Oh yes I am indeed talking about cheddar cheese.
If you are wrinkling your nose in confusion: stop it. I’m telling you, cheddar cheese is delicious and sadly, in the US it is underrated and overlooked. I was in the “Huh? Cheddar? Really? REALLY??” camp until I discovered Beecher’s Handmade Cheeses in Seattle a few years back.
I’m embarrassed to admit, I thought all cheddar cheese tasted like that bright yellow square wrapped in plastic. You know, that floppy piece of rubber they call Singles? No idea where I got that image from, but I’ve lived 20+ years, thinking cheddar is gross.
When I tried my first bite of Beecher’s 3-Year Cheddar, I wasn’t ready for what was going to happen inside my mouth. It didn’t stay flakey like the way cheddar looks. It was nutty. Then creamy. And it finished off with just enough tang to leave a lasting impression long after swallowing. After polishing off the 3-Year, I tried the 5-Year which was even more impressive than the 3-Year. And then, I was hooked.
Since the visit to Beecher’s, I’ve been hooked on cheddar cheese. One of my favorites is Quickes. Don’t be afraid to ask the cheese person for a taste!
A few tips:
- Look for cheddars that are aged in cloth
- Don’t be hung up on the region. In the US, we commonly see English and Vermont, but good cheddar -like all cheeses – are more dependent on how it is made e.g. topography, climate, starter, what the animals were fed, which animal (cheddar is normally made with cow’s milk), quality of milk and if it’s raw or pasteurized, age, how was it aged, etc., etc. Just try several pieces before buying, the cheese mongers (that’s what cheese people are called) are usually generous with samples. Usually.
- Have it cut to order
- Store by wrapping in paper
Hope this helps but more so, I really hope you are a convert like me.