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Real Jamaican Cheese Is...
Tastee Cheese!

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Jamaican Cheese (Tastee Cheese)Jamaican Cheese (Tastee Cheese)

by Sheree-Anita Shearer | Associate Writer

Jamaican Cheese is the favourite of many and we create new ways to have it every day. When that fails, some of us eat it on its own  (and I am embarrassed to say this but I am one of those people). But who is responsible for the cheesy goodness we all love?


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Who Makes Jamaican Cheese?

Dairy Industries Jamaica Ltd has been manufacturing dairy products since 1964. They started producing cheese in February of 1968 through their brand Tastee Cheese. Tastee Cheese is not only a favourite in Jamaica but carries its distinct savoury flavour throughout the Caribbean and the world.

The company was the first in the Caribbean to manufacture processed canned cheese and has been the favourite for Jamaicans ever since.

Which Company Owns Tastee Cheese?

Dairy Industries Jamaica Limited owns the brand Tastee Cheese. However, the company is governed by a partnership that began in 1996 between GraceKennedy & Company Limited and Fonterra, also known as New Zealand Co-operative Group Limited.

Dairy Industries became the first Caribbean company to achieve ISO 9001 standard and has been able to be recertified every year since. They were also granted Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification. This was granted by Guelph Food Technology Centre who were satisfied with the rigorous food safety programme at the company.

In addition to producing Jamaica’s favourite cheese, they also manufacture:

  • canned, processed cheese under the brands “Crest” and “Chedar”
  • Yogurt under their brand “This is Really Great” and “Good 2 Grow” their kids line
  • Powdered milk varieties under the brands “Anchor”, “Country Gold” and “Good 2 Grow”

But let’s talk about the star of the whole operation, the Tastee Cheese product line.

Tastee Cheese Products

  • Canned Cheese - They have four canned options. The smallest, a 250g is open tin, 500g tin that comes with a convenient storage cover, a larger 1kg tin and their largest product, the 2.2kg tin.

  • Vacuum Packed Cheese - They have two vacuum-packed options available in 220g and 440g packs. 

  • Cheese Spread - The spreadable option comes in two sizes, a small 150g tub and a larger 300g tub. 

  • Singles - These come in one size, a 12 pack of individually wrapped cheese slices.

No matter the occasion or the season, there is a Tastee Cheese option. And speaking of seasons?

When Do We Eat Tastee Cheese In Jamaica?

While we eat Tastee Cheese every day in Jamaica. There is still a season where we indulge a little more than usual. This is during the Easter period. One of our favourite parts of Easter is that we get to eat bun and cheese in copious amounts without odd stares and feelings of guilt because we know everyone is doing exactly the same thing.

Although Easter is when Jamaicans have the most cheese. There is a second cheese season celebrated the entire month of September. Yes, September is cheese month. Since 2009 the concept began in Jamaica and spread to Florida and New York.

Cheese Month is really just another chance in the year to indulge a little more in Jamaica.

In 2010, Tastee Cheese had Jamaica’s first-ever cheese fair and since September is also back-to-school, it was also an opportunity to give back to its consumers just in time for the new school year. 

The cheese fair is also where we met Mr Wedge, the official mascot for Tastee Cheese, for the first time.

What Is Jamaican Cheese Made Of?

Fonterra being one of the companies overseeing the operations of Dairy Industries, the cheese used to make Tastee Cheese is brought from New Zealand. It contains Milk, Salt, Bacterial Culture, Enzyme, Water, Butter, Sodium Phosphates, Salt, Citric Acid, Preservatives and Annatto which is used for colouring.

Nutritional Benefits of Jamaican Cheese

Tastee Cheese is rich in calcium and Vitamin B. This is great for the structuring and strengthening of bones and overall bone health. Expecting mothers, growing children and the elderly are encouraged to have cheese to aid in bone health and the prevention of diseases like Osteoporosis.

Is Jamaican Cheese Processed?

Yes, Jamaican Tastee Cheese is a pasteurised, processed cheese made from real cheese.

How Long Does Jamaican Cheese Last?

After opening, Jamaican Cheese can last up to 8 weeks if it is stored correctly. This means keeping it in the refrigerator and covering it properly.

What Do Jamaicans Have Cheese With?

Does Jamaica Produce Cheese?

After all the information I have given you, I think I can confidently say, Yes Jamaica does produce cheese and it is absolutely Tastee. I’m sure you would love to try it now so I will share a recipe with you.

Tastee Cheese Cheesy Breakfast Fritters

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup flour
  • Dash of black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Anchor milk powder
  • 1/4 lb Tastee Cheese (grated)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Pinch of salt

PROCEDURE

  1. Combine flour and water and make a soft, lumpy slightly runny batter (if you’ve made saltfish fritters the dough should look the same).
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the dough and mix.
  3. In a frying pan or skillet, heat vegetable oil for frying to 375 degrees F.
  4. Drop fritter batter by tablespoons gently into hot oil and fry until they are golden brown. Remove and drain on absorbent paper before placing it on the serving dish.
  5.  

 You have now made your Cheese Breakfast fritters all that’s left to do is dig in!

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References & Sources For Jamaican Cheese

  1. Thanks for celebrating Cheese Month! | Food | Jamaica Gleaner, https://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20100930/cook/cook6.html 
  2. Tastee Cheese,https://tasteecheese.com/ 
  3. About - Dairy Industries Jamaica Limited, https://dairyindustriesjamaica.com/about/
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