About 15 years or so ago when I first started to really explore foods, one of the first things I explored was different cheeses. I was raised eating cheddar or American, and that was about it—except for when my parents were feeling really adventurous and got Colby Jack.

Of course, there are so many wonderful cheeses out there, that I had no use for cheddar, and saw it as an inferior cheese. In many ways, what passes for day-to-day cheddar in America is pretty inferior.

However, over the years I have found that there really are some wonderful cheddars available. Recently, I started eating Kerrygold Cheddars from Ireland. They are somewhat tangy, and have a mild pungency that I associate with blue cheeses -- though I cannot say they taste like blue cheeses. I’ve had their Blarney Castle, Mature Cheddar, and the Dubliner versions. They are not too expensive, either.

Perhaps one of the best cheddars is Black Diamond Canadian White Cheddar, but it is pretty expensive, and I haven’t had it in years. It is a very sharp cheese.

Interestingly, there are also some goat-milk cheddars available, too. They are extremely tangy though, so you won’t like them if you don’t like goat cheese.

Does anyone have any other cheddar recommendations?

Tags: Canada, Ireland, cheddar, cheese, dairy, eating, food, ingredients, products

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Replies to This Discussion

hmmm, no specific brands come to mind although I can say that I have had a couple of very good extra-sharp cheddars from Vermont. I'll see if I can find a brand name.

Your post does bring up something great about quality cheeses. They are a commodity that is damn near a perfect market. That is supply/demand, shipping distance, and the process measurements: aging time, quality of the milk fat, other ingredients entirely dictate the price. There isn't much brand power among artisan cheeses so pricing levels are set by intrinsic factors outside of marketing success (contrast with Absolut vodka or Oscar Mayer weiners for instance). Why is this important? Because when buying quality cheese, you get what pay for.

I have only anecdotal evidence of this but if you see two manchegos in a cheese display and one costs $10/lb and the other costs $12/lb.....the $12/lb cheese will be better. 7-year aged gouda will cost more (and taste better) than 5-yr aged gouda.

I'm sure there are exceptions but I had been thinking about this recently while shopping for a get together. Thoughts?
I think you are right here, Mike. Often, you do get what you pay for, though I will not say that is universally true. Some things are just hype. The issue for me thought is that I can't afford to pay $12/lbs for anything!

But I will pay more for something like all-natural chicken. The cheap stuff is really awful.

If you are interested in cheeses, see my post Creating a Cheese Board.
Oh, I loved your post on creating a cheese board. My wife and I discuss it occasionally when considering our weekend snack plate.

One nice thing about good cheeses is that you can grab 1/4 lb, slice it think on water crackers, maybe drizzle a little good olive oil and you have an awesome snack for 2 people for $3 + cracker cost. So it may look unfortunate to buy $12/lb cheese...we get around it.

As to something like chicken, yeah! I don't buy mass produced chicken any longer...I just can't do it for a number of reasons including taste and humanitarian issues. So we follow the rule in general, eat a bit less meat of much higher quality.

One nice thing about good cheeses is that you can grab 1/4 lb, slice it think on water crackers, maybe drizzle a little good olive oil and you have an awesome snack for 2 people

Heh! Years ago I used to come home after work and make a meal of cheese, crackers, and red wine. I was just going to have a little before dinner, but would end up eating it until I was full, especially if it was brie or Stilton. :)

If you're feeling more adventurous, try brie with a good, high-quality caramel sauce and whole wheat crackers. I don't eat wheat any more, but when I did, I really liked those ones that were very thick, sweet, and crumbly, almost like a cookie. I just can't remember the maker.
Pepperidge Farm?

Been a while, but I don't think so. I think they are made by the same company that makes the leading brand of water crackers -- but the name escapes me. I'll try to remember to look next time I'm at the store.
Yes, Carr's.
I can't remember if I've had their cheeses, but I recognize their name from NPR, as they are often underwriting programs.
You're not biased at all, being a Vermont boy, are you?

I'm waiting for a Vermont ad campaign, "Hector Bellevance loves Cabot Cheddar."
If you think of the name, please tell us. I might be able to get that in Dallas. I'm sure I can find Cabot here too, once I get to the right store.
am I even allowed to use so many from in one sentence?

Don't worry, this is a discussion about fromage.
I bought some Cabot cheddar cheese last night. I don't know, it's kind of a toss up between the Cabot and the Kraft.

Just kidding! Just kidding! Actually, the Cabot is quite nice, but I still think I like the Kerrygold from Ireland better.

I also think that from now on out, Kraft should be classified as the Taliban of the cheese world. They just want everyone to be unhappy.
Mild and sharp were all they had, and I bought the sharp. I meant to say that it is exceptionally creamy, too, and it has a nice color. I will look for the Grafton next time.


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