars and mini bites. While most “cheese crisps” are air-dried, this brand is oven-baked, which the makers believe results in a cheesier flavor and crunchier texture due to caramelization. I accepted a sample and put them to the test.
I first discovered the bliss that is cooked cheese when I was a little girl. When I want to my grandma’s house, she would make me “Tortillas and Cheese” for lunch. Basically, she plopped a tortilla (usually corn, but sometimes flour) in a frying pan, put some cheese and bologna on top, and fried it until the cheese melted. If I was really lucky, the cheese would melt over the sides of the tortilla and get bubbly and crispy. I always ate the spill-overs first!
Once, when I was a teenager and was making this comfort food at home, it occurred to me that perhaps I could just cook the cheese on the frying pan directly. I had a non-stick pan, so I thought it would be just fine. What resulted was a mess that was really hard to clean, but what I was able to salvage tasted divine.
So, when I was offered samples of this crispy snack food to review, these memories came bubbling forth and I said yes! Could they capture and package that flavor I loved so much? Read on to find out.
What I Liked about Just the Cheese
Obviously, the first thing I like about the snack is that it is a whole lot less messy and less work than my teenage experiment was. I get the flavor of cooked, crispy cheese without a difficult-to-clean frying pan.
Also, as far as savory snacks go, they are naturally low in carbs, gluten-free and have some protein to boot. In addition, they are only 75 calories per bar. In other words, they feel like chips or crackers, but don’t have the downside of those carb-loaded snacks.
I enjoyed the crunch and the cheesiness, which each flavor having subtle differences that make my taste test interesting.
What I Didn’t Like About this Snack Food
Unlike my teenage experiment, these snacks are all crunch and no chew, so some of the cheese flavor — in my humble opinion — is missing. They also weren’t as cheesy as I thought they would be. Of course, I hold a high bar of cheesiness (in more ways than one).
Overall Comments on this Product
Just the Cheese snack bars come in four flavors: Aged Cheddar, Grilled Cheese, Jalapeno Cheese, and Mild Cheddar. I tried all but the Jalapeno Cheese. I liked the Aged Cheddar the most, but the Grilled Cheese was pretty good too. I’m grateful they didn’t give me too many or I might have binge eaten them!
You can also get this snack in a mini size in White Cheddar, Wisconsin Cheddar, Grilled Cheese, Jalapeno Cheese, and Garlic & Chive.
As of this writing, you can order them on Amazon.
And don’t let the fancy packaging fool you. This company is a small, family-owned company with deep roots in rural Wisconsin. Based in Reeseville, which has a population of about 500, this company helps support the economic base of the town and employs 250 residents. Managing a rural workforce presents challenges, as potential employees usually live miles away, and struggle with spotty access to transportation. So they provide ride-share services to all employees to make sure they can get to work safely each day.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve seen an upsurge in orders and have met the challenge head-on. They have added flexibility to their production schedule and instituted added sanitization protocols.
They are doing their best to support their employees, as well as the dairy farmers who supply them. “We’re doing everything we can to support farmers who send us milk,” says David Scharfman, Owner & General Manager of Just the Cheese. “Turning milk away essentially means those farmers have to dump their milk and lose that revenue.”
They’re also striving to fulfill orders and keep up with spiking demand in a timely manner. And despite the surging demand for their cheese products, they assure me that they have not — and will not – raise their prices.
“Everyone here is relieved that they have a job and are proud to make sure our customers have cheese to eat and to help our local farmers by making sure they have a buyer for their milk,” says Scharfman.
Who Is Just the Cheese Suitable for?
If you’re looking for healthier, keto-friendly, gluten-free, low-carb snacks, this might be what you’re looking for. Think of them as crunchy cheese puffs without the orange powder or corn. If cheese slices are a good snack for you, but you long for some crunch, here you go!
To learn more about them, visit their website justthecheese.com
Score: 4 out of 5
NOTE: I received a free copy of this product in exchange for an honest review. If you’ve read past taste test reviews, you’ll know that I don’t pull my punches when I believe they are warranted. I also try to provide balanced information so you can make your own decision to buy or not buy this product, even if you disagree with my opinion.