HOME > Chowhound > Cheese >

Discussion

Cheddar please??? Who makes the best cheddars???

Would love to hear everyone's suggestions as to some of their favorite cheddars. Also, would like to know who makes the best cheddars??? Specific dairy farms...online sources, etc. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. grocery store--cabot or tillamook. that's my preference at least.

    25 Replies
      1. re: UTgal

        I'm all for Tillamook as well! They make several versions too.

        1. re: boyzoma

          +1 for Tillamook. Most often buy Tillamook dark-blue wrapped white cheddar for under $6 on sale for two pounds. The same price as their famous orange-colored regular medium Tillamook cheddar shown at: http://shop.tillamook.com/cheese/medi.... Dark-blue wrapped white cheddar is my favorite most consumed of all cheese (when eat cheese and sometimes do not for weeks). The Tillamook USA retail store finder is here: http://www.tillamook.com/wheretobuy/i... and you can buy online mail order at: http://shop.tillamook.com/

          When splurging Tillamook I get black label extra sharp white cheddar cheese as is here: http://shop.tillamook.com/cheese/spec.... Buy when get on sale under $10 for two pounds. Is beyond my daily use dark blue wrapped $6 medium discussed first. I use this second better black wrapped white extra sharp cheddar like other quality hard cheeses. Example top pasta, salad, and such as use a quality parmesan or pecorino romano. When want a strong cheddar flavor like this one. With a better cheddar cheese with a stronger flavor one can use much less with better results. Grated finer or sliced thinner will expose more cell walls to taste buds. Stronger sharper brings the great flavor of cheddar with less fat to what it is with. Sometimes less can be more. To me it is the best cheddar I've found easy access to. While my next step up in grated is tasty strong salty goats milk Pecorino Romano at TJs for about $6 per pound. Pecorino from a wheel with the writing on the back is awesome grated can be sliced and often get for less than the best cheddar kinds.

          A good local deal is at Grocery Outlet is a bag of 3/4" bricks of extra sharp dry cheddar three pounds for $6. Is hard to use pre-cut sometimes. Stronger than most cheddar taste. But more salt than some. I like it for a $2 per pound extra sharp cheddar cheese that is good and a little different.

          Sharp cheddar bulk at Winco is 3.28 per pound in 1 to 2.5 pound chunks. With much less salt. But to me does not have as good a strong sharp cheddar flavor as do the other cheese kinds above. For mild cheddar Winco bulk is best at $2.78 per pound in 1 to 2.5 pound chunks. If want a strong cheddar as I usually crave Tillamook has a good balance between salt and cheddar flavor. I use the two white Tillamook cheddar cheeses for comparison when consider other cheddar.

          These above are what we eat when enjoy cheddar in the Portland, Oregon area. Found learned to equally devour different similar cheddar when lived in Orlando, Florida in the late 80s and early 90s often from Costco then. When cook for a crowd: Cosco, Cash and Carry, and Sam's sell huge chunks of quality cheddar cheap. Usually do not eat enough to justify. Find if freeze even in a good freezer bags cheddar does not slice as well and curd texture will change. Fresh kept cold in fridge is better quality than the same is when frozen. So I buy only what use to maximize freshness while some cheeses including cheddar is often best with some age.

          There are better than the common options shared here above - many more expensive. Sometimes it is fun to splurge and try all kinds. Various parts of the country have different cheese. Around Wisconsin when travel, able to consume top quality cheddar cheese for a great price. Like Australian dry strong not too salty white dry tasty cheddar. Unfortunately do not see in Oregon so can not share brands or get here. While personally have never had mind blowing cheddar to splurge on over instead a then similar cost Pecorino Romano. I enjoy good Swiss, Roquefort, Feta, and other quality cheeses if splurge for more than the typical $5 or under per pound mostly under $3 per pound I spend for decent blue label Tillamook white cheddar to eat most often. Shopping is different all over and it often pays to seek out cheese deals. Fuel cost is a factor. Local availability, experience, access, and personal budget often defines our cheese experience then tastes. If try all kinds of cheddar will find your own favorites in the wide range of available kinds. Do look forward to reading what is shared by people all over about their cheddar.

          1. re: smaki

            Yesterday at local Albertsons bought Tillamook White Medium Cheddar Cheese in a blue wrapper 2 pound brick for $4.99 on sale for $5.99 with an additional $1.00 off because of a coupon in the local Albertsons mailer available at the store. All natural aged 100 days. Says best by Nov 12 2012 so no need to freeze and change the curd as will be gone way before then when it would have a chance to mold. Says to keep refrigerated. Bought three two pounders for $15. INGREDIENTS: Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes.

            1. re: smaki

              Because of everyone here, I just bought a block of Tillamook Extra Sharp here in NY when I saw it for sale at my local grocery. Like it was a treasure, haven't tasted yet but in the next half hour I'm breaking it out!

              1. re: coll

                Guess I'm used to creamy cheddar, it had a nice flavor but too crystalized for my tastes. And for "extra sharp" didn't think it had that much sharpness. Glad I got to try it though!

                1. re: coll

                  Trying new cheese is fun and we all have different tastes. First thought - something is wrong. What is the date on the side? Second thought, maybe it froze somehow or possibly was stored at an elevated temperature (for example, could have happened in shipping from Oregon to where you are in New York). When freeze a milk product like cheese it changes the texture (and elevated temp storage would form more crystals faster http://ift.confex.com/ift/2003/techpr...). A way to tell if has been frozen or not is after freeze cheese unable to slice see through thin - so you may want to try that as a test on yours. Took some close up pictures showing detail when slicing cheese tonight to share for you to compare:

                  http://www.designavs.com/pics/tillamo...
                  http://www.designavs.com/pics/tillamo...
                  http://www.designavs.com/pics/tillamo...

                  As to crystallized, was told once when eating 5 year aged cheddar it takes aging cheddar at least 7 years for crystals to form big time. Also have read crystals begin to form after 12 months so finding conflicting info on when crystals form in cheddar. It depends on factors like temperature, time, cheese type, etc. Maybe a cheese expert here on CHOW can share further information about crystal formation. Tillamook Special Reserve Extra Sharp wrapped in black aged 15 months as can see in the third picture. My slice pictures seem not to show many crystals. Have had well aged cheddar that has a 'crunch' - and this here seems creamy not crunchy when eat it to me. The crystals are lactic acid that has converted into a crystallized form by a bacteria. Characterization of a Lactobacillus strain producing white crystals on cheddar cheese. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/arti...

