SPECIALLY SELECTED TRUFFLE MACARONI AND CHEESE
|Definitely not the blue-box macaroni and cheese you grew accustomed to!|
I’ve eaten half of the bowl, and I still can’t even tell what I think of Specially Selected’s Truffle Macaroni and Cheese. I will say that it cooks up nice and creamy on the stovetop, thanks partly to the packet of cheese powder and dried mushrooms that comes inside the box. As you probably know, “truffle” is basically code for “mushrooms”, and while I’m not a fan of mushrooms, I felt like the combination could be pretty delicious. And as the cheese sauce starts to thicken a bit more, it seems to explode with more flavor. This definitely isn’t your typical boxed macaroni and cheese, as the cheese isn’t so cartoonishly exaggerated; there’s plenty of it here, but it’s also offset by the earthy taste of the mushrooms, so those looking for a cheese overload would do best to look somewhere else.
Even though I can’t exactly describe this flavor as “addicting”, it’s different enough that I keep getting urges to take another bite, so that certainly has to account for something. The texture, between the soft noodles and the creaminess of the cheese, is a big reason for that; but you definitely can’t ignore the taste…I’ve seriously never had a macaroni and cheese like it, boxed or otherwise, and while I definitely won’t be getting this again any time soon, I certainly would get it again at some point in the future.
Points must also be awarded for value. Given the “Specially Selected” label, I was figuring that the box would make even less than a typical box of national brand mac and cheese, but it ended up making the same amount, which was definitely enough to fill me up. A box of this costs $1.99, which I initially thought was pretty affordable; after tasting it and seeing just how much it makes, I have to conclude that it’s a pretty solid deal, especially since it’s only a couple quarters more than the national brand of shells and cheese, yet packs in a much more unique cheese flavor. If you’re tired of the same ol’ macaroni and cheese, and don’t mind a little fungus in your food, you should definitely scope this one out.
Overall: 7.5/10. Tired of “typical” macaroni and cheeses? This is definitely a step in the opposite direction! I’m not a huge fan of mushroom, but decided to give this a shot anyway, and I’m glad I did. The mushrooms provide a nice, earthy taste that coexists with the rich, creamy cheese; the end result is a surprisingly addictive twist on an all-time American classic!
SPECIALLY SELECTED MASCARPONE AND SUN-DRIED TOMATO MAC AND CHEESE
A few days ago I tried Specially Selected’s Truffle Macaroni and Cheese, a review which you will find paired up with this one. But the one I was secretly most excited for was this one, which my wife picked up during the same trip. I’m not one for mushroom (though I did end up liking it quite a bit), but the combination of cheese and tomatoes have never let down anyone.
I’m not too familiar with my cheeses, especially “exotic” ones like mascarpone, so I can’t say with exact certainty that’s what this smells like, but this dish is packed with an overwhelming smell of cheesiness. Like the truffle mac, once cooked, it’s smothered in cheese, with the added benefit of having little bits of sun-dried tomatoes, instead of mushrooms. But this isn’t just one of those women that are just good looks and no personality…no, this has the taste to match.
It’s absolutely exploding with a decadent cheesy flavor, and “decadent” is a word I usually reserve for desserts at fancy restaurants. The tomatoes actually play a key role here, helping to offset the mascarpone explosion, by balancing it out with a hint of sweetness. For being completely dried out, the tomatoes manage to taste at least somewhat fresh in the finished dish, and have a nice, soft texture.
Now one thing I will say, is for this one, my wife added the recommended, but optional, additions of butter and grated parmesan cheese, something I did not do while preparing the truffle mac. So that no doubt helped to make this even creamier and more delicious. I have no doubts it would taste pretty darn good even without those additions, so if you don’t have butter or parmesan on hand, you’ll still be left with a delicious, and at least somewhat healthier, entrée.
Overall: 8/10. We wouldn’t hesitate to get this again. A ridiculously cheesy macaroni with bits of sun-dried tomatoes…how could you go wrong? As this dish proves, you can’t. If you like really any kind of cheese, but especially mascarpone, you owe it to yourself to check this out. I should note that we did prepare this with the recommended additions of butter and grated parmesan cheese, which no doubt made it even creamier (and even less healthy) than it would normally be, but I also wouldn’t think twice to try it the way it is right out of the box. It’s a Special Buy at Aldi stores, meaning once it’s gone, it’s gone until the next time, so time is of the essence!