I was recently asked by the folks over at Cabot Cheese in Vermont to review some of their cheddar cheese products, and I gladly accepted. Little did I know, I would be receiving an 11lb box full of cheddar! So what does this mean? Obesity party for all! Well.. not really. In fact, many of the cheeses are surprisingly lean and healthy to my surprise.
What makes Cabot so unique is the fact that they are a co-op, and not a large corporation. The co-op consists of dairy farmers all over Vermont. Each of which owning a share in the company. In Chicago, Tillamook is generally the most widely used higher end cheddar cheese company, so I put Cabot to the test. Cabot’s cheese has a much richer flavor, lighter in fat and calories, and melts much better than Tillamook.
One of the cheeses that really grabbed my attention was the extra light sharp cheddar. As someone who is on a restricted diet and pretty much can’t have a whole lot of cheese, I was shocked to see one whole block of it only had 20g of fat. It’s a cheese I can actually eat! For all you cheese-loving health nuts o out there, try this cheese. I compared it to the regular sharp cheddar, and noticed very little difference in the two.
My favorite cheese of them all was the hot habanero. I made a pan of chicken and cheese enchiladas, using the hot habanero cheddar as the filling and extra sharp white cheddar for the topping. Much to my surprise, the cheese actually tasted like fresh habanero peppers. It had a really nice zip to it. I have never had a pepper cheese before that actually tasted like peppers.
Another interesting cheese was the smoky bacon cheddar. I decided to make a mac and cheese dish with it. The cheese itself has a nice, light smokiness to it, which is strongly accented by the real, actual bacon pieces inside. None of that weird chemically processed junk out of a shaker, this was real bacon. The curing process on the bacon gave it a nice salty taste to perfectly match the cheese.
Cabot’s cheddar cheeses are the best I’ve had, and they are also great paired with wine. I found that the sharp white cheddars paired up very well with a cabernet, while the yellow extra sharp cheddars went well with pinot noir. Of course, I am more of a white wine drinker, so I found all cheeses paired well with a nice chardonnay – especially the smoky bacon and hot habanero cheeses.
Stay tuned over the next couple weeks for some of my homemade recipes using Cabot’s cheddar cheeses, or check out the recipes on their site here.