                  NOTE: Black Plastic Special Reserve Extra Sharp Tillamook normally $11.99 for 2 pounds has been on sale this last week at Safeway for $5.99 so bought several to stock up with a date of Nov 12 2013 on the side).

                  Do agree with you even Tillamook Special Reserve Extra Sharp is not the sharpest tasting cheddar I've had. While is good for a reasonable price. For me I would like them to make Extra Sharp taste even sharper if anyone from the Tillamook Cheese Factory reads this.

                  Price is not a factor I feel the best Tillamook cheddar they call Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar and it is aged over two years: http://www.tillamook.com/products/Che... Not as sharp, but for a treat I also like their smoked cheddar: http://www.tillamook.com/products/Che.... Have never tried the 3 Year Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar and is on my list: http://www.tillamook.com/products/Che...

                  A few places to get high-end cheddar online are:

                  Widmer's ships older, crunchy cheddar. They list a 6 year old one here. http://www.widmerscheese.com/categori...

                  Sugar Bush Farm has 94-month cheddar (7.83 years). http://www.sugarbushfarm.com/Dept.asp...

                  Schultz's cheese haus has cheddars up to 15 years old. http://www.schultzscheese.com/itemlis...

                  1. re: smaki

                    Wow thanks for all that information! Mine is dated May 2013, and I can slice it relatively thin, considering I don't have a dedicated cheese slicer anymore. But I wouldn't be surprised if it was stored at an incorrect temp anyway; the store I found it at has very nice and unusual cheeses but is not a gourmet place by any means. Guess I'll be sticking with Vermont or English, and NYExtra Sharp when I'm being cheap. Then if I'm ever on the West Coast, I'll try it again. We used to love Crowley from Vermont, but watching our pennies right now.

                    1. re: coll

                      Here's a shot of my "thin" cheddar slices.

                       
                    2. re: smaki

                      The crystals sometimes found in cheddar, or on the outside of cheddar, are calcium lactate, formed naturally when starter bacteria eat the lactose in the milk and ferment it into lactic acid, which then combines with the calcium in the milk. As cheeses age, they lose moisture and become firmer. As the cheese dries, the calcium lactate precipitates out and forms crystals, which is why this is a phenomenon noticed in aged cheddars, but not in younger ones. Clothbound cheddars (large wheels wrapped in muslin and covered with a fat, such as lard) form a natural rind and age differently from block cheddars, which have no rind. Clothbound cheddars can't be aged much longer than two years without beginning to lose quality, while block cheddars which are generally cryopacked, can be aged for fantastically long periods, up to 15 or even 20 years. Clothbound cheddars are aged in the open air on shelves and thus dry out faster than block cheddars, so they will form calcium lactate crystals much sooner.

                      1. re: cheesemaestro

                        I love those little crystals to pieces and will seek out cheddars with them -- extra crunch factor, mmmm. I think they show up from time to time in good parmesan also, no?

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                            The crystals in Parmigiano-Reggiano and aged gouda are not the same. They are formed from tyrosine, an amino acid found in casein, the chief protein in cheese. Tyrosine crystals are distributed throughout the cheese, while calcium lactate crystals in cheddar are more abundant on or near the surface.

                            1. re: cheesemaestro

                              I had some 8 yr. old Beecher's White Cheddar recently that had the crystals throughout it, not just on the surface.

                    3. re: coll

                      Normally sharp IS indeed more likely than not somewhat crystal in bite. I'm more for the harder Cheeses (at least in recent years) so I'm all for the sharper ones. When it comes to buying a basic Cheddar of any brand, I really like to stick to/with the N.Y. Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheeses, ya see? I think that that tastes the best & has the best bite for a hard, easy to come by Cheese, so... Outside of that, when it comes to "specialty" Cheddar Cheeses, I recently enjoyed trying the Beecher's Flagship. Give it a shot!

                      1. re: ShowUsYourRack

                        I buy the NY Extra Sharp most of the time, especially when it's on sale, but I do like to experiment. Vermont is more creamy, and I do like some of the English imports too. They're mostly all good, each in their own way.

                        1. re: coll

                          Yeah, I'm always open to new things/types too.

          2. re: chrissy1988

            I was in the Tillamook camp until I got to Vermont and visited the Cabot Creamery. I am a big fan of well aged sharp cheddars and no longer need the yellow coloring of my youth. Both creameries use rich milk from their respective abundant dairy pasture lands. Last year I had the good fortune to find 50 year Anniversary Tillamook cheeses wheels. This 3 year old cheese was a full flavored well balanced extra sharp which showed off the abilities of these Oregon cheese masters. This was a better balanced extra sharp 36 month Tillamook than the easier to find 2 lb loaf. Aged Cabot cheddars can go a step farther and their 36 month or older cheddars develop a stronger sharp (bold and increasingly complex) flavors without any of the bitterness or off flavors found in some cheddars I have tasted . The cheeses aged 36 + months from Cabot develop progressive sharpness which I do enjoy. Decades ago I purchased a limited release Huntsman cheddar at the Cabot creamery which opened my mind to truly bold sharp cheese. This cheese had developed the large crystals of some aged cheddar. I was disappointed to learn that this was one of their cheeses made and in small batches a for limited release meaning hard to come by. The 36 month 2 ob loaf extra sharp cheeses are my standard for cheddars. This year we received a generous gift from Cabot (mail order) of a white cheddar aged for 5 years! Labeled Old School this is an example of the complexity brought about by aging cheddars. This rich cheese has only the suggestion of the crystals that form in the aging process and floods the palate with a symphony of flavors melding together with the bold notes balanced by the delicate background themes.
            On the other hand Tillamook cheeses melt smoothly when heated and have the finest mouth feel... The better cheese is the aged cheddar from either creamery on the plate in front of me at the time. I too endorse Tillamook and Cabot creamery sharp cheddars.

            1. re: chrissy1988

              Oh me too for both. The sharper flavors are really good.

              1. re: chrissy1988

                I'd agree with you on both. Grew up in California so preferred Tillamook then, but living in Connecticut now, I'd go for the Cabot.

                1. re: chrissy1988

                  I like Cabot's various cheddars. I usually buy reduced fat, but sometimes i have succumbed to the full fat very sharp. I also tried the special reserve (I think it is called) but found it not as great as I hoped.

                  There are some really good Irish imports. Look for the Kellygold line at your grocer's. There is a reduced fat, and some other sorts, all with a buttery flavor that I find irrestible.

                  I eat Tillamook a lot now because I have moved to the PNW. The cheese is good. For some reason I prefer Cabot's which isn't nearly as available here.

                  And, honestly Kraft makes a very good Cracker Barrel cheese. The sharper versions are quite good.

