Friday, July 25, 2008

Chedder Cheez

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."


Anonymous said...

You mentioned cheese curds!

The best come from the proclaimed “Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin” in Ellsworth, Wisconsin. (The Governor of Wisconsin gave them that title!) They are so squeaky good! Their cheese is ALL NATURAL and is made from rBST free milk. If you are near Ellsworth, Wisconsin stop in their creamery store after 11 a.m. and take home WARM packages of FRESHLY made cheese curds! SQUEAKY FRESH!

They do have a web site and sell fresh and lightly, hand-breaded cheese curds too. They sold 104,000 lbs to the Minnesota State Fair last year and have been selling to state and county fairs for over a decade! They are also in A&W Restaurants. If you go to a Milwaukee Brewers home game at Miller Park you can buy the breaded cheese curds there.

Their cheese morsels remain the color of fresh quality milk: White!
(Have you ever drank a glass of orange milk?)

Or if you purchase one of their fresh 1# cheese curds packages (Deli section of Cub Foods for example) there is a very simple recipe on the back of their packages - it is so easy to make your own batter with only FOUR common ingredients. Additional recipes are on their web site.

If you can't get to their creamery store, these cheese morsels are in many grocery stores.
Remember to microwave for just 15 seconds to bring out the rich cheddar flavor and its trademark SQUEAK!

Pusher said...

Hey, you've been marketed to!

This post just makes me so sad. Aged cheddar should never be creamy, and while many of my favorite cheeses can be said to ooze, I can't think of a single one that should be "slimy".

Mr. Kluges said...

Wow. I was going to remove this post, but I think I'll let it stay. It is a bit amusing that someone went to all that trouble to comment. Probably without verifying where I'm at, who my readership is, and how many people are reading the blog. Now, I wonder who posted it? who is my masked cheese admirer?