Friday, December 21, 2007

Cheese of the Month December: Linkwater Cheddar

With the silly season upon us I thought I should choose a cheese that will sit well on a board next to the traditional dried fruit mince pies and Christmas cakes of the moment. It’s an oddity of living at this end of the world that due to our European heritage we end up eating rich warming cakes and puddings while the mid summer sun beats down on us.

Linkwater Cheddar is a brand created and owned by my employer, Moore Wilson’s. The cheese is produced in industrial blocks like almost all cheddar in this country, however unlike most cheddar we aged the cheese for at least 3 years, our current stock sitting at about 3 and a ½ years old.

With this level of aging the cheese develops crunchy ‘eyes’ where minerals and lactose crystallise into salty deposits. The cheese is rich, savoury and almost meaty while also being sharp and tangy.

I have enjoyed linkwater with strong bitters, old ales and imperial stout, for the photo above I cracked a bottle of Thomas Hardy’s Ale. The fortified vinous fruit flavours contrasted with the richness of the cheese and matched the Christmas Mince pie perfectly.


Stu as "Stu" said...

Nice timing. nice to learn a little more about this. Fritha brought a 1.4kg block home yesterday, with the rest of our christmas supplies. Myself, Fritha, Sam (Ratebeer's 'TheGrandMaster') and his wife Anna all tucked in to it with some Bordeaux baguette, garlic stuffed olives and tomoatoes. Nursing hangovers, after a very animated Friday-night session, we didn't match it with any beers. There's plenty left though...

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested if you knew a UK cheese comparable to this one as it sounds like a cracker!

I'm currently enjoying a cheddar that has been smoked with apple wood it's amazing

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

Proper unpasturised Sommerset Cheddar is a revelation and one of the finest types of cheese in the world, we have a fantastic traditional cheddar made in NZ by Barry's Bay Cheeses. The Linkwater is a mass produced product but the level of aging means its the best mass produced cheddar I have ever tasted.

We have an imported Applewood Cheddar from Ilchester, its unfortunitly a heavily processed product which is flavoured with smoke essence and coloured with dye and paprika. Very popular tho.

We used to get a proper Oak Smoked Farmhouse cheddar imported from England, it was awesome.