                  1. re: sueatmo

                    Agreed: kerrygold and tilamook are good and widely available. I also agree that the Kraft Cracker Barrel sharp is solid if your budget or access dictates it. I have been known to use any of the three mentioned above from time-to-time.

                    1. re: MonMauler

                      I enjoy nearly all of the Kerry gold cheddars.

                    2. re: sueatmo

                      I agree that many Irish cheddars are good, but this week I bought some Isle of Mull cheddar and it was only average.

                      Cabot's cheeses can be found in many supermarkets and are usualy pretty good. Look for the black label aged cheddar, it is better than the standard variety.

                      1. re: DonShirer

                        I also had a Mull cheddar I didn't really care for Mull of Kintyre.

                  2. The Rolls Royce of cheddars is the aged Jasper Hill/Cabot Clothbound. It's dryer and more crystalline, much like dry jack or parmesan. Fantastic cheese.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ferret

                      At my firm's holiday party this year, the outstanding lineup in the cheese room included the Cabot Clothbound, which I had never heard of. Really, really good.

                      1. re: Bob W

                        Agreed - Cabot Clothbound is an outstanding cheddar.

                        Of the more widely available varieties, Cabot's black-wax Private Stock 3-yr-old cheddar is my pick. Very sharp and big-flavored, but not at all harsh.

                    2. Grafton 2 yo from Vt. Great stuff. Not always easy to find but the Vt. Country Store in Shelburne probably is a good place to start. That is the one cheddar I never let run out.

                      1. Costco carries a good cheddar. About the size of a very small loaf of bread and wrapped in black wax. It's now our sandwich/burger favorite.

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: escondido123

                          That's Cabot... Private Stock or 3 year aged. Excellent.

                          1. re: mcf

                            Tillamook wasn't satisfying my sharp cheddar cravings, so I recently ordered a bunch of Cabot and McCadam cheese from their site. I actually liked the uber-aged, wrapped in wax cheddar varieties less than the regular $3.50/pack extra-sharp cheddars. They were all delicious, it just surprised me that the really aged one wasn't my favorite.
                            CabotCheese.coop.

                            While you're waiting for your Cabot cheese to arrive, you might want to pick up a pack of Dubliner cheese. It's usually with the imported cheese in the deli area of supermarkets. It's made by the same people who make Kerrygold.

                            1. re: AeroDoe

                              Oh, I LOVE Dubliner! Costco has big blocks of it. I'm not a cheddar snob, I love Kraft in the red foil, sharp, I think it is. But I also love Cabot and especially Black Diamond from Canada. I buy Dubliner and Cabot at Costco, no waiting. ;-)

                              1. re: mcf

                                Dubliner is my favorite! And great on a sweet cracker.

                                1. re: GreenDragon

                                  I was wondering if anyone would mention Dubliner. It is the cheddariest cheddar I know. Tillamook tastes like wax to me.

                                  I also like Beechers Flagship. I think they are not avail. nationwide though. It is a white cheddar.

                                  1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                    I believe Dubliner is a Kerrygold product. Very good cheese.

                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                      Yes, I just bought a 2 lb block of Kerrygold Dubliner from Costco for $12.99. It's really delicious.

                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                        Kerrygold makes an excellent Red Leicester. Rich, intense cheddar flavor. If you're into extra sharp cheddars, it's worth looking for.

                                        http://kerrygoldusa.com/products/chee...

                                2. re: AeroDoe

                                  Funny, I just made a grilled cheese sandwich with sourdough and Dubliner. I confess, that I like Cabot better. Dubliner seems a little funkier. Not that I don't like funky cheese, but the Dubliner I found at Costco was a bit different. Anyone fond of the Rouge et Noir Camembert? Yum.

                                  1. re: bannarak10

                                    My favorite Rouge et Noir cheese is Schloss. It helps if it is a bit older. Great with dark beer.

                                3. re: mcf

                                  I know this is an old post, but Costco sells the sharp Tillamook in a black wrapper, and it always makes its way into my cart

                              2. Old Quebec at your nearest cheeseshop.

                                I recently tried a packaged British supermarket cheddar that I liked: Westminster Farmhouse aged more than 10 months. Unexpectedly good. According to their website, it is sold at some supermarkets.

                                1. How sharp or aged do you have in mind?

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: paulj

                                    I love sharp...the sharper the better. I do have to admit my actual "knowledge" of cheese is limited. Is the age of cheese directly linked with it's sharpness, or is it the ingredients that go into making it? I must say that there has never been a cheese (of any variety or type) I've eaten that I didn't like. Any direction is helpful. Also, because I live in area where "good" cheese is hard to come by...any recommendation for online sources would be appreciated. Thanks everyone!

                                    1. re: Phoebe

                                      What is your area? Cheese shops can maybe be nearby.

                                      Online, you might consider signing up with Zingerman's cheese club or just ordering some. Pricey but good.

                                      Here's an American cheddar (the Cabot clothbound mentioned above):

                                      http://www.zingermans.com/Product.asp...

                                      1. re: Bada Bing

                                        I'm in NC on the Outer Banks. Although there are 1 or 2 cheese shops here.....the "turn-over" isn't all that great and I'm unsure of their quality. (It's the "off season".) Don't mind spending extra for really quality cheeses of any type.

                                        1. re: Phoebe

                                          Gilt Taste has a good online selection of cheeses but their pricing is at the higher end:

                                          http://www.gilttaste.com/market/chees...

                                          1. re: ferret

                                            ferret,
                                            Have you actually ordered anything? Looks like some great products....including the cured meats. Thanks for the site!!!

                                            1. re: Phoebe

                                              I've ordered from Gilt, not the Taste site (I live in Chicago and can get a lot of what I need locally).

                                          2. re: Phoebe

                                            If it's treated well, it shouldn't matter. Don't they let you sample the cheese?

                                            1. re: Phoebe

                                              Go in and talk with the folks at your local cheese shops. You will be able to tell fairly quickly if they know their stuff, and know how to store and age cheese. Low turnover doesn't mean bad cheese if they are taking care of it. I worked in an artisanal dairy, making grass fed, raw milk cheese for awhile, and have some experience with the product.

                                              1. re: JMF

                                                JMF,
                                                Problem is ...it isn't really a cheese shop. It's a wine store that happens to sell select cheeses. My area is really remote and quality is a concern. Most of my "high-end" purchases usually come from mailorder. Don't mind paying...but it has to be worth the $$$.

                                      2. For British farmhouse cheddar, see if you can find Keen's Farm or Montgomery Farm. For USA supermarket staples, I second those here who like Tillamook and Cabot (Cabot is white).

