Recently while at the grocery store I caught a glimpse of a cheddar cheese with a pile of habaneros proudly displayed on the packaging. Labeled as “Hot Habanero”, my full attention was gained and I threw Cabot’s Hot Habanero Cheddar Cheese into the cart figuring it would be as disappointing as Yancey’s Fancy Buffalo Wing Cheese in its texture and consistency but was willing to give it the old college try anyway.
After getting home I tore open the package and was in awe of the number of raw habanero pepper pieces tucked into the bar of cheddar. I sliced a few pieces off and popped one in my mouth. The cheese itself is a medium cheddar and crumbles a bit before melting in your mouth. While I’d really prefer something more sharp, I’m guessing they figured they didn’t want to dampen the spice level. The habanero flavor isn’t evident at first but instead comes on slowly, eventually providing an excellent peppery heat across your tongue. But who eats a single piece of cheese right? As you continue to pop more in your mouth the heat builds into a near inferno. While I had no problems eating a good bit of the cheese at once, enjoying it all the while, The Wife took one bite of one small slice and promptly handed it back to me with a disturbed shake of her head and a grimace like none I’ve seen as of late. When I asked if it was hot, she just nodded. Two neighbors tried the cheese last night and mentioned it was hot but they both were able to eat it just fine. So while this is not for those who are totally inexperienced with hot foods, it’s not out of control by any means.
Overall I was pleased with Cabot’s Hot Habanero, so much so that I’d pick it up again if it were available. While the heat wasn’t at the level I’d really like to see, it definitely provided an acceptable spice level for calling itself “Hot Habanero”. If you’re into real cheese infused with peppers I’d suggest you give it a try yourself and let us know what you thought.
Have you ever had Cabot’s Hot Habanero? What did you think of it? Have you had any other Cabot cheeses? How about other cheeses which are infused with hot peppers–which are your favorites and where do you get them? What do you typically eat with cheeses of these types? Whatever you have to say about Cabot’s Hot Habanero Cheddar go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.