December 6, 2009

15-Year Cheddar, now available

Every so often I like to run a Google News search for Cheese News and see what comes up. Usually, I'm pleasantly surprised. This morning I learned that Hook's 15-year cheddar is now available. Yes, that's FIFTEEN YEARS. Said another way, they've been aging this cheese since 1994. I know aging like that is pretty typical for a fine spirit, but cheese? That's a completely different story.

I had the privilege of trying their 10-year cheddar last year as part of a swanky Scotch & Cheese Tasting at the Beverly Hills Hotel (see pic below) and it was absolutely divine. Sharp and flavorful, of course, with bonus little crystals that seemed to burst in your month. A bit like Pop rocks meets cheddar. Okay, I exaggerate, but you get the idea (they're actually just crystallized Calcium Lactate).  Oh, and in case you're wondering, it paired exquisitely with the Glenfiddich 30.

At $50/pound, it might be the priciest cheese I've encountered yet. I bet it's well worth it.

That's the 10-year cheddar at 9 o'clock.


  1. How interesting! I think I have had 2 year aged cheddar at the oldest. I have noticed the "crystallized calcium lactate" in some good cheeses before. Now I know what to call it (assuming I just start "dropping" that little tidbit in conversation).

  2. Unfortunately you have it abit wrong. There are a couple of types of crystals that can occur in cheese. The first type is formed from the amino acid tyrosine and is desirable in certain cheeses. Tyrosine crystals typically form in high-protein, long-aged cheeses such as Parmesan and aged Gouda. The second type of crystal is formed when calcium combines with residual lactate to form calcium lactate crystals— which is considered a defect. Calcium lactate crystals are far more common on the surface of certain cheeses, cheddar being the most likely victim.


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