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Supermarket block cheddars?

Which do you think is best? I am not talking about the upscale ones by the deli either - budget is tight

My store carries cabot (which is what I buy) heluva good and cracker barrel, plus a few cheaper brands (crystal farms, store brand)

Which do you think is best?

I like the cabot serious sharp and haven't tried the others except cracker barrel

Thanks!

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  1. Tillamook cheddar.

    4 Replies
    1. re: sedimental

      Seconded. Especially the Vintage White Cheddar.

      1. re: sedimental

        Tillamook is the best. We use the medium cheddar on everything, but also love the white cheddar and the sharp. Yum!

        1. re: sedimental

          Tillamook here too. Slightly more expensive than the store brands, but worth it. I usually buy the sharp cheddar.

          1. re: Felila

            Tillamook sharp FTW...it used to be one of those things we always brought home after visiting family in the PNW, but now I can get it at Costco.

        2. Tillamook medium for most purposes, but the sharp or extra sharp if you prefer.

          8 Replies
          1. re: GH1618

            Isn't tillamook super expensive?

            thanks tho I will look for it, if it is that good I don't mind paying a higher price at all

            1. re: madeliner

              No. I just bought a big huge block today of medium cheddar for 7.99.

              1. re: sedimental

                great! - was it by the deli or in the 'regular' dairy case?

                1. re: madeliner

                  Where I live, it is always where the "regular" dairy is. Granted I am in the PNW (land of Tilamook) so it's everywhere ;)

                  It should be in the same section of the store where you would find cracker barrel and the like.

                  1. re: sedimental

                    Tillamook is the "regular" cheddar where I live (Seattle), or at least where I shop. It goes on sale as cheap as $5.99 for the 2 lb medium loaf quite often--in fact so often I can't remember when I've bought it at full price. The sharp usually costs more, but that goes on sale a lot too.

              2. re: madeliner

                I don't think it's "super" expensive in the 2lb blocks. Check the unit price. The small packages of various cheddars from the deli section will be more. The extra sharp is more expensive than the sharp, which is more expensive than the medium. Shop around and look for it discounted.

                Part of the problem with saving by buying a 2lb block is that with that much on hand, you might use more than otherwise.

                1. re: madeliner

                  Yes, where you are it may be pricey and hard to find. See my more complete response below in the main thread.

                  1. re: madeliner

                    I just checked the prices at my usual supermarket. Tillamook medium cheddar is $9 (for two lbs, sharp is $10. The extra-sharp is a lot more — $14.60. The store brand of mild cheddar is $8. Sometimes Tillamook can be found for less, but these are the usual prices.

                2. I lived in Portland (just down the road from Tillamook) for six months, and Fred Meyer's (combo supermarket/Target-type store) sold little 3 or 4 oz. "candy bar" sizes of various Tillamook cheeses. I always grabbed a few for the ride home, along with the big block cheddars.

                  It's truly the best bang for the buck, and the big blocks are frequently on sale at the Vons I now shop at in Los Angeles, which makes them cheaper than Kraft/Land O' Lakes/etc.

                  1. In the West, I think Tillamook is one of the best Cheddars available and it is available at Costco, making it one of the best bargains as well. The 2-lb (and now 2.5 lb) loaves that are $10-$15 at the supers are $7-$10 at Costco, which typically stocks four or five "strengths." The one near me usually has two black labels -- Special Reserve and Vintage White -- a red label (Sharp) and a Colby-Jack, (as well as a Pepper Jack, if I am recalling correctly,) and also some medium sliced. There are more varieties in the supers including a fantastic white cheddar in a blue label, but they are more expensive. But they do go on sale from time to time and sometimes come close to Costco prices.

                    Just checked some typical prices in my area:

                    Red Label Sharp Cheddar
                    Supermarket 2 lb Loaf $12.69 on sale (6.35/lb)
                    Costco 2.5 lb loaf $8.79 (3.52/lb)

                    Black Label Special Reserve Extra Sharp
                    Supermarket 2 lb loaf on sale $14.69 (7.35/lb)
                    Costco 2 lb loaf $9.55 (4.78/lb)

                    But sadly, these prices and easy availability for Tillamook seem to be unique to the West.

                    In the East, I found the same to be roughly true of Cabot -- one of the best and well represented at Costco at good prices, with more varieties at the supers at higher prices. If you are in the East, Tillamook may be hard to find and expensive when you do find it -- it was when we lived in Stamford -- so I'd stick with Cabot from Costco.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: acgold7

                      I agree about Cabot--I'm in MA and have always been pleased with our local cheese!

                      1. re: acgold7

                        I am on the east coast as well, and cabot is way less than tillamook-sounds like cabot is the way to go :)

                        thanks all!

