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When you think of Cheddar, do you think of boring, tasteless cheese? Time to rethink. We’re sampling three amazing Cheddars that will rock your world. We’re calling it Cheddar Palooza!

Fun Facts about Cheddar

Betcha didn’t know…

  • Cheddar was first made in the English village of Cheddar in Somerset. Countries all over the world produce Cheddar today.
  • Cheddar is not protected like some cheese types (e.g., Stilton, Gorgonzola, Fontina, Camembert, Munster). Any cheese company can label its cheese “Cheddar,” including some tasteless orange cheese developed in the U.S.
  • Cheddar is ubiquitous in the U.S., but relatively few Americans have tried handcrafted Cheddars. (You know where this is going, right? Yes, stop by for some GREAT Cheddar!)
  • It is the most popular cheese in the U.K. and the second-most popular cheese in the U.S. (behind mozzarella).
  • “Cheddaring” refers to the process used to create Cheddar cheese. After heating, the curd is mixed with salt, kneaded, cut into cubes, and then stacked.
  • All Cheddar is made from cow’s milk. The color ranges from white to pale yellow to orange. The orange color comes from the addition of annatto, the natural food coloring created from the seeds of the achiote tree native to Mexico and Brazil.
  • The taste of Cheddar gets sharper the longer it is aged.

Grafton 2 year Cheddar - Tastings Gourmet MarketGrafton 2-Year Aged Cheddar

A quintessential New England Cheddar, Grafton 2-Year Aged Cheddar is great as a table cheese or as part of a cheeseboard. And it excels as a melter. In fact, it practically melts in your mouth, not to mention on a grilled cheese sandwich, atop apple pie, or in an amazing mac and cheese.

This star of Grafton Village is known for its robust flavor, savory aroma, and its nutty finish. Its mellow tartness will remind you of fresh hay and sweet milk, and that’s due to the quality of the herd and the lush grasses on which it grazes. The Jersey cow milk is high in protein and butterfat and comes from local dairy farms.

Founded in 1883 by local farmers as a way to make use of surplus milk, Grafton Village Cheese is handcrafted and is artisan cheese at its best.  Its numerous awards are testimony that Grafton is one of the finest Cheddars in the United States.

Origin: Vermont (Grafton)
Producer: Grafton Village Cheese
Milk: Raw cow
Rennet type: Vegetarian
Rind: None
Age: 2 years
Look: Pale yellow
Feel: Dense, firm but creamy
Smell: Sharp, sweet
Taste: Tangy, mature; well-balanced acidity and moisture, buttery
Pairs well with: Spicy cornichon, garlicky pickles, salami, sliced apples
Tastes good with: Wines: Merlot, White Burgundy. Beers: Brown Ale, Sour Beer, Lager

Carr Valley 8 year Cheddar - tastings gourmet marketCarr Valley 8-Year Cheddar

It takes 8 years to make a Cheddar this good. Its amazing sharp flavor is a result of the lengthy aging process. This handcrafted cheese is made in small vats by expert cheesemakers, and it has earned a litany of rewards from various American Cheese Society competitions, including first place in 2010, 2004, and 2003.

For those of you who can’t get enough of Quebec 8-year Cheddar, you MUST give this U.S. cheese a try!

Origin: Wisconsin (LaValle)
Producer:  Carr Valley Cheese Company
Milk:  Pasteurized cow
Rennet type: Vegetarian
Rind: None
Age: 8 years
Look: Orange, covered in black wax
Feel: Semi-firm, crumbly
Smell: Milky
Taste: Sharp, mature
Pairs well with: Apricot jam, dried apricots, sliced apples
Tastes good with: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah, Riesling

Red Dragon - Tastings Gourmet MarketRed Dragon

Also known as Y-Fenni, Red Dragon rules the Welsh cheese world. A firm, tasty Cheddar, Red Dragon is known for its bite: the addition of Welsh brown ale and mustard seeds give it a delicious zip, but not too much. You’ll find it buttery and spicy and absolutely marvelous. As a person who abhors mustard, take it from me that even mustard-haters will love the Dragon.

Fun fact: Its name comes from the red dragon emblem on the Welsh flag.

As befits its name, Red Dragon is coated with bright red wax making it a particularly striking addition to your cheeseboard. It makes a wonderful table cheese, or try it melted in sandwiches or burgers.

Origin: Wales
Milk: Pasteurized cow
Rennet type: Vegetarian
Rind: None
Age: 3 months
Look: Light brown with flecks of wholegrain mustard seeds; covered in red wax
Feel: Supple, moist, almost spreadable
Smell: Horseradish
Taste: Tangy, hint of horseradish, piquant but mild
Pairs well with: Toast. Or add it to turkey, ham, or beef sandwiches. It melts well.
Tastes good with: Brown ale; Shiraz for those who prefer wine

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