I'm not asked that question nearly enough.
But forgive me for being a skeptical when my lovely bride Sandy asked me that the other night while motioning to the half-eaten bag of Trader Gitoo's Oven-Baked Cheese Bites on the shelf. I've heard from other folks that they're pretty tasty little snackers...but truly amazing? I'm in favor of not cheapening our language, so to me, those words should not be carelessly tossed about. These bites better be something else.
"You know when we make, like, real homemade mac 'n cheese and there's those little pieces of slightly burned or crispy cheese? They're just like those. Promise."
Well, that's definitely a good step towards being truly amazing.
Giotto's cheesy tidbits are something else. Yet not. That's the thing: the only ingredient is cheese! Well, technically two cheeses. There's the mysteriously labelled semi-aged cheese (now that sounds like a gamble) and grana padano cheese. Never heard of grana padano? Me neither. I'm a sheltered 'murican. But apparently it's at least somewhat akin to parmigiano reggiano if you're familiar, a really good parmesan if you're not.
I'm going to presume that it's the grana padano from which the cheese bites derive much of their flavor, because there's a definite strong parmigiano/parmesan vibe to them. Very strong. This isn't quite right, but the words "pleasantly pungent" come to mind. The taste also strays a bit towards salty for me - after a few I really wanted a tall glass of water - but it's a very cheesing and pleasing taste that makes it hard to eat just one.
Sandy loves these. Most times I have to tease her opinion out a little bit for my reviews. Not this time around. "Five. No question. Five. Pantheon worthy." Well...I'm not entirely certain of that. I'd be inclined to go more of a four (that aforementioned saltiness is a bit much) but...apparently in the last six months or so I've spontaneously developed this amplified crunching ability which rattles my wife's eardrums to no end. Like, it's really loud. I don't know, sounds the same to me, but apparently this newly bestowed gift was on full display with these cheese bites. I had to apologize, and part of my retribution, I'll bump another half point. Not sure of cost, but inexpensive enough that Sandy bought two bags without feeling guilty, so not too much. Check 'em out...if you want to try something truly amazing.
Bottom line: Trader Giotto's Oven-Baked Cheese Bites: 9.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons