Unlike some British cheese names, the name Cheddar is not government controlled or protected. This means that Cheddar is open to international imitation and interpretation.
Fortunately Montgomery’s, Keen’s and Westcombe, three British farms producing Cheddar using the old traditional method, joined together to create an Artisan Somerset Cheddar British Slow Food Presidium, a local project dedicated to preserving the production heritage of artisan foods. Among other requirements for Artisan Cheddar, it must be made by hand from unpasteurized milk from the farm’s cattle which feed only on the grasses and grains grown on the farm. The set curds are wrapped in lard and cloth, never plastic, allowing the cheese to breathe and take on the terroir of its origin.
We can always find our favorite Montgomery’s Mature Cheddar at the cheese counter at Di Bruno Brothers in Philadelphia. Matured for 12 months, the flavor is grassy, nutty and herbal and is the kind of crumbly cheddar that you slowly let melt in your mouth to really appreciate.
As a pairing, DiBruno’s recommends apples and walnuts and an IPA beer (India Pale Ale).