Food Fight

Heini's Yogurt Cheese vs. Grafton Classic Reserve

On a recent trip to Central Market, we discovered an intriguing product from Heini's, a "yogurt cheese." The package said it was made from Amish milk, which, of course, gave us a delightful mental picture of a big block of cheese being delivered by horse-driven carriage to our neighborhood Yuppie-Mart. It also billed itself as BST- and BGH-free, with four times as many live active cultures as a cup of yogurt. Our digestive tract, currently full of chocolate and champagne, insisted we give it a try. We went for the original flavor and also decided to purchase a relatively unadorned non-yogurt cheese, Grafton Classic Reserve, for comparison.

Feeling both entitled and slightly lame, we took both cheeses along with some palate-cleansing crackers to our favorite new bar, Nouveau Antique Art Bar on Main and Tuam, to get some opinions on the cheese-versus-cheese throwdown. The ever- so-charming Cubanita GM, Alexis Casanova, was kind enough to bring over some sweet Malbec and help us get down to business. Soon, sexy tattooed bartender Kassidy was also offering up her thoughts.

Both cheeses were delicious, as well-made cheeses tend to be. The yogurt cheese had a pungent aroma, creamy texture and mellow taste. It was mild enough that we ended up dipping it in some nearby Sriracha hot sauce. This cheese had a growing appeal - most of us liked it, but at first rated it in inferior to the Grafton. But the more we ate, the more we enjoyed it, and the whole block was quickly consumed. The Grafton Reserve, on the other hand, was the immediate forerunner. Everyone raved about how it combined a semi-dry texture with a creamy smoothness. The flavor was saltier and headier. It meshed well with the sweetness of the Malbec.

By the end of the taste test, we were at a draw. Some were fighting adamantly for the Grafton, while others were singing the praises of the creamy Heini's. We suggest going with the Grafton if the cheese will be standing alone or served with a good wine. But if you're looking for an alternative to the Activia challenge and plan to incorporate the cheese into a dish, go with the Heini's. Either way, you'll be happy.

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Geri Maria Harris