Cheese: Pine River Dairy 13-year “Super-Sharp” Cheddar
Where: Manitowac, Wisconsin
Milk: cow, pasteurized
Texture: firm, flaky
Shape: waxed cube, 1lb
Flavor: not particularly sharp, a concentrated rather generic cheddar flavor
This family-run cheese maker manufactures what I call “tourist cheese”. That’s not to denegrate their work (though Montgomery’s Cloth-Bound this is not – not even Tillamook), rather, this is one of many more volume-oriented cheesemakers who make dozens of inexpensive “flavored” cheeses aimed at the tourist trade in America’s Dairyland that is Wisconsin. Think garlic and dill cheese curds.
The flavor is actually pretty mild, lacking the tang of most “very-sharp” cheeses. It also lacks the sweet grassiness and herbal qualities of the best examples. It reminds one a bit of what you might call “cheddar flavoring”. It does have a considerable amount of that crystalline crunch that you expect from most very old cheese.