Monday, December 7, 2009

A Lot Can Happen in 15 Years!

What were you doing in 1994?  It was a pretty exciting year for me.  Tony and Julie Hook had a pretty great year too.  That year, these two Wisconsin cheesemakers made a thousand+ pounds of cheddar that has been aging ever since.  Much like wine, all cheese ages differently.  Some taste great at 6 months or 18 months or even 5 years (delightful aged Gouda anyone?).  It is rare, though, for a cheese to age this long.  Not only is it hard to resist temptation to sell and/or eat it, if there are any weird flavors buried in the cheese, they will become obvious and ruin the cheese.  If everything is perfect, however, it could probably age indefinitely, only getting better with time.

Anyway, while Hook's Cheese Company has a regular 10 year and 12 year cheddar, this 15 year stuff is very rare, on the market for a VERY limited time and is selling for $50 a pound.  If you put money into an investment and waited for 15 years, you'd want a pretty good return too, right?  This cheese sat patiently on a shelf, aging peacefully, getting tested periodically, and not paying attention to much other than making itself tasty.  It aged itself through the dot com bubble, grunge music, a Presidential impeachment, two Iraq wars, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Harry Potter and the iPhone, not to mention the million much more important things that have happened in the last 15 years that I'm not thinking of at the moment.  I can't think of a better collectible to remind me of the rich variety of things that have happened in my life.  A rich, crystallized structure holding the memory of green pastures in a field when the ozone layer was just a little thicker.

While watching cheese age is a bit slower than watching paint dry, with a little help from time lapse photography, you can see how it really does change over time. Check this out!  Even over a year, a lot can happen.  The little core samples are the periodic taste tests.  I love how they fill in the plug after!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to you I'm a recent convert to aged gouda so this looks amazing! I'd pony up for about 4 oz and make it last.