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Bada Bing

                                          I have had to settle for supermarket cheeses due to my location...and am very fond of Cabot.

                                          1. re: Bada Bing

                                            Cabot makes yellow and white cheese, and most helpfully to me, also reduced fat cheese. The 50% reduced fat yellow makes a nice cheese sandwich. But I really like the full fat sharper cheeses the best.

                                            1. re: Bada Bing

                                              Montgomery is easily our favorite cheddar.

                                            2. Carr Valley from Wisconsin consistently wins natonal and international awards for their cheeses. You can get cheddars as old as 10 years. Have to ask.

                                              Disclosure time. I make a yearly trek to visit family and always make a day trip of over 400 miles to go to the creameries to get the experiments and leftovers. Margritte gouda is also a winner. Try the Colby Coop for their aged colby cheese. Most of the places I have found are from books as the Amish don't seem to be up on the internet for some reason:)

                                              1. I have a bias for Canadian cheddars, though of course there are good US ones that you are getting reccs for, and you can always go to back to the egg and try cheddars from England where they originated. But for Canuck options, I love the five year old white Balderson if you can get your mitts on some. Nice and sharp but full flavoured and with enough saltiness.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: grayelf

                                                  Oooh, yeah. Definitely Balderson five year old. Sharp and flavourful, and it crumbles in front of the knife rather than slicing neatly.

                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                    I've had better but that's from smaller batch farms and sold at a cheese monger for a much higher cost.
                                                    For a cheddar you can readily find that Balderson's is about as good as it gets. We buy it from Costco at a great price. Very pungent and nutty. I have an expat friend who has me ship some down in care packages a few times a year.

                                                    DT

                                                    1. re: Davwud

                                                      I know someone who got a membership at Costco JUST to get at their supply of well-priced Balderson!

                                                  2. My all time, lifelong number one choice is Black Diamond Cheddar from Canada. After that, Cabot Private Stock (a bargain at Costco). On the cheaper end, we really like Kraft Sharp Cheddar in my family, the red foil wrapped, but not the 2%.

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                      I just tried Black Diamond at a restaurant in Honolulu and loved it. Where do you buy it?

                                                      1. re: Megdean

                                                        Fairway has been carrying it, in Plainview.

                                                      2. re: mcf

                                                        My favourite has always been Black Diamond extra-old white cheddar, and I see a few mentions of Black Diamond on this thread. But the extra-old has disappeared from my local stores, and I recently looked at their website, and it shows that they no longer make old or extra-old cheddar.

                                                        1. re: BrightRedMud

                                                          We just did a comparison between an old favorite (Cabot 3-year), and our current favorite (Black Diamond 4-year), and the Black Diamond won hands down. They were both pretty sharp, but SO and I agreed that the sharpness of the Cabot was really more of a bitterness. The Black Diamond had a much more complex flavor -- it was sharp and milky, with a hint of sweetness, and also had those calcium crystals. Next to the B.D., the Cabot was pretty ordinary.

                                                          BTW, a couple of weeks ago just for fun, we compared the Black Diamond 4-year with their 5-year version (I think that's what they call the "Extra Old"), and couldn't tell them apart.

                                                          1. re: Steve Green

                                                            mmm.. Black Diamond aged cheddar, crumbled over a piece of lightly toasted bread, and then grilled until the cheese melts.. dribble a little HP sauce on top.. now, that's a snack!

                                                            1. re: Steve Green

                                                              Black Diamond ranks! Unfortunately I have rarely had access to it

                                                              1. re: zzDan

                                                                I was hoping someone would mention Black Diamond. Bj"s a warehouse/ big box store in NY used to carry the 5 year ( 9.00 a lb.totally insane) It was replaced by a very inferior product. I have found the 4 year platinum at Sam's club, and like it but would be happy to have access to both. I picked up a hunk of 5 year BD from a local cheesemonger, however it did not taste as good as the individual black wax cheese I got at Bj's. I find the Black Diamond has a very unique taste. If anyone has recommendations for a comparable cheddar please share! I've tried several other Black diamond cheddars and they suck in comparison to these two. Steve Green I think we are talking about the same two cheeses. Both white and slightly crumbly. I prefer these hands down to some very excellent cabot cheddars I sampled while in Vermont.

                                                        2. Rogue Creamery here in Southern Oregon makes some really delicious cheddars, but I'm not sure of their distribution in retail markets. We also get their curds at the factory.
                                                          http://www.roguecreamery.com/

                                                          1. I actually won an online contest and won a 3lb block of Vermont White Cheddar from a website called The Wisconsin Cheeseman. I don't know who their supplier is or if they process everything themselves, but the particular cheese I had was pretty good.

                                                            Here's a link to some award winners if you're interested

                                                            http://www.uschampioncheese.org/conte...

                                                              1. Barber's 1833 is my pick for tangy, sweet cheddar. Here's a link. http://www.barbers1833.co.uk/

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: flavorjam

                                                                  I double your recommendation, I just picked this up last week and it's gone already! It has that lovely tangy grass fed flavor I love while also being sharp.

                                                                2. Lots of good cheddar from England and Vermont, but the best ones from a cheese store were a 5yr aged Quebec cheddar and an Irish cheddar, neither one labeled as to the dairy, and Barber's Cheddar from Somerset England, which has the advantage of being rindless!

                                                                  The best grocery store varieties I've found are Cabot Extra sharp (aged 24 months- look for the black wax coating), Yancey's Fancy XXX sharp cheddar, or Grafton Village Classic Reserve Extra Aged (2yr) I found in a meat market. (At their Vermont store, Cabot has other good varieties not usually shipped to groceries.)

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: DonShirer

                                                                    Don,
                                                                    Thanks for being specific. I will try to locate some of your suggestions!!!

                                                                  2. The melange cheese at trader joes, a combo blend of Cheddar and Gruyere, is pretty damn amazing.

                                                                    1. My fave every day cheddar, meaning sliced by the pound at the deli, is Hoffman's super sharp. I eat it plain in slices, or on top of anything where cheddar is called for. I don't put it out for company with a cheese platter, but at $8/lb.....I use it for everything else.

                                                                      For cheese platters. Black diamond aged cheddar. White and crumbly....and very sharp.

                                                                      1. Outright best to my mind is Montgomery. Good at 12 months, better at 18.

                                                                        I also like Quicke's (which can get to 24months) and Keen's (which is usually 18 months)

                                                                        That said, I don't buy Cheddar too often (maybe once every couple of months or so), preferring more local cheeses usually.