                        1. re: acgold7

                          Tillamook price update -- West Coast

                          Black Label Special Reserve Extra Sharp 18 mo.
                          Supermarket 2 lb loaf on sale $14.69 (7.35/lb)
                          Costco 2 lb loaf $8.65 (4.33/lb)

                          Black Label Vintage White Extra Sharp 2 yr
                          Supermarket 2 lb loaf on sale $17.69 (8.85/lb)
                          Costco 2 lb loaf $9.69 (4.85/lb)

                          1. re: acgold7

                            Yikes! I've never paid that much in Seattle for either Tillamook 2 lb block that you mention. $13.99 at pricier stores like Metropolitan Market, but usually $12.99 when NOT on sale at Safeway/Fred Meyer/QFC.

                            Trader Joe's often has good prices on Cabot sharp/extra sharp, and also on various Canadian & New Zealand white cheddars (usually in 1 lb or smaller portions, if that matters).

                            1. re: PrawoJazdy

                              Yeah, Supermarket prices here have been going crazy lately. Those are Albertson's prices above. Safeway has the Special Reserve for about $12 this week, but they're not showing the big blocks of the Vintage White Extra Sharp. They do have them in the 8 oz size for $8.78/lb, so about the same as Albertson's. They're getting $10.99 for the Red Wrapper Sharp 2 lb, so less than Albertson's but more than Costco.

                        2. Another vote for Tillamook as my favorite. However, I also thought I'd mention (since it's somewhat related and I don't feel like starting a new thread) that my last purchase of extra sharp Cracker Barrel gave me the impression that they had changed it.

                          While still just a theory, I think they may have made it softer and changed the taste - neither of which I found to be an improvement - I'm going to try one more purchase in case I was just having a "bad taste bud day", but if I get the same impression I won't be buying it again.

                          1. First off, I don't consider "Cabot" or "Tillamook" "supermarekt block cheddars". To me, "supermarket block cheddars" are supermarket brand block cheddars.

                            And I do buy them - but only sharp or extra-sharp. Not to serve with a nice wine and fruit, but for everyday stuff like cheese sauces (where in most cases a good aged artisinal cheddar would be wasted;, topping tacos, enchiladas, yadayadayada; cubed & tossed into salads; etc., etc., etc.

                            Nothing wrong with using them. They are what they are, and they serve a purpose.

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: Bacardi1

                              That's what I was thinking, generic cheeses with the name of the particular store on them. Of those, I like the NY extra sharp style usually. Wait for a sale and stick some in the freezer for the future, nice to have on hand for recipes.

                              1. re: coll

                                Foodtown brand is very good.

                                1. re: coll

                                  I agree - NY Extra Sharp is what I usually buy as well. It makes a wicked-good cheese sauce for veggies, as well as basic mac & cheese, & cubed it's a nice addition to salads.

                                2. re: Bacardi1

                                  When I saw the thread title originally, I thought that too, but when I read the text and saw that the OP was referring to national or regional brands, I was cool with that as well. Besides, if you shop at a warehouse or club store, the prices for the regional brands like Tillamook or Cabot are lower than the supermarket brands for the same sizes, especially when you get into the sharps and extra sharps.

                                  Of course, if you like the store brands better, that's a different story, but no reason to buy them based on cost alone if you don't. On the other hand, your local supermarket may well have some excellent cheeses at great prices, and what a fun process to go through them all to see which ones you like. You may find an undiscovered gem. Worst that happens is you chuck one into the freezer to save for a cheese sauce if you don't love it straight up.

                                  1. re: Bacardi1

                                    I can get Kroger's or Crystal Farms or other store brand cheddars for sometimes $1.88 for an 8oz package, and even as low as $2.99 for a 2 lb. package
                                    As Bacardi says, I just get the sharp or extra sharp. I use these for cooking, and if I want some good aged cheddar for eating with crackers or just plain, I'll get Cabot or Tillamook or something from the cheese case at the deli.
                                    When we used to go to Sam's Club, I liked to get the 5 lb. block of sharp cheddar there. It made great cheese sauce and grilled cheese sandwiches. It was creamier than the aged cheddars, so it was good for melting.

                                    1. re: jmcarthur8

                                      I really stock up when it's 3x 8z bars for $5. That's as good as it gets around here nowadays.

                                      1. re: jmcarthur8

                                        Kroger brand is made by Cabot, I have been told by my Cabot friend.

                                        1. re: jeanmarieok

                                          I did not know that! I just picked up four 8 oz. blocks for $1.68 each at Kroger.

                                          1. re: jeanmarieok

                                            Interesting!

                                            If I am looking for a cheap but decent cheese - it's Krogers (Ralph's) Extra Sharp Cheddar. It actually tastes like cheese, not oily wax.

                                            Is it as good as the $12 a pound stuff? No. But it is surprisingly good for the price and happy option to have.

                                        2. re: Bacardi1

                                          What's the in-house brand name for the supermarkets in your area?

