Why Is Ricotta Cheese So Hard to Find?
Okay, let’s break this down and find out why ricotta cheese has become a rare sight on our grocery store shelves.
Cyberattack and Distribution Centers Shutdown
First, there was a cyberattack on the places where they make ricotta cheese. Think of it like a computer break-in. This messed up the production process. Plus, one of the big cheese companies in Wisconsin called Schreiber Foods had to close down its distribution centers in October. So, fewer places were sending out cheese.
Supply Chain Issues
Now, let’s talk about supply chains. These are like big systems that get stuff from where it’s made to where we buy it. But this year, supply chains have had some problems. Trucks carrying cheese and other things have been delayed, and it’s been hard to find enough workers to keep things moving. The cost of sending stuff around has also been unpredictable. That’s been a big challenge for both people who make cheese and people who want to buy it.
Cream Cheese Crunch
This problem isn’t just about ricotta cheese; cream cheese has been in high demand too. More folks have been baking at home, and some have been going back to work and grabbing bagels with cream cheese on the way. This means more people want cream cheese than before.
Price Bumps and Increased Production
When something is in high demand, companies often make more of it. For example, Kraft, the company that makes Philadelphia Cream Cheese, started making more cream cheese. But here’s the catch: they also raised the price a bit, by 12 cents for a regular tub of cream cheese. They did this in response to the rising costs of making and transporting cream cheese.
During the holiday season, bakeries like to make special treats with cream cheese. So, when Christmas and other holidays roll around, even more people want cream cheese. That adds to the challenge of keeping up with the demand.
So, there you have it! The shortage of ricotta cheese and cream cheese is a mix of things: cyberattacks, distribution center closures, supply chain hiccups, and more people wanting creamy goodness in their recipes. It’s been a bit of a cheesy adventure this year, hasn’t it?
Is There Really a Shortage of Ricotta Cheese?
Let’s dig into whether there’s a shortage of ricotta cheese and what’s going on.
Yep, you heard it right! There’s a shortage of ricotta cheese, and the main reason is a cyberattack. Hackers went on a spree in late 2021, and they didn’t spare cream cheese makers either. They attacked all kinds of businesses and organizations, like the police and even meatpackers. This messes up the cheese-making process and slows things down.
Why Ricotta Is Special
Now, you might wonder why ricotta is such a big deal. Well, it’s not just tasty; it’s also kind of healthy. Compared to other cheeses, it has less salt and fat. It’s about 10% fat, and out of that, only 6% is the not-so-healthy saturated fat. Ricotta has a unique taste that’s light and creamy, with a bit of a grainy feel. You can use it in sweet dishes like desserts or in savory meals.
Health Scare with Ricotta
Oh, and there’s more news! There’s a brand of ricotta called Ricotta Salata Frescolina that the FDA recalled. Why? Because there’s a possible health risk. This special sheep’s milk ricotta is super popular in Italy but not so easy to find in the United States. Some local makers do whip up fresh batches, though.
The reason for the recall is a germ called Listeria monocytogenes. It’s not good news because it can make people sick. Since September, cheese distributed by Forever Cheese, Inc. in 21 states and the District of Columbia got recalled. It’s been linked to three unfortunate deaths and 14 people getting really sick in the US.
So, what do you do if you can’t find ricotta? Italians have a plan! They’re using something called Mascarpone cheese instead. It’s a bit tangier and super yummy. But here’s the trick: you should use it in dishes that have strong flavors because Mascarpone has a bold taste.
And if you can’t find Mascarpone either, don’t worry! You can try cottage cheese, cream cheese, or buttermilk cheese as substitutes for ricotta. They can bring sweetness and creaminess to your recipes. So, even though there’s a ricotta cheese adventure happening, there are still tasty options out there!
Wrapping it Up: Ricotta Cheese Unveiled
Alright, let’s put the final touch on what we’ve learned about ricotta cheese.
Versatile and Common
Ricotta cheese is like the friendly neighbor of the cheese world. You’ll find it everywhere, from topping pizzas to filling up tasty dishes like lasagna and stuffed shells. It even sneaks into delightful Italian pastries like cannoli. The cool thing is that it’s made from whey, which is like the leftovers from making other cheeses, such as provolone and mozzarella.
Do It Yourself Ricotta
Guess what? You can even make ricotta cheese at home! All you need to do is separate the whey from whole milk. It’s like a little kitchen science project.
The Healthy and Not-So-Healthy Mix
When it comes to health, ricotta cheese is a bit of a mixed bag. It does have quite a few calories and can be pretty fatty. But here’s the twist: it’s packed with vitamins and minerals that make it a nutritious choice. So, it’s like a delicious treat that also gives you some good stuff for your body.
So, next time you enjoy a dish with ricotta cheese, you’ll know all the cool things about it. From its versatility in recipes to its potential to be homemade, ricotta cheese is a cheesy delight with a twist of nutritional value!