The Zao Cream Cheese is a fresh natural cheese, made with milk and cream taken from cows raised on the clear pastures and natural spring waters of the Zao mountain range, between the Yamagata and Miyagi Prefectures. This cheese won Gold at the All-Japan Natural Cheese Contest, the biggest cheese competition in the country. It has a smooth, velvety texture, with a mellow flavor and a nice tartness.
Spread Zao Cream Cheese on some freshly baked bread, some crackers, or bagels. It also lends itself well to baked goods, like cheesecake (both American and Japanese style). And for something different, try combining it with soy sauce or miso for some creative dips.
Zao dairy center is located at the foot of Mt. Zao in the Nanokahara highlands in the Miyagi Prefecture. It was transferred here from Kanagawa in 1964 to better become a full-scale farm. The stunning site, which is roughly 20 times the size of Tokyo Dome, is surrounded by gorgeous scenery and blessed with pure water and air, as well as favorable climate and soil. Their cheeses are made from fresh raw milk from healthy cows that graze at the foot of Mt. Zao, and are popular for their excellent quality.
In the Zao dairy center, lactic acid bacteria and yeast both play a role in the production of cheese, but their functions vary slightly depending on temperature and time. Cheeses made at the Zao cheese plant use advanced procedures and techniques that keep to tradition, and value Japanese heritage.
Keep cream cheese refrigerated. Store in refrigerator with a temperature of 40º F or lower. To maintain its consistency, do not freeze cream cheese packed in plastic containers which are softer than foil-wrapped blocks. Keep the original packaging of foil-wrapped cream cheese refrigerated if still unopened.