Purchased at: Grocery Outlet (Seattle – Madrona)
Price: $1.19 for the tub
Ben’s Take: Back in ye goode olde days the Irish and Britons would carve Jack-o’-Lanterns from the bodies of turnips, rutabagas, and some other root vegetable that I cant even pretend to pronounce (or spell) correctly. When these folks immigrated to America to search for better lives and to displace the natives, they switched to the local pumpkin. Now in 2011, in my quest for a better, less wasteful building material I decided to try out some discounted Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese that we picked up from the Grocery Outlet in the Ballard area of Seattle. I figured it would be like a form-able clay or putty and allow for a more dynamic Jack-o’-Lantern fabrication material. I even planned going with a modernized LED based candle to cut down on my carbon footprint.
I quickly found out that cream cheese is an absolutely horrible building material that gets runny when you try to handle it with anything resembling a warm object, like your hands. It also gets EVERYWHERE. Oh, what an incredibly sticky mess that was. Ah well. An article still needed to get written, so I didn’t give up on my construction project. Instead I shoved the whole thing back in the container, smoothed it out, and pretended like nothing ever happened.
After getting my gross mess contained and cleaned up, we moved on to the taste test, which consisted in both of us taking spoonfuls of cream cheese and eating it like ice cream. The flavor was cinnamon-y and pumpkin-y and fantastic. It was basically the perfect cream cheese frosting for the perfect carrot cupcake. Only it has a much smoother texture than your average. It was amazing and tasty and holy-crap-where-did-it all-go-I-think-I-ate-it-all-what am I going to do? WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?
Ahem. Kraft Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese is addictively tasty. It’s not quite as sweet as your average frosting which is a huge plus in my book, plus the texture is pleasantly smooth. Since it’s just so good I guess now would be a good time to warn you that each serving is about 90 Calories, and each container contains 7 servings. If you’re not careful, you can easily put away 630 Calories and still be hungry.
I’d recommend picking some of this up the next time Kraft releases it, but I have no idea what you’re supposed to put it on. From what I understand, regular cream cheese goes on bagels, in my omelets, and occasionally in my sandwiches. A sweetened cream cheese is a whole different animal. I’m not sure how compatible this would be with something as plain as a bagel, and I’m pretty sure Id ruin my omelet if I shoved a dab of this in with my spinach. Perhaps it just belongs on carrot cake cupcakes.
Marisa’s Take: I’ll follow Ben’s review with something a little less…innuendo filled.
Cream cheese and I have had what one might called a sordid relationship. It was largely ignored throughout my childhood, adolescence and early adulthood due to an irrational hatred of white creamy products that aren’t ice cream or yogurt (still applies mayonnaise and ranch dressing). I was once even told that I wasn’t a “real white woman” because apparently all white women LOVE cream cheese. If Kraft had anything to say about it, I would have expected cream cheese evangelists beating down my door asking why I had rejected their creamy god.
However, the recent adherence to a low-carb diet (resulting from too much of those foods like ice cream and yogurt), I needed to find something texturally similar to my former slow-churned vanilla bean, but without the sugar. Like the girl largely ignored throughout middle school before certain pubescent assets appear, cream cheese now had my full attention. Over the years, I also dabbled with her European cousins like neufchatel and mascarpone, but I always come running back to my new found love. If you thought eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s while watching Bridget Jones’s Diary was shameful, try eating an entire brick of cream cheese, peeling back the wrapper like a massive dairy burrito.
Back to our original product, I always get excited about seasonal flavoring appearing shortly before their corresponding holidays. Pumpkin flavors appear around Halloween, shamrock shakes rear their minty heads every March and eggnog products becomes somewhat tolerable even without alcohol. When we first saw this product, we were ecstatic that it was on sale for only $1.19. We were also excited because we had sampled a similar product at Trader Joe’s that was now out of season and also 2-3 times the price.
It’s funny that Ben mentioned that this product wasn’t as sweet as your average frosting because I feel that it could be swapped unknowingly for a batch of “pumpkin spice buttercream” and no one would be any the wiser. Maybe I’m so accustomed to unflavored cream cheese or just jaded by the deluge of all the other pumpkin-flavored products that pop up around the same time (ice cream and coffee creamer and soy milk, oh my!), but just a spoonful of this stuff was enough for me. It was just a bit too sweet for my liking and I really don’t know what I might put it on since I still eschew things like bagels and bread for the most part. Unfortunately, it looks like this is the only “limited edition” flavor that Kraft has offered (please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), but I eagerly await the arrival of a fruitcake flavored cream cheese for Christmas or depression & self-loathing flavor for Valentine’s Day.