Like the British Empire, cheddar conquered the world—it’s the planet’s most widely copied cheese. Ironically, with so much emphasis on imitation, the original has become an endangered species. It’s rarely found in this country and is worlds apart in character from its copycat cousins.
Montgomery’s is one of only three farms in its ancestral homeland making truly traditional farmhouse English cheddar. Big, clothbound drums are made by veteran cheesemaker Steve Bridges every day except Friday. All the milk comes from Jamie Montgomery's herd of just under 200 Holstein-Fresian cows, which graze on a nearby hill rumored, incidentally, to be the site of Camelot. Their cheeses have a golden color, a warm, flaky texture and a penetrating, memorable flavor. Each one is spoken for—they're taking no new customers.
Once, at a bar in London, someone told me "Cheddar should be like a neighbour's party," which is a line I don't quite understand but have never forgotten. It is a totally appropriate way to describe the easy, unforgettable flavor of Montgomery's cheddar.
The wheels we're savoring right now were made in April 2013. Our friends over at Neal's Yard Dairy who selected it for us would compliment this batch as very 'toothsome', meaning it possesses meaty, mouthwatering flavors that are both savory and vegetal at the same time. If you can imagine eating crisp romaine lettuce followed by a spoon of french onion broth you're actually not far off.
"If I could come back as a mouse, I'd like to live in your place! That English Farmhouse Cheddar is the best I've ever had!"
Ellen, Creston, IA