Montgomery’s Cheddar: The Cheddar Master
January 21, 2011
Montgomery’s Cheddar is a country beauty with great flavor, inviting aroma and a chewy texture. While cheddar cheese may not seem all that exciting at the cheese shop, Montgomery’s is a benchmark cheddar and should not be missed. My 11-year-old said it best about Montgomery’s: “This is what cheddar cheese should taste like.”
Montgomery’s Cheddar is farmstead produced by Manor Farm in Somerset, England. It is considered a classic example of English farmhouse cheddar, made from raw cow’s milk. Manor Farm hews to tradition when making Montgomery’s and uses a “peg mill” to cut the cheese curds. This technique affects the cheese’s texture and creates its characteristic fissures. Cheeses are aged 12-14 months before release and may age further with affineur, Neal’s Yard Dairy.
Montgomery’s is a quiet beauty. Its rind is embossed with the tight weave of its traditional cloth wrap. The rind looks like paint-brushed canvas with a palette of soft burgundy, caramel, gold, deep green, gray, and beige. The interior paste is a rich yellow, darkening to butterscotch near the rind. The paste is fissured, dry and smooth.
Montgomery’s has an inviting aroma. The interior paste smells like a meadow of rich soil, flowers, grass and herbs. Its rind smells like roasted peanuts.
Montgomery’s Cheddar has complex flavor: it is sour, tangy, fruity and nutty. There is a compelling fruitiness to this cheese that gives it balance and a full flavor. The cheese ends tangy, but its tanginess is not overwhelming or dominant. Even the after-taste of Montgomery’s has complexity, leaving sour fruit and nutty flavors on the tongue.
The cheese has a chewy texture that encourages slow eating. The cheese is prone to breaking along its fissures when slicing with a knife.
Montgomery’s is packed with flavor, yet my kids described it as a “mild” cheddar. Its flavors are very well-balanced and compelling. Montgomery’s makes a happy snacking cheese, could hold its own at a party, or be toted along for an outdoor meal. Montgomery’s Cheddar is a definite re-purchase.
Purchase Notes: We purchased Montgomery’s Cheddar at Cowgirl Creamery (San Francisco).