                                                                        1. For our "staple" cheese, we really liked the 3-year Cabot from Costco (about $11 for 2 lb). Unfortunately, it's not available where we live in southern NV, nor in S. CA, so we've been settling for the 2-year version, which although good, isn't nearly as sharp or as full-flavored.

                                                                          Sam's Club has a 4-year Black Diamond which is very sharp and has a complex flavor -- it's our current favorite. We've tasted the Hook's 10-year cheddar at Whole Foods, and although excellent, in our view it's only marginally better than the Black Diamond, and certainly not worth $40 per lb (!), especially when the Black Diamond goes for $11 per lb. $40 per lb. is just nuts.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: Steve Green

                                                                            It better come with some diamonds for that price!!!

                                                                          2. I would add both Keens and Motgomery. Both are incredibly nutty. Almost like a well-aged gouda but a little sharper. They are both nice treats if you can find them. Enjoy!
                                                                            JeremyEG
                                                                            HomeCookLocavore.com

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                              IMHO, Montgomery and Keen's from England, with the bigger nod to Montgomery. From the US Jasper Hill's Cabot clothbound is second to one from California, Fiscalini bandage wrapped.

                                                                            2. The best cheddar I've ever had is Widmer (from Wisconsin) 10-year cheddar that I bought from Plum Market. I served it with a mixture of balsamic reduction and fig preserves on baguette. Just thinking about it now, I'm salivating like crazy. It was SO good!

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: kyoules

                                                                                I think we're all salivating after that description. : )
                                                                                JeremyEG
                                                                                HomeCookLocavore.com

                                                                              2. I've just given Beecher's Flagship Cheddar a try, and it's excellent. The cheese counter at Fred Meyer stores in the PNW have begun carrying it. Pricey, but excellent.

                                                                                http://www.beechershandmadecheese.com...

                                                                                My love for Tillamook cheeses was dampened recently when I read that the creamery just laid off dozens of local workers in the packaging dept. to expand the amount of their cheeses sent to Idaho and Utah for shredding and packaging. Tillamook is heading towards becoming the next Kraft.

                                                                                1. While out of town, I happened to pick up a chipolte Cabot cheese at a local grocery store. Really enjoyed it!!!

                                                                                  1. Balderson 5 year aged cheddar is my favorite. Those of you from Ontario will be in the know about this one :)
                                                                                    OH and you can't beat fresh Wilton Farm Cheese Curds...I live just down the road from them. I get them warm, fresh AND squeaky! MMMmmmm

                                                                                    1. My two favorites are Cabot's Hunter's Seriously Sharp, and one I get at either Trader Joe's or Whole Foods - Coastal Cheddar (sold @ WF as "Seaside"). According to Harters, a Brit who posts on CH, he cannot find the Seaside locally to him - seems it's all exported to the U.S. It has a *wonderful* crystallization that pops in your mouth when at room temperature.

                                                                                      Previous thread on Cheddars: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/643187

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                        I think you mean the TJ's "English Coastal Cheddar"- we absolutely love this stuff, particularly that crystallization you mention.

                                                                                        1. re: DrMag

                                                                                          Yup - it's called Coastal cheddar at TJs, and Seaside cheddar at Whole Foods. I always try and have a small block of it in my fridge.

                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            I just recently tried that Coastal cheddar from Ford Farms in England. Outstanding! Check out Ford Farm's website if you're interested in cheese-making.

                                                                                            For any Canadians reading, I got it at Sobey's.

                                                                                              1. re: BrightRedMud

                                                                                                It has still not reached north west England.

                                                                                        2. I get an Australian cheddar that's really nice and not too pricey - I want to say it's called Austen Vale... Pretty sure about the vale part.

                                                                                          1. When I was visiting Spokane, I picked up some Cougar Gold made by WASU's Creamery in a supermarket. It comes in a round tin and is very good. You can order it online: http://public.wsu.edu/creamery/

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                              Yes! Cougar Gold was my grandparents' favorite, and I order a few tins every year. I also found that our local wine store carries it, so I have a source for the summer months when they won't ship.

                                                                                              1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                                I was going to suggest Cougar Gold myself. A wedge of that, a crisp Washington apple, and a package of McVitie's Digestive Biscuits...it doesn't get much better.

                                                                                                1. I had an amazing cheddar recently: Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar, aged only 2 years, but it's incredible. I usually prefer older cheeses, but this Kerrygold has a unique taste that's wonderful. Maybe it's because the cows in Ireland are grass-fed year-round.

                                                                                                  Is there anybody reading here from Canada? What's happened to our Black Diamond old and extra-old (white)? It has vanished from the stores and from their website.

                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: BrightRedMud

                                                                                                    funny, i was just going to post about the kerrygold dubliner i found at trader joe's. flat out the best cheddar i've had -- ever. it's called unexpected cheddar. so easy to identify visually, i'm surprised kerrygold hasn't begun legal action:).

                                                                                                    1. re: wonderwoman

                                                                                                      AGREEED!!! KG Dubliner is king. Described by the company as a flavorful mix of cheddar, swiss, and parmesan. I agree on that as well. If you can find it, get your hands on the Vintage Dubliner. It's aged for over 2 years and has the rich complex flavor of Dubliner intensified even more so. I taste tested the two just to confirm that. Don't know of any other cheddar as delicious as this. The best!

                                                                                                      Apologies to those who don't consider this a true cheddar.

                                                                                                      1. re: circustance

                                                                                                        i'm not sure if i've ever had the vintage dubliner, but if you ever try the trader joe's unexpected cheddar, i'd love to hear your thoughts. i was just blown away, both by the combination of complex flavors, and its creamy texture.

                                                                                                      2. re: wonderwoman

                                                                                                        Is the unexpected cheddar really the same as the KG Dubliner? They sell both so just wondering.

                                                                                                    2. I like cabot& helluva good
                                                                                                      But...im also dirt poor and have not been exposed to a wide varity.i would love to learn

                                                                                                      1. Last night had Collier's Powerful Welsh Cheddar and it's hands down the best cheddar I've ever had. It has a creaminess to it that isn't found in other cheddars. Truly amazing.

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                                          Yeah that is a good one. Cheap Food Stores (Grocery Outlets) are well stocked with 'em right now.

                                                                                                          1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                                            I'm going to third this, I just tried it again after a long while and it's great.

                                                                                                          2. Fiscalini Bandage wrapped cheddar (extra mature) from modesto CA

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: AAQjr

                                                                                                              That is an excellent cheddar and the object of a chowhound search for, until identified, a mystery cheese served to me at a dinner party.

