New in the Market: Gaea Olive Snacks, Laura Chenel’s Cabecou and Marin French Cheese

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on November 29, 2016 · 0 comments

newcabecous-300We love to try new foods. Some are great. Some don’t measure up and some become staples in our kitchen. See what you think.

Olives and cheese go hand-in-hand and these brands are all worth a try.

Gaea was founded to promote the benefits of the Mediterranean diet by producing products based on olives and olive oil. Gaea Olive Snack Packs are sourced from Greece. The olives are handpicked by traditional methods and packaged without added liquid, additives or preservatives in 2.3-ounce, reclosable packages. The olives can be stored at room temperature until opened.

We tasted three varieties of Olive Snack Packs.

Pitted Kalamata Olives – one package contains approximately 24 olives, 150 calories and 520 milligrams of sodium. This was our favorite.

Pitted Green Olives Marinated with Lemon & Oregano – one package contains approximately 16 olives, 67 calories and 800 milligrams of sodium. Almond-shaped Halkidiki olives are marinated for several days and then packaged without liquid leaving the herb/lemon infused flavor behind on the olives.

Pitted Green Olives Marinated with Chili & Black Pepper – one package contains approximately 16 olives, 67 calories and 800 milligrams of sodium. Almond-shaped Halkidiki olives are marinated for several days and then packaged without liquid leaving the spicy infused flavor behind on the olives. These olives have a mild kick that would pair well with a mild cheese.

Laura Chenel grew up in California and founded her company after studying cheese making in France. Her big break came when Alice Waters of Chex Panisse in Berkeley used Laura Chenel’ s cheese to dress her well-known California Goat Cheese Salad. In the mid-1990s Laura Chenel’s goat cheese was introduced into the retail market. In 2010, Laura retired and sold her company to the Rians Group, a French company supporting the production of artisan cheese, completing the circle back to the company’s origins. Laura Chenel’s goat cheese is still made in California using locally sourced goat’s milk.

We tasted Cabecou, marinated goat cheese slices. The cheese is first sliced and dried for close to a week and then packed in small plastic pails with herbs and oil. There are 4 flavor-infused goat cheese slices to a package. One slice, 1-ounce, is a serving with 80 calories, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein and 125 milligrams of sodium.

darkmoon2-300Marinated Cabecou – is packed in canola and olive oil infused with herbs and spices. The taste was mild, creamy and delicate. It was our favorite.

Spicy Cabecou – is packed in canola and olive oil with crushed chilies. The taste is a blend of creamy and delicate with a fiery kick.

Marin French Cheese is the oldest continuously run cheese company in America. It is currently also owned by Rians, the French group of cheese producers. Marin is known for its soft European-style cheese. We taste three varieties of their Petite Classic Collection. Each brie-style cheese comes in a 4-ounce wheel. Petites are triple crème brie which means they are 94.5% milk and 5.5% cream.

One serving is 1-ounce or one-fourth of the disc with 110 calories, 10 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein, 150 milligrams of calcium and 150 milligrams of sodium.

Petite Breakfast is creamy with a mild tangy flavor. It was our favorite and a delicious breakfast option melted on a slice of hearty rye.

Dark Moon is coated in a vegetable ash rind giving the brie an earthy taste.

Petite Jalapeno has a smooth creamy taste with a spicy/fiery kick which comes from the red and green jalapeno pieces embedded in the cheese.

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