Originally Posted by jennyema
"Best" is in the mouth of the beholder, eh?
I consider myself a cheese freak and IMO, I agree with Ishbel that the "best" Wisconsin cheddars don't hold a candle to Montgomery cheddar and some other artisanal English cheddars. I also favor Shelburne Farms (VT) as a close second.
I'll be back in MN over the weekend, though, and will try to track down some nice WI cheese to try. But IMO, the notion that the best world class cheese comes from there belies the fact that there are so many incredible cheeses that are made in other parts of the world and can only be imported. WI can't even come close to them because the reason why they are so good is because of where they come from (the climate, what the animals eat, how it is made, etc).
I have to disagree. But only in a unique way.
, I have a freind in the Telecom Industry, Who lives in Marquette, Michigan, who has a brother who lives in Wisconsin. This brother, who I don't know personally, makes an artisanal cheddar that is comperable to any I've tasted anywhere. But he only makes it in amounts too small to be sold comercially. There is world-class cheddar to be found in Wisconsin, if you know where to look.
In addition, most people have very limited availability of fine cheese. If I want good cheese around my neck of the woods, I have to travel into Canada. It's just not available in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan (Sharp Pinconning is the exception, and since being bought out by a larger cheese manufacturer, I would submit that the quality is not as good as it once was).
I have had wonderful cheese produced in Michigan as well, but again, the small cheese producer went out of buisness some years ago. Cheese doesn't have to come from the UK, or France, or Greece to be great. But it must be produced with a care and attention to detail that is unusual for the large cheese producers in the U.S.
This also is true for virtually any food type you want to discuss. I would submit that there are American and Canadian producers of almost any food imaginable who could rival the world's best. I will not say that one product is naturally better because it come from some region. And remember, we all learn to enjoy what we are exposed to. So what is a great cheese to someone in London, might be less than perfect for someone in San Diego, and vice-versa.
Someone stated in this thread that good taste is determined by the person eating the cheese. My favorite cheddar is Balderson 5-year aged Heritatge, but because it's the best that's available to me where I live. It is equaled by that un-named artisan cheddar maker from Wisconsin. But I can't readily obtain it. And Tillamook, well for me it rates poorly by comparison. And yet, to my eldest son, it's the best of cheddar.
Arguing about which cheddar is best is like arguing over who's blueberry's are better. If you like them tart, then you prefer one kind and will say that it's best. If you like them sweet, then you will swear that another variety is best.
And did you know that there are cheddars aged in caves, packed in hay to give the cheese a unique flavor componant? It's true. Adn other producers have their own secrets as to how they age their cheese.
And I will also say that the best cheddar is the one that tastes best to you, whether it comes from Kraft, Tillamook, Balderson, Isle of Mull, or whatever.
And yes, I do love my Colby (similar to Cheddar), but detest Colby-Jack.
Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North