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Cheese slices - the tasty convenience?

Cheese slices seemed unbelievably convenient and exciting when they first arrived on our shelves, especially as each slice was so neatly wrapped in its own little plastic envelope.

Of course, we quickly realised this was not farmhouse cheese but we couldn't resist the convenience.

As a nation we still eat a huge number of cheese slices every year and a cheeseburger from your local chipper would simply not taste the same if it was made using a fancy farmhouse cheese.

Most samples contained 60pc cheese but others contained just 48pc and one contained only 11pc. The other standard ingredients include whey, salt, preservatives and various fats and flavourings. The calorie count averaged around 260Kcal per 100g.

I conducted this test with a cheese-slice eater who eats them in secret as a mid-morning or midnight snack.

All the samples were tasted on their own and melted on toast. Easi-Singles, €1.55 for 10 (15c each)

Made by Kerry Foods, these were the first successful individually wrapped cheese-slice brand in Ireland and are still going strong. Pleasant mild cheddar cheese flavour (60pc cheese), a little moist and these had a good cheesy taste. Worked well when melted on toast. 6.5/10

SuperValu, €1.20 for 10 (12c each)

The best of the supermarket brands. These contained 60pc cheese and had a mild cheesy taste.

The texture, of course, is nothing like farmhouse cheese but the flavour came closer to the real thing than most samples, particularly due to the dryer texture.

6/10

Aldi Cowbelle, €1.39 for 20 (7c each)

Third cheapest sample in the test yet still containing 60pc cheese.

These had a very mild cheese taste and a dryish texture while still very soft. They melted well on toast and had none of the slimy texture of some of worst samples.

Not bad.

5.5/10

Lidl Tenery, €0.79 for 10 (8c each)

These contained 48pc cheese and were rather lacking in cheese taste, but with a reasonable texture. Perhaps a little too moist and artificial tasting but they improved when melted on toast.

Not the worst but could do a lot better.

4.5/10

Galtee, €1.84 for 10 (18c each)

Galtee is one of Ireland's best-known cheese brands and these slices contained 60pc cheese and had a reasonably strong and salty cheesy taste that was closer to "cheese puffs" than actual cheese.

The texture is soft and not too wet but the flavour was not to our liking. 4/10

Tesco Value, €0.57 for 10 (6c each)

The cheapest in the test and, given that these "singles" are only 11pc cheese, it was not surprising that the word cheese is omitted from the front of the pack. Very, very bland with only a hint of cheese flavour, however, the texture was quite acceptable.

4/10

Dunnes, €2.35 for 20 (12c each)

Containing 48pc cheese and with a noticeable mild cheesy taste. These were let down by their unpleasant, rather slimy texture. Even when melted they seemed a little too wet and they also contained one of the higher calorie counts at 300Kcal per 100g.

3/10

Charleville 20, €3.54 for 20 (17c each)

The second-most expensive in the test, these are made with 60pc cheese have a cheesy taste and melted well. However, when eaten on their own or on toast they were far too wet with a very slimy texture. We both gave this our lowest mark. 2.5/10