How do I Choose the Best Cheddar Cheese?
There are several tips to help you in selecting a quality cheddar cheese. When buying cheddar, some things you may want to consider are where it came from, how it is packaged, and the ingredients on the label. If possible, it may also help if you sample several different types of cheddar before selecting your favorite. There are certain things to note in the taste of cheddar that may be indicators of quality. It's also probably a good idea to notice the texture of various types of cheddar, because good quality and poor quality cheddar tend to feel differently.
In general, cheddar cheese that is widely commercially available tends to lack in quality when compared to the cheese produced by farms that sell cheese individually or that comes from a much smaller label. Mass produced cheeses, including cheddar, are all usually made with techniques that differ greatly from the care and special attention that independent cheese makers normally use. Farmers and independent cheese makers usually make cheese by hand, while mass producers use more high-tech, impersonal methods. Mass cheese producers also frequently package cheese in plastic or cellophane, while an independent cheese maker might wrap his cheddar individually and with care in cloth or parchment paper, which may better protect the flavor and texture of the cheese.
When selecting cheddar cheese, you might also benefit from checking the ingredients listed. Cheddar that contains high amounts of milk fat and lots of protein tends to have a fuller, richer taste than cheeses that have lower amounts of these things. If you prefer sharp cheddar cheese, you can attempt to find out how long it was aged. Sharp cheddar is referred to as sharp because it has been aged longer than the mild varieties. The longer the cheese has been aged, the sharper the taste will probably be.
You might have to implement a trial and error method before settling on your favorite type of cheddar. If you go to a grocery store that lets you sample products, you might be able to find the best cheese on your first try. In general, a high quality cheddar will have a distinct flavor, and the lesser quality cheese will likely taste flat in comparison to it, even if it is labeled as sharp. The texture of cheddar is also considered important when you are looking for top quality. Cheddar cheese that feels hard to the touch is typically of greater quality than the types that feel soft and slightly mushy.
I find sharp cheese needs to be aged, say two years to have the best sharp flavor. Less than a year gets no "sharp" flavor at all! Beware, check the time of aging.
I like to eat apple slices with white cheddar cheese. I also like cheddar cheese on top of apple pie. I guess cheddar and apples go well together.
Honestly, my favorite kind of cheddar cheese is cheddar cheese fondue. I think they usually use a sharp cheddar and mix it with milk or cream to get it smooth.
A friend of mine had a fondue party a few months ago and she served cheddar fondue amongst others. They were all good but I spent the whole party huddled over that cheddar pot. I could not get enough of it. I was the most awesomely cheesy thing I have ever had.
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