Composition with Neufchatel, Norman cheese (A.O.P.) and glass of wine, on a blue background.
Food - Drink
The Difference Between Neufchâtel And Cream Cheese
Neufchâtel is a soft French cheese that led to the creation of American-style cream cheese. While most Neufchâtel sold in America closely resembles cream cheese, and true French-style Neufchâtel also has some similarities to cream cheese, these two cheeses have significant differences in production, flavor, and texture.
Neufchâtel originated in France around 1035, and unlike cream cheese, Neufchâtel is aged for about six to 10 weeks to form a rind. While cream cheese uses a combo of unskimmed milk and cream, Neufchâtel is made using only cow's milk to create a spreadable cheese that must have about 23% milk fat and over 55% moisture content.
How and when cream cheese was first made is up for debate, but most food historians agree that William Lawrence first made and successfully sold cream cheese in the 1800s under the brand Philadelphia. Cream cheese is made to be smooth and creamy, and is often sold in square blocks or tubs for easy spreading.
Meanwhile, a traditional French Neufchâtel is more grainy and crumbly, and its flavor is nutty and tastes a bit like a mushroom. Substituting the American version of Neufchâtel for cream cheese is fairly straightforward, considering they are similar in taste and texture, but French Neufchâtel may be a more difficult swap.