Who doesn’t love royals? Well, ok, I can think of some folks who don’t, but in my family, there are a lot of fans. I’m talking about British royals, that is. M. Cheesemonger was even in London the day Prince George was born, on July 22, 2013. Now, the prince is one year old, and he’s got his own one-year cheddar to commemorate the occasion.
I like to think I don’t fall for gimmicks, but I will go for good cheese. This one, I must say, is pretty tasty. It was made by the Barber family in Somerset, England, who have been in the cheese making business since 1833. It’s interesting to see long-time family cheese makers like this. They juggle adapting over time, and face changing tastes and technology. The best ones will also maintain the integrity of their cheeses (which their PDO-designated West Country Farmhouse Cheddar can attest to). The Barbers head up a sizeable operation now, with about 2,000 dairy cows (Holstein Friesian) and 3,000 acres of land. At their main plant, they make about 120,000 lbs. of cheddar a day. That’s a lot of cheese, but if it’s all good, then it’s all good.
When I went to fetch the cheese, my local monger suggested pairing it with stone fruit, since they’re in season! I also got some plain La Panzanella crackers, which I like keeping around in case a surprise cheese knocks at the door.
The cheese comes in a fairly nondescript block—I wonder if it comes with a rind that’s been removed by local mongers. In any case, it is a lovely butter yellow, with small eyes throughout. It almost looks crumbly. It smells like cream, butter and toasted almonds in a way that makes me want to melt it onto a sandwich STAT.
Tasting it, the mouthfeel wound up much more creamy than I expected. It actually coats the tongue much more thickly than I thought it would, like a shag rug of cheddar, before slowly dissipating. Flavorwise, I found it super pleasant! There was some sharpness on the front, but not too much, coinciding with a swell of butter and cream. The toasted nut flavor came in as the swell died down, a tasty wave through my mouth.
Nectarines or other stone fruit would go swimmingly with this. Plus, they offer so much color to the cheese plate! I would definitely recommend cooking with this, as it melts well! Maybe toss it on that burger you’re barbecuing this weekend. It’s of medium gooeyness, I’d say, but it has a great well-balanced, full flavor.
Whole Foods Market (all locations!) is selling this goody for a short time, until the supply runs out. It’s only the equivalent of one day’s production, after all.
Thanks, Whole Foods Market, for sharing their cheese with me! Happy cheese hunting, dear readers!