15-Year Aged Wisconsin Cheddar

March 22 2010 - 11:56 PM

I received a gift from my mother of what was perhaps one of the most unusual cheeses I have bought or sampled as of recent: Wisconsin Cheddar.  Yes, this is the same orange-colored cheese that graces supermarket aisles in plastic wrapping.  My love bouncy castle for sale affair with cheese started with these types, including Colby, Monterrey Jack, and Brick.  This cheddar, however, is quite a bit more usual than your mass-produced varieties.

First of all, it was aged for fifteen years.  Secondly, it doesn’t have a familiar brand name.  Instead, it is made by Mineral Point, Wisconsin cheesemaker Tony Hook, who decided to take some of his eight- and ten-year cheddars and age them a few more years.  Hook’s cheese is very dense, with a crunchy, crystal-like texture and a sharp, yet creamy, almost caramel-like mouthfeel.    It is unmistakeably Wisconsin Cheddar, yet artisanal at the same time, calling in to question us cheese snobs who have abandoned traditional American cheeses in droves.

To the best of my knowledge there are not any stores in Chicago that carry this, but you may try Fromagination, situated in Madison’s Capitol Square, which does a decent mail-order business.