Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cheese please, and make mine cheddaar

Two cheeses, both alike in dignity
In my fair house, where we lay our scene...

English on the left, American on the right

 I like cheddar cheese -- it's my fave.  Imagine my state of giddiness when I was in the grocery store and discovered that the fancy English cheese was on sale!  (On sale being 3.5 times more expensive for an ounce less cheese, but it was buy 1 get one free!)  I decided to get it and do a little comparison.  In this case the "fancy English cheese" is being represented by the Pilgrims Choice Londoner Cheddar, and the American by some New York State Extra Sharp (I cut the brand off the package already, my bad.)  Is my version of "fancy English cheese" actually fancy in England?  I wonder.

Now, I am not an expert on cheese, or the cheese-making process.  Just from looking at it you can see a difference in color and texture.  The English, on the left, is much more yellow and has a slightly wet appearance.  It also crumbled more when I cut it.  The American is paler, less moist to the touch, and didn't crumble at all.  It may or may not have something to do with the packaging.  The English was in a nice papery-feeling on the outside but plastic inside wrapper, and the American was vacuum-sealed inside a see-thru plastic one.

According to the wrappers, the English was aged "a minimum of 6 months", and the American for "over 9 months".  Maybe that explains the color and moisture differences?  I don't know.  Just mentioning it in case it does.

Let's compare ingredients, shall we?

English: cultured pasteurized milk, salt, vegetarian rennet.  Contains milk.  Suitable for vegetarians.  --> it really says that on the package.

American: pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, and enzymes. -->no mentions of vegetarians

Pretty similar.  Will they taste different?

Oh yes, they do!  

I fully expected the American to taste stronger -- and no, not just because it is American or because it is made right here in NY.  There is no misdirected patriotism going on here.  The American I bought says it is "extra sharp", so I figured it would be stronger.  Nope!

The English cheese blew it out of the water!  It tastes so much richer, and tangier.  Does everything from England taste better?  I know their chocolate does.  (Don't believe me?  Try some Cadbury chocolate from here, and some from England -- not the same thing at all!)  It makes sense, though.  It did originate there.

This could be a problem.  It's like I have tasted the forbidden fruit by eating this cheese.  I'm going to want it all of the time now, and my budget cannot afford that.  I have eaten the cheese of the gods, and will compare everything to it from now on! 

I may have to set up a cheese budget.

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