Isle of Mull cheddar

A hard unpasturised cows-milk cheese, bought from Neals Yard Dairy

This is a wedge of pale yellow cheese – much paler than other cheddars, I think. It’s slightly crumbly and has a pale-white-ish grey rind.

This is very civilised for a cheddar, and does not at all taste like it was brought up in a barn. The dense paste crumbles and melts easily, and there’s a lovely saltiness that reminds me of the sea; a result, I suspect, of this cheese’s island origins.  It tastes sweet and floral, of fermenting fruit, with hints of pepper, and opens out to a salty tang and sweet nuttiness. The rind is thin and brittle, and tastes slightly bitter. Just underneath the rind it’s sweeter and incredibly mellow, and tastes of hazelenuts and cream.

and five bonus cheddars

I attended a talk, a few weeks ago, all about cheddar cheese. It was all-round fascinating, and now I know why parmesan crumbles and gouda bends. It is VERY EXCITING and if you mention it down the pub I’ll squawk on about it at great length.

We were all given little plates with wedges of cheese, to taste as we got to the relevant bits of the talk, and in true cheese-reviewing style I took notes as I nibbled.

Cheese 1: Davidstow mature cheddar (from Tesco)

This is pretty sharp to begin with, with an immediate back-of-throat acidity whick quickly fades and gives way to the sweet taste of room-temperature milk that’s *almost* on the point of going sour. The texture of this cheese is pretty soft and damp – not a lot of crumble – and the taste fades before I’ve finsihed eating it.

Cheese 2: Westcombe cheddar day-old curd

This cheese (is it cheese yet?) squeaky and rubbery, and reasonably bland, since it’s not been salted yet. It’s paler than the other wedges, but still yellow. It’s juicy, with a hint of lactic sourness, and a smidge of lemon, and lots of milkiness.

Cheese 3: Montgomery’s unpasturised cheddar (made 15/09/08)

This is awesome! It’s an all-consuming monster of a cheese, utterly taking over my mouth. This is the cheese verion of My Bloody Valentime playing That Chord. It’s complex and juicy, and tastes of fruit and soil and barnyards. It gets mellower, crumbly, and milder towards the rind, sweet and nutty. I can still taste this cheese five minutes after eating it.

Cheese 4: Montgomery’s pasturised cheddar (made 24/11/08)

This cheese is lacking the world domination ambitions of the last cheese. It’s tangier and more acidic, with very in-your-face pineapple and cherry flavours, a hint of astringency, and lots of crunchy crystals. The rind is sweet and cheerful.

Cheese 5: Westcombe EXPERIMENTAL cheddar (made 21/04/09)

We’re warned that this is adolescent cheddar, and experimental. It tastes salty and slightly farmyard-ish, with an odd bitterness. It’s softer than an adult cheddar, and almost slightly sticky.