Sunday, December 6, 2009

Quicke's Cheddar - Hurry Up!

Saturday was my quarterly food bonanza in Beverly Hills with my dear friends Man Who Sneers at Goats (Cheese) and the Shopping Queen.  So of course, we went to the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills (and the cupcake store, and the chocolate store...).  That place is crazy!  So many people, and so much cheese all crammed into a little space.  A little claustrophobic, but the cheesy smells kept me from loosing my mind while waiting for our number to be called!  It gave me a little time to snoop around and figure out what I wanted samples of.  Remember - even when it's busy, you are a customer too.  Take your time, ask your questions, get your samples, leave happy.

I decided that Darling Husband needed a little reminder of home, and asked for a nice English Cheddar.  Tony the Cheesemonger brought out this giant half wheel of butter colored goodness.  I could see from the crystalization that it was well aged (turns out it this one is 18 months old).  Look at the crumble!  Made by Mary Quicke and her Devon herd of grass fed cows, this cheese gets wrapped and rubbed with lard to keep it moist while it ages.  And, with many things, this just gets better the longer it sits!  You can still taste the grassy milk, and can almost picture Mary and her team of rosy cheeked cheese makers stirring the milk as it heats, slicing the curd, packing the molds...but the time aging on the shelf give it a nice crunch from the crystals, a great salt, and a hint of caramel.

There is something about a really dry cheddar that is just so satisfying.  Seriously, if this cheese wasn't named for it's creator, I'd think it was because it gets gobbled us right quick!  In desperate need of a snack this afternoon before going to the grocery store, I grabbed Mrs. Quicke's Cheddar from the fridge, chunked it up, munched on a Granny Smith, and was confident in my ability to stick to the list.  Which is important as my cheese budget grows!

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