It should also be noted that American Neufchâtel is exponentially different from French Neufchâtel. Traditional French Neufchâtel uses raw, unpasteurized cow’s milk, whereas American Neufchâtel tends to use a mix of pasteurized milk and cream (via The Kitchn). Culture notes that the cheese has been sold in the states since the late 1800s. It is said that a “New York cheesemaker stumbled upon cream cheese in an attempt to recreate France’s oldest cheese” — Neufchâtel, according to Culture. Another major differentiation between the two spreadable cheeses is the fat content, which varies exponentially between traditional cream cheese and traditional Neufchâtel.
One especially interesting Neufchâtel tale speaks to the cheese’s trademark heart shape, which is said to have originated during the Hundred Years War, when young English soldiers would supposedly fall in love with French girls while the two countries were at war, which resulted in some cheesemakers actually forming the rind into a heart shape.
Neufchâtel can be used in cheesecakes, in savory dips, in cheese ball recipes, or even stirred into pasta dishes. It is also wonderful when simply paired with crusty bread and perhaps some jam. It also pairs well with a crisp, white wine and, obviously, when slathered on a bagel. When you’re next in need of some cream cheese, why not switch things up and instead buy some Neufchâtel? We bet you’ll become a big fan.