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.

montgomerys-cheddar-cheese-by-cheesechatter-january-2011Montgomery’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).

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