Wednesday, June 3, 2020

SimplyNature Goat Cheese Macaroni and Cheese Garlic and Herb (Aldi)

Hope you love being overwhelmed by garlic.
Is goat cheese boring? I ask this because, at least in my limited experience, it seems to be an ingredient that can stand out on its own: I'm reminded of Aldi's own spinach, tomato and goat cheese pizza, which is one of my all-time favorite pizzas that they offer. While I'm certainly not well-versed on the intricacies of goat vs. cow's milk, if that pizza is any indication, the cheese is fluffy soft, almost like a cream cheese, with a rich, soft flavor that borders on the decadent. It's the standout ingredient on a pizza that would otherwise be a margherita, and it really takes the taste to another level. (Random fun fact: it's the only cheese I can name off the top of my head that my cheese-loving wife absolutely refuses to eat.)

So when I grabbed a box of Simplynature's Goat Cheese macaroni and cheese with garlic and herbs, I did it to see how the addition of goat cheese could change a dish that's inarguably an American classic. I figured the goat cheese would be the star of the show, while the garlic and herbs would just add some "texture" or complexity to the overall flavor.

After eating pretty much an entire pot of the stuff (what can I say, I was hungry) I still can't tell you with any amount of confidence what goat cheese tastes like, but I can certainly tell you what too much garlic and herb tastes like: It's an absolute overload on flavor, but not really in a good way, with the garlic overpowering everything to the extent that some bites literally tingle your taste buds. I typically love garlic, but I think everyone knows it's a vegetable that is generally best consumed in small doses; this takes that idea and throws it out the window, leaving you with an overwhelming example of how not to use garlic.

I usually try to look at the big picture when reviewing an item: even if it's not something I enjoy, I understand things like taste are completely subjective and that—no matter how much I dislike it—there are people out there that will. However, this is one of those things that I can't see anyone enjoying, lest they have an almost masochistic fascination with garlic. A couple bites? Maybe. But anything beyond that just starts a snowballing effect that gets stronger and stronger with each bite. Were I not completely hungry, I probably would have thrown it away after three or four bites.

This is a shame, because at $1.49, the price is pretty decent for a “grown-up” version of macaroni and cheese. And while I suppose no one should expect “gourmet” flavors out of a box, I figured it would at least be a watered-down version of how goat cheese could liven up a staple of American cuisine. Instead, all I got was a reminder of how overusing one ingredient can ruin something that is otherwise so promising.

Overall: 3.5/10. I'll admit that some of the products I try are simply because they sound so weird, I can't possibly see the flavors working together to create any sort of cohesive whole; this, on the other hand, was something I was legitimately interested in, because I wanted to see how goat cheese could liven up macaroni and cheese, arguably the staple of all American cuisine staples. Unfortunately, I never got that shot, because the garlic stands front and center, overwhelming everything with its potent flavor. Hell, I could barely detect any sort of cheese at all. This is a shame, because the $1.49 price tag is decent enough for a “grown up” mac and cheese, but I can't recommend this at all.

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