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Cream Cheese-Is there a World Beyond Philadelphia Brand?

pepper anne Apr 13, 2006 12:59 PM

Can someone out there in CH land fill me in on the secrets of Cream Cheese? I've eaten Kraft since small, but I sense there's a World out there I know nothing about.
Different fat content, methodology, source, etc.?
Is there a brand that's just better than the rest?

  1. njmarshall55 May 9, 2013 04:46 PM

    In reading most of the posts, I'd have to agree that, in my limited experience tasting OTHER CC's, Philly is still the best. Now, ONE option may be to use something like the Italian Mascarpone for SOME opportunities...

    1. g
      Georgia Strait May 8, 2013 11:05 PM

      i personally prefer some of the organic brands over Philly

      here is an article from the Huff Post

      1. HillJ May 4, 2013 07:10 AM

        A fairly new brand from Green Mountain Farms that combines greek yogurt's tang with cream cheese smoothness. I stopped buying Philly cc in favor of this one. I really like the tang.

        1. l
          lannanh Mar 20, 2013 07:15 PM

          Yes! Gina Marie's by the Sierra Nevada Cheese Co is the most amazing I've ever had! Light, smooth and super creamy, I could literally eat it by the spoonful!

          1. t
            toodie jane Apr 15, 2006 01:12 PM

            Question: is there an equivalent Mexican cream cheese? I've fallen head over heels for their different 'sour creams' or crema frescas. So far superior to domestic ones--even unadultered ones like Daisy.

            If so, I'd love to try some!

            1. n
              Nancy Berry Apr 14, 2006 08:52 PM

              Your question made me remember that I've wanted to post a link to David Leite's wonderful article about the origins of American cream cheese (and cheesecake) and its relationship to Neufchatel, a French cheese. So, here's the link:

              Link: http://www.leitesculinaria.com/food_h...

              1 Reply
              1. re: Nancy Berry
                ecustard May 8, 2013 10:48 PM

                Here's an updated link to the article, which is actually by Gary Allen: http://leitesculinaria.com/9983/writi...

                One correction: Chester, NY is not in the southern Catskills, it's in the Hudson Valley. The Lawrence family farm is still an operating farm and still in the family. It's one of the most picturesque sights along Rt.17 in Orange County, set on a hillside north of the highway.

              2. a
                AnneInMpls Apr 14, 2006 07:58 PM

                Go to a Whole Foods or organic/health-food/co-op store, and look for organic or imported or locally produced cream cheese.

                I buy organic Neuchatel cheese (low-fat cream cheese) at my local co-op, and it's a revelation. Rich, creamy, not a hint of a chemical or metalic taste, fresh, and yummy!

                You'll never go back to Philadephia brand again.


                1 Reply
                1. re: AnneInMpls
                  BobB May 9, 2013 05:55 AM

                  Sorry, but I've tried all the options at Whole Foods and to my palate, none of them matches Philadelphia for taste and texture..

                2. n
                  Niki Rothman Apr 14, 2006 01:54 PM

                  I cook. A lot. I've tried them all. there's a brand in the NW - Diana. Excellent. Other than that - Philly cannot be beat. And it does matter. TJ's is no good at all. Safeway brand - awful. Sometimes they use so much guar gum it's slimy. Some brands get grainy when you cook with them. Philly is always good for cooking.

                  1. s
                    susu Apr 13, 2006 07:28 PM

                    I like Ben's, made on the Lower East Side in NYC and available locally. It is fresh and has no gums or fillers. But this is only for eating. For baking, especially cheesecake, Philadelphia is it. The recipes are designed to be used with a cream cheese that does have all those gums and fillers, the cake won't come out right with 'artisanal' cream cheese.

                    1. r
                      raj1 Apr 13, 2006 04:12 PM

                      I've noticed that some grocery store brands of cream cheese have a gummy texture and a shiny appearance. I think it's due to the addition of things like emulsifiers and gums. I avoid these at all costs. Philadelphia Cream cheese probably has these additives too, but it definitely is a superior product and is widely available. I find it very reliable for baking. I wouldn't make a cream cheese frosting with anything else. For just plain eating on a bagel, I've found Nancy's to be quite good.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: raj1
                        Karl S Apr 13, 2006 04:37 PM

                        Yes, generic is never as good as brand in this case, much as I would prefer it to be otherwise.

                      2. t
                        ton casmo Apr 13, 2006 02:12 PM

                        i don't know where you are but here in northern california there's a great brand called sierra nevada cream cheese. it's at the specialty stores and TJs

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: ton casmo
                          Melanie Wong Apr 13, 2006 02:25 PM

                          Yes, I heartily recommend Sierra Nevada's cream cheese. The brand name is Gina Marie's Old Fashioned Cream Cheese. I buy it at Safeway in San Francisco.

                          Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                          1. re: Melanie Wong
                            toodie jane Apr 13, 2006 11:19 PM

                            I've had this cream cheese and it is VERY good! Highly rec it! Also Tuttle is good if it's still around. 2# blocks, no gum!

                            1. re: toodie jane
                              Carb Lover Apr 13, 2006 11:56 PM

                              Fourth this rec! Discovered it this past year (I'm also in NoCal) and can't go back to Philadelphia. It's so creamy, fluffy, and spreadable and best of all...tastes like real cheese!!

                        2. c
                          Candy Apr 13, 2006 02:04 PM

                          I really miss the cream cheese that the UVM dairy in Burlington, VT. used to make, I hope they are still making it, we just live too far away. It was lovely stuff and had no gums or fillers

                          1. a
                            Alan408 Apr 13, 2006 01:42 PM

                            I have tried all of the brands available at the supermarket and Kraft is my pick.

                            But, try the "cream" cheeses available at the farmer's markets, cheese shops. They can be much better than Kraft.

                            1. p
                              Pat Hammond Apr 13, 2006 01:19 PM

                              A drained whole milk yogurt is my alternative. You need to like yogurt though.

                              1. j
                                JB Apr 13, 2006 01:12 PM

                                Beyond the grocery store, there's the cream cheese that you could buy at a kosher style deli or, even some bagel shops that would be infinately better and fresher.

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