Monday, January 18, 2010

Tillamook


Whilst perusing Costco the other day, I found myself, as I often do, pining for some good cheese.  I set out hoping to find some Wensleydale, since my mom had picked some up prior to Christmas.  She had gotten a variety containing cranberries, which was good but a bit too sweet.  No Wensleydale was to be found, and just as I was beginning to feel disappointed, something caught my eye.  That something was a wheel of Tillamook 100th Anniversary extra sharp cheddar, aged three years.  I love Tillamook cheese, and may move to Tillamook when I retire, so finding this was an absolute delight. Not to mention that it has always been a goal of mine to own a wheel of cheese, one bigger than the mini Laughing Cow gouda wheels anyway.  The other great thing about it:  only $12 from Costco while it would set you back $23 plus shipping to order it directly from Tillamook

Well, tonight was the magical night where I cracked open my Tillamook wheel and it is indeed delightful.  First of all, trimming away the casing to get to the cheese proved more challenging than I had anticipated, but thinking I was home free once that feat was accomplished proved erroneous.  Slicing something round with a wire cheese slicer just wasn't going to happen.  I had to resort to the much less elegant knife.  As you may already know, aged cheddar is crumbly, and this crumbled all over.  At this point, however, that was no longer a concern as I had reached the long sought 'putting it in my mouth' portion of the event.  While sharp, it isn't as biting as the Special Reserve Extra Sharp.  It's a little bit creamier with small, almost crunchy bits here and there.  I think it would literally melt in your mouth.  It also has a faint sweetness to it, almost a honey flavor.  I think it would be excellent with some salami or other cured meat.  Quite delicious and I'm considering going back for more before it sells out.  I need to stock my wine cellar with such luxury items for the impending (or so I'm told) disintegration of society.  When the dollar is valueless, gourmet food will be the currency of the day.  But I'm getting off topic - I have to stop talking to Shelvis. 

Anyone wishing to sample the pinnacle of the cheddar making arts needs only to come over and shower me with gifts and compliments, and you must sound sincere.  Or maybe just bring some salami since I don't have any on hand.  I also have some of the blue label Tillamook Vintage White Medium Cheddar which I am quite fond of.  I see there are still several intriguing varieties yet untried.  The black pepper white cheddar and habanero jack sound interesting, but I must try the garlic white cheddar and garlic chili pepper cheddar.  I have yet to see those at the store but will be on the lookout from now on.
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