Cheesy sauce shuffle
Bertolli’s Five Cheese pasta sauce isn’t a new product, but Mr. Tidbit noticed it in the supermarket because some of the jars have a flag on the front label that says “Now with Ricotta Cheese” and others don’t.
Mr. Tidbit wanted to know which of the five cheeses had been dumped in favor of Ricotta. Little did he know that in pursuing this question he was going to learn a tiny but meaningful fact about cheese. (It is such little bonuses that on cold nights help Mr. Tidbit keep body and soul together.)
But first: Five cheeses? Really? He would bet a nickel (he is not a betting guy) that nobody who had just tasted a four-cheese pasta sauce could tell you what cheese was added to make a five-cheese pasta sauce.
Anyway, the ingredient label of the Ricotta version lists Romano, Parmesan, Provolone, aged Asiago and Ricotta. The other jars listed Provolone, Parmesan, Romano, aged Asiago and Fontina.
The jars carry the same UPC code: The Ricotta version is a reformulation, not a new product. So if you’re a big Fontina fan, hurry out and snatch up all the old jars of Bertolli Five Cheese you can before they disappear under the wave of Ricotta.
And it appears to be a significant reformulation. For example, a serving of the new version has only 7 grams of sugar, compared with 13 grams in the old, Fontina-edged recipe.
(For what it’s worth, the Ricotta version’s label names the maker as Mizkan America, the Japanese firm that acquired the Ragu and Bertolli sauces in 2014 from R&B Foods, which is named as the maker on the Fontina jars.)
Hang in there; Mr. Tidbit is just getting to the good part. While the new label describes three of the cheeses as “cultured part-skim milk, salt, enzymes,” the old one listed “part-skim milk, cheese cultures (from barley), salt, enzymes.” Mr., Tidbit understands that cultured milk is the same as milk and cultures.
But barley? In cheese?
In fact, Mr. Tidbit learned from the Internet, some cheese cultures include barley as a fermentation ingredient. Barley contains gluten and must be avoided by folks with celiac disease. For that reason, a Bertolli spokesperson told Mr. Tidbit, the cheeses are now sourced to be barley-free.
All *&$% five of them.