Those wacky Canadians! There’s only two kinds of cheddar… orange and white. Right? It’s that blocky stuff you get for grilled cheese sandwiches and grating over tortilla chips. Why would you spend $33.00 per pound on cheese that’s been sitting around for seven years?
Ah… vintage cheddar! When it’s super sharp, and aged long enough to flake instead of slice. When it has those crystals that make little gritty burst of saltiness on your tongue. It becomes slightly translucent, a little milky clear, almost glowing. Oh my!
Yes, yes! I know it’s just cheese, but we broke down in front of the cheese display at Uppercrust and got some Old Quebec Super Sharp Cheddar, aged 7 years. The blue-label reserve. The good stuff. This is no longer just cheese. This you can eat by just dropping a postage-stamp sized flake on your tongue and letting it dissolve. And you’ll be happy with that. It’s that good.
Cheddar cheese originated in the Somerset area in England, but cheddar as a name is so widely used now that they are bringing their style of cheese to the EU PGS board as West Country Farmhouse Cheddar. (There is much argument about ‘cheddar’ soon to come in the food arena, including stopping it from being artificially made bright orange for no reason whatsoever. And don’t get me started with the whole cheese-in-a-can rubbish.)
Proper cheddar should be treated as Old Quebec treats theirs, analyzing the process of making cheese, and honoring each season’s herds, feed, production cycle, and even weather during cattle grazing. They create cheese the way that it should be crafted, with a sensitive thought towards the final product. It’s let properly rest, mature, and age until it becomes something you would pay $30+ per pound for. Sometimes it is aged in caves. Like wine. Hm… what a coincidence.
This is not something you grate into your Kraft Macaroni & Cheese from a box. This isn’t something you would melt onto a gourmet sandwich, even if it included gold leaf. This kind of cheddar you eat naked (the cheese, not you, so please put your shirt back on). Serve it with sliced apples and pears. Some bits of crusty, fresh bread. Kalamata olives. Mustard. Or maybe some honey.
I can recommend a good cheddar for your next dinner party because it’s familiar and tasty enough for those people that think ‘fancy’ cheese is usually god-awful smelly. And it’s flavorful and well-crafted for your foodie friends to enjoy. Cheddar also pairs well with a mild wine or beer, so again, a great way to avoid scaring off your noob foodie friends.
Old Quebec Chaddar