How Philadelphia Became the One and Only Cream Cheese

When it comes to baking, everyone has an opinion on the superior brand of butter (President? Kerrygold? Finlandia?) or flour (King Arthur? Gold Medal? Bob’s Red Mill?). But there is only one cream cheese, and that is the brick-shaped silver package with the bright blue lettering: Philadelphia.

“I only believe in Philly cream cheese,” wrote BA’s Claire Saffitz immediately after I’d emailed her. “It’s just the best, and nothing else tastes right.”

“I don’t think there is anything else like it,” says Priscilla Scaff-Mariani, the executive pastry sous chef at Gabriel Kreuther in New York, about its flavor and texture. “Even when I was in culinary school, it was like, ‘Oh, we need cream cheese?’ It’s Philadelphia. It wasn’t even a second thought.”

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