Cheddar Cheese: Everything You Need to Know
We continue our exploration of different cheeses with a look at cheddar cheese.
What is Cheddar cheese?
A hard, aged cheese that is off-white or sometimes yellow in color. It originates in Somerset in the UK. There, it is aged in the caves of the Cheddar Gorge as they have a good level of humidity and the right temperature.
The curds and whey are separated. After heating, the curds are kneaded with salt and then cut into cubes before being stacked. Extra-mature cheddar must be aged for at least 15 months.
Our Canadian Fine Aged Cheddar is aged for a longer period of time giving it a much stronger, sharper flavor.
We also sell White and Orange Cheddar. Orange Cheddar is traditional white cheddar with Annatto, an extract from the tropical achiote tree, and oleoresin paprika added. These added ingredients give the orange cheddar its orange color and a milder flavor.
How does it taste?
It has a sharp taste that develops as it ages. It is also creamy and sometimes milky in flavor. When aged 2 to 3 months, the cheddar remains mild and is better for offering texture or a little seasoning to a dish. It becomes sharp when it has been aged for around 6 months and is extra-sharp from around 1 year of aging.
How should I eat it?
As cheddar is a classic cheese, it can be used almost anywhere. Grate it over pasta, pizza or roasted vegetables. It is particularly good in autumnal and winter dishes for adding extra flavor alongside stews and casseroles.
It melts well so it is a great option for grilled cheese. Add it to any sandwich with a good helping of chutney or pickles. The sharp flavors marry together well for an excellent lunch or snack. It also works well with other savory flavors such as harissa, caramelized onions, or meats such as ham and salami.
The texture makes it excellent for mixing into different ingredients such as pastry or bread doughs. This imparts the flavor of the cheese and gives some melted, crispy elements to the finished dish.
For the simplest of dishes, create a plate with cheese, hams, fruits such as apples and grapes, crackers, and crusty bread. This can make a fantastic lunch or a quick and easy dinner. Add a glass of wine on the side for a real treat.
What should I drink it with?
The sharp and pungent flavor of Cheddar pairs well with light, fruity red wines such as Zinfandel, Syrah, and Merlot. White wine lovers can enjoy Riesling, Pinot Gris, or Sauvignon Blanc with their cheese as they have enough flavor to stand up to the tanginess of the cheese. You could also enjoy a slice of cheddar with a Port, Madeira, or Brandy.
What is your favorite way to enjoy Cheddar cheese? Let us know in the comments!