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True Neufchatel cheese is made in the city that it is named for, and in many areas throughout France. While some other cheeses may offer a similar texture, flavor, and color, many do not. In fact, much of the Neufchatel cheese that is found in the US is comparable to what many people know as cream cheese. The original Neufchatel cheeses were often formed into hearts or other shapes. The cheese could be eaten fresh or aged, and was often spread on bread or used in recipes.
Many companies and even store brands market a lower-fat version of their regular cream cheese under this name. While it may be passable for many people, others may not like it as well as real Neufchatel cheese. The original was made from cow’s milk or goat’s milk, while the newer types are made from cream and pasteurized milk. It is frequently packaged the same way as other forms of cream cheese.
If you are looking for real Neufchatel cheese it is a good idea to check the list of ingredients for cream and milk content. The real deal will frequently have a rind as well, while the common types that share its name will not. You may be able to find Neufchatel in specialty cheese, wine, or gourmet food shops. There are organic versions available as well.
Not all white cheeses are the same. All types of Neufchatel cheese tend to have a somewhat different texture than cream cheese, which may be a concern when cooking with a recipe that calls for cream cheese as one of the main ingredients. Common versions of Neufchatel are often popular due to the low fat content. This does not mean that they are the best choice for certain recipes. The fact is that the consistency of the finished product can be very different when using Neufchatel cheese.
Be sure to check your recipes. See whether or not Neufchatel cheese is a viable substitute for cream cheese. On the other hand, cream cheese can generally be substituted in recipes that call for Neufchatel cheese without issue.
When serving Neufchatel cheese, it goes well with cold foods. Serve with fruits, nuts, and homemade bread for a simple, elegant meal. A dry white wine will complement with these offerings.