                                                                                                            2. At 67 yo I can say that there are foods I have tasted that are so memorable that I will never forget the time, place, etc. One of those was a cheddar I was served in NC when I lived in Charlotte. Now in Dallas. The 90 yo man I knew gave me a tasting of this artisanal cheddar cheese that he had bought while visiting a relative in the foothills of NC. . I am totally unable to describe it but was the most smoothly delicious cheese I have ever eaten. If you can find where I can get more, I would be forever grateful. This was not a bulk made cheese you could get anywhere else.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: alex348

                                                                                                                Maybe a cheese from this maker, Yellow Branch in Robbinsville?

                                                                                                                http://www.yellowbranch.com/indexC.html

                                                                                                                Good luck in your quest. We all have one or more of those longed for things...

                                                                                                              2. I'm the OP that started this thread. Thanks to all of the responses. Can't believe how many cheddar lovers are out there. I have a question.... What exactly is a dry Jack? Three new ones I've recently tried....Tillamook, a Dubliner cheddar, and my favorite was a 2 year old Black Diamond. Any suggestions on a REALLY sharp cheddar with a lot of bite to it? Does it all come down to the "age" of the cheddar?

                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Phoebe

                                                                                                                  You're doing well, Phoebe. Although I love cheese, and cheddar in particular, I do not have enough knowledge to inform you of dry jack. About the best I can do within the immediate vicinity is Tllamook and Dubliner, and they are both fantastic. However, whenever I go to the cheese counter of my favorite mongerer and ask for his best cheddar, he always gives me Black Diamond.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Phoebe

                                                                                                                    One guy used to make a 'dry jack',Ignazio Vella. His company also made/makes Teleme. The first is an American imitation of Parm Regg and the second an American imitation of Taleggio. Both are wonderful in their own right. Dry Jack used to be dusted with cocoa and was a fab product. Last time l saw it, it was shipped in a plastic cryopac which, of course, prevented the product from aging which it should do.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                      The Vella Dry Jack is indeed amazing and does resemble Parm. If you can't get out to Sonoma to buy it, I've seen it from time to time at Whole Foods.

                                                                                                                      And it's available online: http://www.vellacheese.com/pages/buy....

                                                                                                                    2. re: Phoebe

                                                                                                                      Well, if you liked the 2 year Black Diamond, you should try the 4 year -- I've only seen it at Sam's Club@$11 per lb), or their 5 year -- called "Extra Old", which is more readily available but comes in small wedges at twice the price.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Phoebe

                                                                                                                        Have you tried the WSU Cougar Gold mentioned elsewhere in this thread? Amazing sharp crumbly stuff. We buy a couple of cans a year and savor it slowly so as not to use it up too fast.

                                                                                                                        As you are on the East Cost, you probably don't have easy access to the Tillamook Vintage White in the Black Wrapper, but that too is worth trying if you stumble across it.

                                                                                                                        Dubliner is also great stuff, although I never really thought of it as a cheddar.

                                                                                                                        Yes, the sharpness is pretty directly related to age, which then pretty much directly relates to price.

                                                                                                                      2. I live near Cheddar and there are many farms in the area who make great cheese. Some even as far afield as Glastonbury. Greens make a very nice unpasteurised Cheddar http://www.greensofglastonbury.co.uk/... which they might be persuaded to mail internationally.

                                                                                                                        1. Just tried Dubliner with Irish Stout for the first time. DDEEEELIIIIISSH!

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: circustance

                                                                                                                            As a child we used to bring back black diamond from Canada when visiting relatives. Their extra sharp cheddar was outstanding, especially a piece served along with a slice of apple pie. These days I have no doubt there are better examples of cheddar from canada, but Black Diamond always blows away Cabot, Tilamook or any domestic US cheddars.

                                                                                                                            1. re: cwdonald

                                                                                                                              Agreed, although Tillamook had an anniversary 3-year round a couple of years ago that was right up there. They used to sell a 5-year at the factory store that was great too.

                                                                                                                              Someone in another thread mentioned Balderson's, available (I believe) at Costco in Canada, but we don't see it here in NV.

                                                                                                                              As I mentioned upthread, the 3-year Cabot is good, but its sharpness seems more like bitterness, compared to the complex flavors of the 4-year Black Diamond.

                                                                                                                              Slightly OT, but I had a slice of the Black Diamond melted over a hunk of grilled meatloaf last night. yum.

                                                                                                                              1. re: cwdonald

                                                                                                                                Black Diamond was sold to a large corporation in the early 80's. Their product from the late 70's, very aged, was my fav cheese of all times. IMVHO it is now a mere shadow of that time, regardless of how old.

                                                                                                                            2. Cloth-bound, 1+ year cave aged. Grafton, VT makes an excellent example.

                                                                                                                              1. Tillamook makes a very tasty smoked cheddar. Smoke with cheddar is a tasty combination - similar to bacon and cheddar without the bacon. Have never found it in stores. The person who had bought at the Tillamook factory. Made me want to experiment by attempting to smoke some - would have to be sure to make cold smoke or would melt the cheddar. Anyone ever try to smoke cheese? What kind of setup did you use?

                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: smaki

                                                                                                                                  Applewood also makes a "smoked" cheddar that is widely available in Vancouver. According to this website http://cheesesecrets.com/apple-smoked... it is flavoured with artificial smoke which could be why I'm not a fan. Will have to see if I can track down some Tillamook to compare... not quite ready to set up my own hardwood smoker :-).

                                                                                                                                  1. re: smaki

                                                                                                                                    Sorry to reply so long after. cold smoking cheese is great. lots of info on the internet on food smoking forums. but, you have to vacuum wrap or seal the cheese and let it mature for several months after smoking for flavor to even out, otherwise it tastes like licking an ashtray. I have over 20 smoked cheeses of various types that I did last spring that are wonderful.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                      JMF, thank you for sharing your experience. Do appreciate the tip to vacuum wrap for several months to even out flavor when cold smoke cheese.

                                                                                                                                  2. I recently tried a cheddar from Devon, UK, called "Tickler" which was carried by my quite good American supermarket here in Indiana. I recommend it highly. Has really rich flavor and some of the crumbly texture that so many of us love. Not terribly pricey, either.

                                                                                                                                    http://www.ticklercheddar.co.uk/

                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                      Just had the pleasure of enjoying English Tickler. Enjoyed it for all of the reasons you stated. Rich, sharp flavor....and very crumbly texture.

                                                                                                                                    2. Someone else mentioned Unexpected Cheddar from Trader Joes and I have to agree that it is fantastic. Lots of crunchy amino acid bits and a very smooth flavor that goes from well aged, sharp white cheddar to distinctly Parmesan at the finish.

