Not long ago, my family tried some Unexpected Cheddar from Trader Joe’s, which is a cousin to Aldi. It quickly became a favorite that we often pick up when we go to Trader Joe’s. The package states it “tastes like an aged premium cheddar with hints of parmesan.” It’s a hard cheese with a slightly crumbly texture and classic cheddar flavor, with parmesan notes. One of the most noteworthy things about it is that it contains small crystals or crunchy bits — a sign that you’ve got a good cheese on your plate — that make it really delectable.
While I was at Aldi recently, I discovered they have their own take on Unexpected Cheddar. This is not surprising, considering the robust cheese section at the discount grocer. I found a mixed case containing three different types of Not Your Average Cheddar cheeses. (It’s also not surprising that Aldi gave this cheese line a fun name like Not Your Average Cheddar. They’ve sold much more whimsically named cheeses over the years.)
The three Not Your Average Cheddar varieties are Cheddar Cheese & Parmesan Notes (which looks like a counterpart to the Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar), Double Smoked Cheddar Cheese, and Cheddar Cheese + Gruyère. I picked up up a package of each to sample at home.
Emporium Selection Not Your Average Cheddar cost $3.89 for a 7-ounce block at the time of publication. For comparison, Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar cost $3.99 for 7 ounces at the time of writing, so the Aldi cheese is only marginally cheaper.
These are Regular Buys, so you should be able to find them at Aldi all year. They’re stocked in the refrigerated section with all the other cheeses, dips, spreads, and deli meats.
Emporium Selection is not a company. Rather, it is the private label Aldi uses for the various cheeses it sells.
Each of these cheeses has seven 1-ounce servings, and one serving has 110 calories.
They all contain cultured pasteurized milk, salt, and microbial enzymes. If you’re looking out for allergens, naturally these contain milk.
These should all be kept refrigerated, of course.
Keep reading for more about each cheese flavor.
Emporium Selection Not Your Average Cheddar Cheddar Cheese & Parmesan Notes
The package describes this as “semi-hard cheddar cheese with notes of Parmesan flavor.”
Our big question here was whether this particular cheese flavor was the Aldi version of Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar. It is very similar, and we were happy to discover that this Aldi cheese has the same crunchy crystals as the TJ’s Unexpected Cheddar. We felt like this Aldi cheese had a somewhat softer consistency and was less crumbly than the Trader Joe’s cheese. We also think the TJ’s cheese has slightly more bite, although the Aldi cheese is good on its own merits.
My family couldn’t easily agree on a favorite among the three Not Your Average Cheddar options, but half of us thought this was the best.
This has 110 calories per 1-once serving, along with 9 grams of total fat (11% DV), 6 grams of saturated fat (28% DV), and 200 mg of sodium (9% DV).
Emporium Selection Not Your Average Cheddar Double Smoked Cheddar Cheese
The package describes this as “a smoked semi-hard cheese.”
The pickiest eater in our family declared this the best cheese of the three. You can tell it’s different as soon as you open the package. It has a distinct, pungent smoky smell, and the sides of the cheese block have a darker color, appearing light brown compared to the rest of the block’s creamy white hue. This tastes like you might guess: it’s a rich cheddar with a noticeably smoky flavor. If you want a cheese that has a bold, different kind of flavor, this is it.
This has 110 calories per 1-ounce serving, along with 9 grams of total fat (12% DV), 5 grams of saturated fat (27% DV), and 200 mg of sodium (8% DV).
Emporium Selection Not Your Average Cheddar Cheddar Cheese + Gruyère
The package describes this as “a rich cheddar cheese with notes of Gruyère flavor.”
This has a milder flavor and less bite compared to the other cheddars listed here. It also has a smooth, creamy flavor typical of Gruyère. It’s a good cheese but wasn’t our favorite in this bunch.
This has 110 calories per 1-ounce serving, with 9 grams of total fat (11% DV), 6 grams of saturated fat (28% DV), and 200 mg of sodium (9% DV).
Emporium Selection Not Your Average Cheddar comes in three varieties: Cheddar Cheese & Parmesan Notes, Double Smoked Cheddar Cheese, and Cheddar Cheese + Gruyère.
The Cheddar Cheese & Parmesan Notes cheese is almost identical to Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar, and it’s special because it has scattered crunchy crystals similar to the TJ’s version. We think the Trader Joe’s cheese is superior (and only costs 10 cents more than the Aldi cheese in our local stores), but the Aldi cheese is fine on its own merits.
The Double Smoked Cheddar is uniquely excellent and was a favorite among some of our taste testers, while the Cheddar with Gruyère is also good. If you’re a fan of cheese, these are all well worth trying.
We tried the version with the Parmesan notes and found it way too creamy for a cheddar, very little flavor, and no crunchy crystals. Wonder if we got a block from the fresher center of a wheel?