We have started frequenting a small cheese shop near us. It's on the way to/from the pick up point for our CSA. It's not much of a shop yet as they have just opened. They are trying to focus on Wisconsin only cheeses. I'm glad that they are trying to keep a local flavor to the business.
The problem is that the cheese industry in Wisconsin is very big, but not very diverse and not very imaginative. Our eldest daughter asked for Camembert and of course they had none. It is after all a French cheese. We suggested they look into carrying the Crave Brothers Les Frères cheese. It's from Wisconsin and the closest we've found to a soft, continental cheese.
The person working there recommended a five year, aged cheddar, which we decided to get. After all, it's cheddar, the world's single most popular cheese. I didn't know until last night that it is possible to screw up cheddar. It is so bad, I had to blog about it. The texture is awful. I expect an old cheddar to be dry, crumbly and have a nice "break apart in your mouth" texture. I expect it to have a strong, nutty flavor. Really good cheddar also wouldn't be dyed orange. It might be yellow-orange from aging, but not bright orange.
This has none of that. It seems like they took their wheels of cheese and dumped them in an extruder with a little bit of food coloring and oil. Then when the cheese was extruded into blocks on the other end, they whacked the cheese into packageable sizes, shrink wrapped them and sent them out the door. The cheese has an overly smooth, almost slimy texture and the flavor is just that of a too strong cheddar. It almost reminded me of Velveeta. Horrible.
It's too bad because the folks who make it (Weyauwega Star Dairy) make really good cheese curds. My suggestion to them is to stick with what they do well. Or at least do a little more research on what aged cheddar is supposed to taste like. Because this cheddar should never have been given the name of cheddar.
P.S. from Ms. Huis Herself - it also makes horrible grilled cheese sandwiches. I know cheddar's not an especially good melty-cheese necessarily, but even Pumpkin, who LOVES grilled cheese, said, "This isn't a very good sandwich. I don't yike the cheese."