Cabot Farms has been making cheddar in America for over ninety years. Nearly all of what they make is standard fare, wrapped in wax. It’s good, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that wax wrapped cheeses don’t evaporate and breathe the same way as those wrapped in cloth. It’s much more difficult to age cheese in cloth, and the cheese loses weight faster, which makes it cost more.
Enter Mateo and Andy Kehler of Jasper Hill Farms. They’re buying wheels of clothbound cheddar from Cabot and aging them in their cheese caves in Vermont.
Why all the fuss? Clothbound is the way cheddar was made originally (and still is at Montgomery's, in England). To my mind it has a far more compelling flavor. Cheddars aged in cloth have a complexity and length of flavor that's unmatched by wax. The wheels we get are specially selected for us by the team at Jasper Hill. They have a beefy, brothy flavor. Aged at least 13 months—about 25 percent longer than what you’ll find elsewhere—it’s a sturdy cheese with a complex, lingering finish you can’t shake. A great cheese for serious snacking or on a world class cheese platter.
The current wheels we're enjoying were made in the late spring of 2012. This cheese has all the big brothy, savory flavors of a traditional English cheddar and a long sweet, fruity finish. We're also picking up hints of cashew and brown butter. Incidentally, Jasper Hill Cellars just recieived first place for this cheddar in the 'Aged Cheddar in Wrapped Cloth' category at the national competition for the American Cheese Society.
"The world's best cheddar."
Ed Behr, The Art of Eating