Cheese of the week: Shelburne Farms 1-year aged Cheddar
It’s apple season in Vermont and nothing complements a local apple better than locally-made cheddar, such as the scrumptious Shelburne Farms 1-Year Aged Cheddar we’re featuring this week. This farmhouse cheddar is made entirely by hand from the raw milk of the Brown Swiss cows raised by the folks at Shelburne Farms- a nonprofit sustainability education center and working dairy farm- in Shelburne, VT. Every day, the milk is loaded right into the cheesemaking vats in the morning and then taken through the cheddaring process since “cheddar”, after all, not only refers to the final delicious product but also the specific method of cheese production. To cheddar, the cheese curds are formed into blocks or loaves and then piled upon one another to press out the excess whey, whereupon the loaves are put through mills in order to make tiny cheese crumbles. These, in turn, are heaped into molds and pressed. The result of this lengthy and laborious process is a collection of young cheeses which are allowed to ripen to various ages, including the 1-yr old cheddar we’re focusing on (we sell waxed 8- and 16-oz bars, as well as wrapped blocks of varying weights). Shelburne Farms’ 1-Year Aged Cheddar is sharp with slightly fruity and acidic tones, and though solid and firm, is creamy and dense enough to be perfectly sliceable for those Vermont apples or apple pies. However, if you’re not into the apple-and-cheddar thing, its flavor is not so mild as to be less interesting, nor so piquant as to be aggressive, making it a very versatile cheddar which you can use any way you want!