                                        3. Buy them on sale ... McCadam and Cabot are the two brands you want.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Cheese Boy

                                            +1 on McCadam - very underrated cheddar

                                          2. Of the block cheddars, I prefer the supermarket own label Canadian cheddar (as it is labelled as the strongest at a strength 6).

                                            Of course, I really just use that as a cooking cheese, preferring the farm made ones just for eating.

                                            1. I like the Tillamook, but also give Costco's store brand, Kirkland, a try. We find it in the regular fridge section, though, not where the rest of the cheeses are stocked.

                                              1. For cut cheese I will buy Cracker Barrel or Cabot. I just bought some Helava Good on sale, with a coupon, and it was good but not great.

                                                As far as shredded cheeses go, I buy whatever is on sale. I always stick with sharp cheddar or part skim mozzarella.

                                                I'm of the opinion that when melting the cheese, say for mac & cheese, tex mex, or pizza; any brand is fine. Just steer away from mild, as it has less flavor overall.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: jessicheese

                                                  tillamook 2# medium cheddar blocks are often on sale here for $5, though cheese has started going up. it has a waxy type packaging that unopened seems to last forever in fridge, so stock up when on sale. other types of tillamook are in ordinary plastic for some reason.

                                                2. If you're already using Cabot's Seriously Sharp, you're good. One of the best sharp cheddars I've found.

                                                  However, if you have a Trader Joe's around, for an "eating cheese", try the Coastal Cheddar. It has bits of salty crystallization throughout the cheese that make for a lovely crunch. It's a British cheddar made exclusively for export to the U.S. I got some for a Brit Chowhound (who doesn't live all that far from where the Coastal Cheddar is made!) when he came to the States for a visit, and he *said* he liked it. :-)

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                    I did like it!

                                                    Coastal certainly packs a punch.

                                                    (By the by, it's sold in one of our national supermarket chains but only in the south west where it's made. Perhaps someday, they'll make enough to also supply shops in the north west, where I live)

                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                      :-) I was wondering if you'd see this thread, Harters. I'm glad you did like the cheese. I didn't realize it wasn't made near you. Next time you're down near one of those chain supermarkets, perhaps a few blocks of Coastal will need to be slipped into your shopping bag.

                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                        I've been Googling and it looks as though my usual supermarket has recently started to stock Coastal on the deli counter in 350 of its branches (it has a total around 550). I'll be looking out for it to see if it's worked its way north

                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                          Perhaps a special request at the cheesemonger might bring it further north to your area?

                                                  2. My Costco in central PA just got in the Cabot 3-year-old cheddar, which they carry from time to time. I assume that most Costco stores in the eastern US also have it in stock. It is very good (if you like really sharp cheddar) and is priced at $5.79/lb., which is an excellent price for a cheddar aged this long. The general rule is the longer the aging, the higher the price.

                                                    Since several people here have recommended Cabot, I would point out that the Cabot cheese cooperative in Vermont produces a wide range of cheddars, from several sold primarily in supermarkets to better and more aged block cheddars (such as the 3-yr. one) to its award-winning bandaged cheddar available in top cheese shops. This last-named cheddar, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, won best in show at the prestigious American Cheese Society annual competition several years ago.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                      I occasionally see the sharp Cabot at my CostCo in San Diego county--agree, good stuff (altho' Mr. Pine is determined to try to slice it thin, silly man).

                                                    2. Cabot is fine with me. Never tasted Tillamook or seen it in the neighborhood food stores.

                                                      1. FYI, if you're in n area where Cabot is readily available, their butter is worth trying too.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                          Thanks--will have to look for that butter. Altho' I'm currently hooked on Beurre D'Isigny (Isogny Ste Mere). But at $5. for 8 ozs, a treat, not a staple.

                                                          1. re: pine time

                                                            I like the imported stuff too; I'll sometimes get Kerrygold for taste's sake. But as you say, it's expensive. When I buy domestic, I've found the Cabot to be pretty close in price to the others and a bit superior in flavor. There's a brand out of Maine which I've been meaning to try that's cultured and might be more like the European butters. Don't remember the name at the moment, but it's been in the supermarket cases around here.

                                                        2. Our family's favorite is Cabot extra sharp white cheddar. Tasty, melts beautifully, and inexpensive.

                                                          1. We live in PA. Our local grocery store Redner's has their own Extra Sharp Cheddar. People always ask what kind of cheese it is everytime I serve it.

                                                            1. Results of a national brands taste test. However, they don't list all the brands they tasted, only the winners. Also, it's from 2003. Still , there it is if anyone feels like checking it out.

                                                              http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/t...

                                                              1. Yesterday, I was in my local Whole Foods and picked up a block of white cheddar for only $2.99 a pound. Hell, I didn't think Whole Foods sold anything for $2.99! Turns out it's Tillamook and pretty darn good.

                                                                http://burghfeeding.blogspot.com/