USA Today reports on Hook’s 15-year cheddar, available for $50/pound. Having enjoyed Hook’s at 12 years old, I find the idea of eating it at 15 years not merely plausible, but actually really appealing. Particularly if someone else is picking up the check…
Posts Tagged ‘cheddar’
Alto Dairy is probably best known for having the largest cheese plant this side of the Mississippi (and it is large!), making mostly “commodity”-style American-style cheeses, mozzarella, and provolone, but they have also occasionally made smaller batches of more specialized cheeses. One of these is their pasture-grazed cheddar, aged one year. A number of cheesemakers have told us that you can tell the difference between cheese made from cows fed grass (as opposed to silage), but the obstacles to using all grass-fed milk are many. As you can see from this photo, the cheese is more yellow than other un-colored cheddars; it is apparently common for cheese made from grass-fed milk to have this richer color.
The flavor was very buttery and smooth for cheddar with no acid flavor at all. It has a soft and creamy texture as well.
We just got back from a trip to Henning’s Cheese in Kiel. Kerry Henning was a very gracious host and wonderful to talk to. After hearing about the 14-year history of his peppercorn cheddar, we had to buy some! Kerry seems to get most of his new ideas by seeing another cheese and then wondering “Can I do that with cheddar?” While this seems like a simple task, he actually embarks on a complicated development process until he makes a product that he is proud to put his label on. I can’t imagine the number of vats of cheese that went into this project, but the result is a dry and peppery cheddar.
Apparently, Kerry found the final key to the cheese by learning about some other aging methods to achieve the dry texture of this cheese. It is almost like an Italian aged cheese — a little towards the crumbly side but still very slice-able. The peppercorns almost merge into the taste of the aged cheddar, so it is less like getting little fireworks of pepper and more like one consistent flavor — not too peppery, but with a nice edge.