                                                                                                                                      My all time favorite is Cougar Gold from Washington State University. They have their own dairy herd plus veterinary students to look after them plus a food science dept full of students to make cheese. Cougar Gold is a canned cheese if you can believe it. Best cheese I've ever had. I have thirteen cans of it in the fridge with the oldest being 13 years old. It ages very well and gets crunchier as it does so. It was first made in the 1940's. There are legends of 40 and 50 year old cans out there waiting to be opened. I can buy it locally but they do mail order. It costs about $24 for a 30 ounce can.
                                                                                                                                      I_S

                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: lndenturedServant

                                                                                                                                        My Dad worked in the WSU creamery during college (late 50's early 60s). Every Christmas, he orders tins to have shipped directly to family and friends. And every road trip, when we get to the hotel, wherever it is, he breaks out a tin and serves it with sausage and crackers. Love the stuff!

                                                                                                                                        Oh, and Bandon, here in Oregon used to have a cheese factory that made a great black-label aged cheddar. They were then bought out by Tillamook and closed.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: tracylee

                                                                                                                                          Tillamook is still selling cheese under the Bandon label, but it seems to be the same as their basic cheddar (which is a good supermarket brand but nothing truly special). I SO miss the real Bandon cheeses!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                                                                                                            Interesting. I passed through Bandon ages ago and tried their cheeses at the factory store. To me, they all had an odd, non-Cheddar flavor. Didn't like them at all. However, up the coast, Tillamook had a 5-year cheddar at one time, and that was memorable.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Steve Green

                                                                                                                                              The last few years that Bandon was in business, they had a black-wrapped aged cheddar (I think it was 5 years?) that we could get at Costco, and I loved it. I don't buy the 2-lb blocks of any cheese these days, and can't honestly think of the last time I bought cheddar! I know, as a cheese lover, that may be a sin, but my fridge bin is full of tons of other cheese at the moment. When I run low, I'll have to go out and try different cheddars.

                                                                                                                                              Oh, and fresh curds, what we call squeaky cheese, is my absolute favorite way to eat it.

                                                                                                                                      2. I have no idea what brand it was, but at a wedding last year, I had "cave-aged" cheddar. It was ridiculous.

                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: eastbroadway

                                                                                                                                          Jasper Hills clothbound Cabot cheddar is sometimes referred to as Cave-aged.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: ferret

                                                                                                                                              Yes it is, although my favorite clothbound cheddar made in the US is Fiscalini from California, which I would place just ahead of Cabot. I also like Avonlea from Prince Edward Island in Canada.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                                                                                I just had the Avonlea cheddar and I thought it was good but not in the same class as some of these others. It also depends on whether you prefer a really sharp cheddar or one that's mellowed a bit with age.

                                                                                                                                        2. We always loved cheddar most of all, and then found our favorite...Crowleys in Vermont. Always wrapped in cheesecloth under the wax, we got the small wheels. We had it shipped on a regular basis, but also went to visit a few times. It was great for amazing people when they tried it for the first time.

                                                                                                                                          Now that we're not as mobile, I've been finding some really nice cheddars from England at Trader Joes.

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                            The Vermont Artisan cheddar at TJ's is excellent.

                                                                                                                                          2. Kerrygold is amazingly flavorful. Gogogogogogo get some, you won't regret it despite the price being a bit high.

                                                                                                                                            1. OK, I actually signed up to one of these "social media" sites just to pipe up about cheddars...

                                                                                                                                              I grew up and lived in WashDC and lots of other places but mainly remember cheeses from Arthur Kelton's store in Peru VT back in the 50's. These were cheddars that would bite back and nice and crunchy and crumbly - forget slicing them for a sandwich.

                                                                                                                                              I've moved to Vermont in my later years and have generally enjoyed Cabot cheeses until around 4-5 years ago. The Seriously Sharp and Hunters cheeses taste just sour to me - no bite back, no crystals. I think they've changed the formula for mass productions (Agrimark).

                                                                                                                                              I do like the CA Black Diamonds. The Grafton Cloth-Bound is fantastic also. However the best cheese from around these parts is from Plymouth Artisan Cheese - I think it's called Hunters and it's everything that I remember from 60 years ago.

                                                                                                                                              I'll try a local CostCo and hope that TJ gets up heah.

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: ripwit

                                                                                                                                                  Welcome to Chowhound! Hope to hear more about your favorite cheeses.

                                                                                                                                                2. One of my more favorite cheddars is Cabot Clothbound Cheddar by Jasper Hills Cellars. Cabot makes the wheels of cheese but the crew at Jasper Hills ages (affinage) and markets the finished cheeses. I love the grassy taste and the lush way it breaksdown in your mouth. Not a typical orange cheddar at all. I like Fiscalini Bandaged cheddar too though it's not always in stock at my preferred cheese stores. As you can see I'm a sucker for farmhouse cheddars :)

                                                                                                                                                  As for orange cheddars for everyday cooking - I lean towards Tillamook (I'm a West Coast gal afterall), sharp cheddar. I used to get the extra sharp but I started noticing an unpleasant aftertaste that lingers on my palate so I started going for the sharp and have been happy (If it's on sale I'll buy the Lucerne/ Safeway brand too in sharp style)

                                                                                                                                                  My guilty pleasure is Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp tho... it's just so creamy but kind of expensive for a supermarket cheese.

                                                                                                                                                  1. Cheddarholics need to join Costco, if there's one near them. Typically you can find the best domestic cheddars plus real-deal cheddars from Blighty. To say nothing of several wonderful Irish cheeses, and cheeses from lots of other places. All for less money than you'd probably pay elsewhere. I used to live in what until a few years ago was a cheese desert (Hawaii) and when I joined a Costco there, thought I had gone to heaven.

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: emu48

                                                                                                                                                      I've seen Cougar Gold there, on occasion--cheap. It was some really well-aged stuff, lots of crunchy crystals. I suspect the WSU Creamery must have needed to dump it before it aged to the point that some people would think it was bad. Not a problem here!!

                                                                                                                                                    2. Recent new tries.... a Sherwood Smoked cheddar from England. Very smoky. Too mild a cheddar taste for me. Also, tried Kerrygold Dubliner with Irish Stout. A WINNER!!! If you haven't tried it yet, can't reccomend it enough. My new favorite cheddar.

                                                                                                                                                      1. Recent try - Old Croc, an Australian aged extra-sharp white cheddar "with a delightfully bold bite", per the black packaging with a picture of a crocodile lying on top of the "Old Croc" banner.

