Photography by Catherine Downes.

Taste Test Thursday: Cheese Logs Balls

The cheese log is as vintage as lava lamps and bouffants.

The cheese log is as vintage as lava lamps and bouffants. The dish, which was once a party staple, is making a comeback with a little help from Pinterest and trendy DIY cookbooks. I stopped by multiple grocery stores in pursuit of log-shaped cheese, rolled in toasted nuts. Unfortunately, I only came across one log. The rest were spherical. Surely the shape doesn’t affect the taste, right?

So, have you ever had a cheese ball (or log)? Did you like it? Let us know in the comments below.


The cheese logs:

A. Kaukauna Sharp & Swiss Log
B. Scott’s Cheddar Port Wine
C. Fresh Creative Foods Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball
D. Kaukauna Port Wine
E. Scott’s Swiss Almond
F. Fresh Creative Foods Pesto Parmesan Cheese Ball

Tasting notes:

Kaukauna Sharp & Swiss Log

IMG_9073 copy

  • Cheap sharp cheddar.
  • Cheez Wiz in log form. Not complaining.
  • This tastes like melted Kraft singles that have been re-gelatinized. Not spreadable at all.
  • The yellowness of the cheese is an immediate concern. It’s well-founded. A holiday ball should be festive and this is more like a solemn afternoon spent making Easy Cheese™ into shapes on a saltine.
  • Best from a cheese standpoint. Less is more.

Scott’s Cheddar Port WineIMG_9082 copy

  • Gross fake cheese. Tasteless nuts. Obscene red vein of wine.
  • From a visual point of view, I appreciate the ombré effect of the ball when you cut into it. But the pecans overpower any hints of cheese.
  • I have nostalgia for this flavor, though I recognize it’s not the best. My uncle Keith brought a port wine cheese ball to Christmas once. I ate the whole thing and got sick. Uncle Keith still lives with my grandparents. He’s 60.
  • There is a dark and syrupy taste here; possibly molasses and possibly wine, but a sweet one like Costantia. It’s unnecessary in the already overworked concoction of cheeses, spices, and nuts. Leave the dessert tray to the experts.
  • The color scares me. Reminds me of Lunchables.

Fresh Creative Foods Bacon Ranch Cheese BallIMG_9087 copy

  • Garlic instead of cheese, looks like chicken salad.
  • This must be of the “Southwestern” cheese ball variety. Oh, and bacon. Vegetarians beware!
  • A lot of flavor. Tastes like a Hickory Farms mall kiosk smells. Update: I’ve eated five bites and it’s now my favorite.
  • Now we’re hitting our stride. This is what I need—enough zest and salt to make me remember that my last reading at the doc was 124/86. We’r talking prehypertension and this cheese is making me think it was all worth it.
  • Bacon was a nice touch.

Kaukauna Port WineIMG_9089 copy

  • I will not put this in my body.
  • Can’t put my finger on it, but it’s as if a bag of Cheez-its were blended and molded into a dome.
  • Same concept as B, but it tastes worst.
  • Again, a little too plain. This is the bridesmaid of cheese balls. Not quite ready for the ball gown here. Go home and try again.
  • Quite bland, really. Why is it coral in color?


Scott’s Swiss AlmondIMG_9101 copy

  • Not bad; not great. Sweeter than cheese should be.
  • Swiss variety? I guess I’ll pick this one for tasting like real cheese.
  • The sharpest flavor-wise. Simple, good.
  • One wonders why you’d even make a cheese ball at all if you’re going to have it be the equivalent of one of those fake food platters they set up near the foyer of a Black Eyed Pea when you first walk in—where the ice cream is actually made of margarine that’s been colored with food dye.
  • This is nice. Good flavors, not too processed tasting. Quality stuff.

Fresh Creative Foods Pesto Parmesan Cheese BallIMG_9116 copy

  • Prettiest and most interesting. Pesto, tomato, and pine nut toppings.
  • OK, so this is really just cream cheese with basil pesto blended into it. Come on.
  • Softest, easiest to spread. Is this from eatZi’s? I think I’ve eaten entire meals worth of samples of this before.
  • This one is kicking like a mule. “Notice me,” it screams. Maybe a mule made of garlic with a strange and shrunken whinny or neigh that will be as bad as your breath after consuming this. Consider pairing with a whiskey and bitters to stall the taste.
  • More of a cream cheese. The green color creeps me out, though.

Tally up:

A. Kaukauna Sharp & Swiss Log 0
B. Scott’s Cheddar Port Wine 0
C. Fresh Creative Foods Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball 2
D. Kaukauna Port Wine 0
E. Scott’s Swiss Almond 2
F. Fresh Creative Foods Pesto Parmesan Cheese Ball 1

The winner is:

It’s a tie between Fresh Creative Foods Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball and Scott’s Swiss Almond ball. So, who makes your favorite take on the classic appetizer? Let us know.


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