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May 25, 2012 10:38 PM

Best fresh cream cheese (flavored and plain) in Nassau Long Island

I'm in Long Island/NYC for a few days and in addition to bagels, I want to bring back some fresh cream cheese to California. Please recommend your favorite place for fresh cream cheeses in Long Island. I have an insulted tote that I will pack with a frozen small bottle of water to prevent spoilage in my checked luggage.

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  1. I'm unaware of anyone making fresh cream cheese on Long Island. Do they sell Breakstone's Tem Tee whipped cream cheese in California? That's pretty darn good and you wouldn't have to schlep an insulated tote on the plane. I don't even think Russ & Daughters in the City makes their own cream cheese...

    mcf: What say you?

    5 Replies
    1. re: emarcus

      They don't say explicitly, but (at least impliedly) I think Russ and Daughters does make their own:
      "Think cream cheese is just cream cheese? Think again. Most supermarket brands are filled with gums and preservatives to give them an unnaturally long shelf life. But not at Russ & Daughters. The freshness, quality and double-whipped goodness of our cream cheese cannot be matched."

      Here on LI, Bagel Boss makes their own:
      "Our Plain Cream Cheese is homemade and all natural. At Bagel Boss, we do not compromise homemade New York taste with additives."

      1. re: Scott_R

        I'm sure Russ & Daughters sells a fine cream cheese that's much better than Philly, and who knows, Bagel Boss might too. But I don't think either establishment brings in milk and actually makes cheese in the back. That's a pretty big production, and I think they'd need to be licensed by the state. Even "fresh"mozzarella on Long Island is always made from commercial curd, usually Polly-o.
        But hey, I suppose it's possible.

        1. re: emarcus

          I believe the rules are much less strict if they use milk that's already been pasteurized at an approved dairy. But otherwise, what are they saying when they claim it's homemade? (Bagel Boss, at least)

          1. re: emarcus

            I was going to say, the best bagel places are proud to use Philly cream cheese, and I don't think you could make better yourself. Why even bother?

        2. re: emarcus

          The Ben's cream cheese I buy at Fairway is labeled as "fresh," I believe, the plain only (Edit: labeled "natural.". It's very good. But honestly, TempTee and Philly are quite good, too, though I buy Ben's any time I'm eating it instead of using it to make cheesecake.

        3. Catapano Goat Farm makes goat cheese that is close to cream cheese if you want something unique. I just picked up a lavender honey one that was to die for, wouldn't mind it on a bagel. Nice ride if you have the time.

          10 Replies
          1. re: coll

            Two different points, I think: Catapano's cheese is wonderful. Amazing. I especially love their chevre with chunky garlic, and once my summer CSA shares come in, when I get the bunches of beets and arugula, I'll look to their plain for an arugula/beet/walnut/goat cheese salad.

            But as a substitute for cream cheese? I don't know. It might be an interesting alternative but I don't think it tastes like CC much at all (for me, bagels and cream cheese also means lox, and this is the biggest sticking point).

            1. re: Scott_R

              It tastes like a shmear to me, but then again I'm not picky. For lox, I wouldn't do a flavored one for sure. I was just thinking of a "souvenir" type gift from Long Island.

              1. re: coll

                From a bagel POV, I wouldn't really think of any one place where any part of the trifecta--bagels, lox, cream cheese--really stands out as a Long Island souvenir. Catapano goat cheese (just had some with dinner: rosemary, cilantro, and thyme chevre) definitely, but not as a cream cheese.

                I tried emailing Bagel Boss from their site, but for some reason the email (from their form) bounces.

            2. re: coll

              I'm glad you mentioned this farm as I had forgotten about them. Have you tried their ricotta? Any good?

              1. re: EM23

                No I hadn't stopped by in a long time, but they were very generous with the samples so if you ask, they will probably open one for you to try. Not that I should be speaking for them!! I have to find a new source of fresh ricotta, but their portions were a little small for my needs!

                1. re: coll

                  I'll report back if I get a free tasting:-)

                  Coll - any chance that you might post a heads-up when the strawberries start appearing at the road-side stands out by you?

                  1. re: EM23

                    I'll step in: strawberries are now available. Golden Earthworm Farm, for example, started pick-your-own this past Friday/Saturday:

                    and I bought some at their booth at the Islip farmers' market.

                    1. re: Scott_R

                      Thanks Scott. This thread has me thinking of making a strawberry cheesecake.

                      1. re: EM23

                        They just started this week but taste a little watery to me. Hopefully if the rain holds off they'll intensify a bit. I will keep you updated!

            3. A little west of Nassau County, in Fresh Meadows, right off the L.I.E., Bagel Oasis claims to make their own cream cheese. Their bagels are great also.

              3 Replies
              1. re: EM23

                I'm totally guessing, but I'm wondering if all these places that say they make their own cream cheese, mean they take Philly and add their own flavors? Not that that's a bad thing!

                1. re: coll

                  I only ever buy plain Ben's Natural... but that's certainly a possibility with the other, mixed stuff.

                  1. re: coll

                    Bagel boss also refers to the plain cream cheese as homemade.