                                                                                                                                                        Well, it was a decidedly NON-extra sharp cheddar. It was good; it just wasn't as good as I expected, and no real bite, as I get from the Seaside/Coastal cheddar or Cabot's Hunter's Seriously Sharp.

                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                          I wish I had read this before I just bought this cheese on a "I'm in the grocery store and hungry" whim.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                            I'll still be interested to hear what you think, fieldhawk.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                              It's not too bad. I bought the extra sharp version and I think it'd work well for dishes that need a lot of cheese. It's snackable but nothing too exciting. I do like that it's grass fed and was a pretty reasonable price for a big chunk of it.

                                                                                                                                                        2. Had the good fortune to recently try the 4 year aged, Super Sharp Quebec Vintage Cheddar. A GREAT sharp, crumbly cheddar. (First time trying a Canadian cheese.) Who new? Any other Canadian cheeses worth trying?

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Phoebe

                                                                                                                                                            As mentioned upthread, see what you think of Balderson.

                                                                                                                                                          2. Had Tillamook, in Tillamook: so-so. There's a Welsh cheddar, Collier's, that's very good, and available in supermarkets everywhere. Had several Cabots, at the creamery: good, the reserve is excellent, but ...

                                                                                                                                                            The best American cheddar, hands down, is Prairie Breeze from Milton Creamery. Rated "best" by Cook's Illustrated. You can get it at some supermakets and cheesemongers (e.g., Better Cheddar in Kansas City), or on line (http://store.miltoncreamery.com)

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tlackner

                                                                                                                                                              Agree that the Tillamook I've tried was just so-so but they have the cutest fleet of trucks ever, especially the Baby Loaf:

                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                            2. WHOLE FOODS…the aged brands work nicely. Above all, even the store brands are made with the great quality products

                                                                                                                                                                1. Cabot Catamount - a cheddar-ish cheese with hints of Swiss and Parmesan.

                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                    Finally found the Fikalini - it was good but not, at least with this piece, as good as the Cabot Clothbound we had last week, nor as good as Montgomery which still leads the cheddar pack for us. We had a surprisingly good inexpensive English cheddar from Trader Joes but I lost the label! It is a narrow rectangle and I think says english sharp aged cheddar. I'll get it again and keep the label this time! Not in the "super cheddar" category but in the very good, reasonably priced and recognizably English style.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                                                                                      teezeetoo - read further upthread - sure it wasn't the "English Coastal Cheddar" I mentioned?

                                                                                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8352...

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                        I think you may be right Linda - I'm going to go check when I'm there. Your description seems right on to me of the one we had. Thread is so long I wonder what else I missed!!!

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Just tried a small batch cheddar from England: Keen's. It was excellent with strong flavor, great texture, lacking only a bit of crystallization which I tend to like. Would rank it right under Montgomery's.

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. Just ran across a fairly obscure, but delightful cheddar-type cheese: Flory's Truckle, from Milton Creamery in Iowa.
                                                                                                                                                                      It is aged over a year and has a nice aftertaste. I don't go in for the adjectives like "walnutty" or "carmelly" used to describe it
                                                                                                                                                                      (see http://allensgrovegreenhouse.com/indo...
                                                                                                                                                                      ) but I do recommend it.

                                                                                                                                                                      P.S. "truckle" refers to the traditional cylindrical shape for clothbound cheddars.

                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DonShirer

                                                                                                                                                                        I tried it last month, it's good, I liked it better than Cabot's Clothbound cheddar.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Aged extra sharp white cheddar is a real treat for me. I have eaten some really extraordinarily good artisan cheddars. As far a supermarket grade, both the Cabot and Tillamook are quite good. The Cracker Barrel aged Special Reserve (black packaging) is quite good, too, especially if one likes their cheddar more creamy. I used to like regular Cracker Barrel extra sharp (red packaging) but once you've tried a great white extra sharp, the regular Cracker Barrel seems downright mediocre.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. I'm a big fan of Kerrygold cheddar and Plymouth Smoked Cheddar.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. once again, "best" is a subjective term. There are many quality cheddars made here in US and also in UK and Ireland.

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                              And that's why the OP asked for "everyone's suggestions as to some of their favorite cheddars. "

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Maybe we ought to split this cheddar discussion into two (or more) sub-discussions.

                                                                                                                                                                              There are those of us that are perfectly happy with the fairly homogenous, not-too-sharp, good cookin' cheeses that are easy to pick up in a Kraft's or Cabot wrapper.

                                                                                                                                                                              There are some that like a in-your-face sharp rat cheese (used to say it 'bit back') that can be a few months old but usually 2+ years. Most of these come from smaller cheese producers but we all know some good distributors.

                                                                                                                                                                              Personally, I live in Vermont and like the sharp/granular cheeses that tend to be 2+ years. Grafton and Plymouth. Not a fan of Agrimark/Cabot.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. For everyday cheddar it's hard to beat Tillamook Vintage White (blue label 2 lb. brick). I wait until it's on sale and buy a case of it. It ages fine in the fridge, no mold issues. For special occasions, and the best cheddar I've had, it has to be Cougar Gold made at Washington State University. I recently opened a can that was over 25 years old! I do however prefer a younger one as they are creamier, 3-5 years is what I like best. They release them after they are aged 1 year, and you then age them in your fridge as long as you want. If you buy some, get a couple cans and wait at least a year to open the first one. Well worth the wait.

                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pdxgriller

                                                                                                                                                                                  +1, Tillamook Vintage White (blue label) for everyday use is hard to beat here. Right now it is on sale at QFC (Quality Food Centers) for $5.99 a 2 pound brick through midnight Tuesday, September 2 ( on page 1 here in Portland, Oregon: http://qfc.mywebgrocer.com/Circular/Q... ) . I also buy a bunch when on sale and find it ages way past its date with no mold issues when in new sealed 'bricks" - in fact seems to get better with extra time in a fridge at ≤ 40 degrees if kept above freezing. Do not freeze or will not slice thin as well and changes texture.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. My favorite extra sharp white cheddars are Old Croc:

                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.oldcroccheese.com/#e_chees...

                                                                                                                                                                                  As well as Westminster English Cheddar:

                                                                                                                                                                                  http://westminstercheddar.com/default...

                                                                                                                                                                                  Both have a nice bite without being too overpowering.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. For me it's a local cheddar, Caves of Faibault Fini Cheddar. It's sharp but the texture is very buttery.

                                                                                                                                                                                    For a crumbly sharp there's a weird Australian cheddar I can only find in the Spring: Boxing Roo. It's aggressively sharp and while a little crystalline it is also fatty and buttery.