My battle-scarred ears perked up yesterday when The Man, Chef du jour because The Lady picked up a virus (no doubt a “gift” from one of the rug rats who invades the cheese kiosk because The Lady loves to give them cheese samples and at the same time begins the education of the “next generation of foodies”… but I’m not jealous… nope, not I…), brought out a wedge of Mature Cheddar from the Isle of Man.
In one of my previous lives, I spent a lovely summer on the Isle of Man with the mysterious Domitila who had recently arrived there after her ship, part of the Spanish Armada, had shipwrecked. All the felines took the opportunity to head for dry land and made the island their new homeland… and now you know which came first… the Island of Manx or the Manx cat… but I digress…
In addition to its claim to fame of the stubby tailed or tailless cats, the Isle of Man is home to a small cooperative of dairy farmers that produce award-winning cheeses, one being the Mature Cheddar that The Man used to top the burgers he grilled for lunch.
In 1934 the dairy farmers formed the cooperative that today prospers using superior milk from Holstein-Friesian herds, some as small as 50 head and the largest being 500 head of cattle. The cows graze year-round on lush grasses of the hillsides and valleys and yield milk that is rich and creamy and consistent in flavor.
The Mature Cheddar is aged between 12 and 14 months and won a Silver Medal at the 2009 World Cheese Awards.
As you, my faithful followers know, cheddar is a favorite around the manse and English cheddars are favorites of The Lady and me… and you can add Isle of Man Mature Cheddar to the list of cheddars that I hope will be regulars in the cheese drawer…
This cheese is nutty and sweet with just a bit of saltiness with the sharp after bite quality aged cheddars should possess. In addition to turning a burger into a cheeseburger, later in the day, The Lady made a cheese platter that included freshly baked artisan bread and sliced organic green bell peppers. She also offered a side dollop of Vintner’s Kitchen “Pinot” Colada Jam. The sweetness of jams always compliments the saltiness of cheese and Bob and Barbara at Vintner’s Kitchen offer a splendid array of jams and mustards to accompany your cheeses and other specialty foods. I will be reviewing several of their offerings in the next few weeks… stay tuned.
As for Isle of Man Mature Cheddar, I give it 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Serving Suggestions: Cheddars are the “Utility Player” of cheeses; you can do almost anything with cheddar, even rolling a truckle down a hill when Double Gloucester is not available. The Lady had procured a rather large wedge and I fully expect it to show up in a mac n cheese in the near future. This would make a mean grilled cheese, especially if you add a couple thin slices of Meles meles.
Wine Pairing: The Lady recommends a Cwm Deri Vineyard Mead: Meddeglyn… no doubt a result of watching too many hours of the 2010 Ryder Cup…
Beer Pairing: Timothy Taylor’s Award-Winning Strong Pale Ale, Landlord
Source: Holstein-Friesian Milk