Druck's Cheddar display at the Augusta, GA Earth Fare.

Druck’s Cheddar display at the Augusta, GA Earth Fare.

Though simple in appearance, Druck’s Cheddar packs an exquisite progression of flavor which distinguishes it from many of its counterparts. Produced by the York Valley Cheese Company Inc, Druck’s Cheddar is carefully crafted using all-natural whole milk by a Wisconsin “cheese maker whose highly developed techniques and superb skills have been passed down through generations of gourmet cheese makers”. The company has been curing sharp cheeses since 1925 and they have certainly mastered their craft. Sold in select markets offering quality cheeses, this Cheddar can be found locally at the Augusta Earth Fare and is currently on sale for $9.99/lb (regular $12.99/lb). A purchase of this cheese will be well worth the extremely reasonable sale price. With each bite you can expect a progression of flavor, starting with an immediate “tang” which gives way to the creamy texture and body of the cheese. Concluding each mouthful, a familiar sharpness (possessed by many cheddars) makes itself known, but does not demand attention. While there is a hint of saltiness to the cheese, it is by no means the predominant tasting note, but rather a well tuned compliment. The deep navy blue/black rind creates a nice visual contrast for the cheese, giving it more character or ‘life’ than if no rind were present. In regards to life, the flavor of some cheese actually opens up after it is allowed to ‘breathe’ and come to room temperature. This just happens to be such an example. The full flavor of Druck’s Cheddar is best experienced once the cheese has slightly warmed to room temperature. The wedge still holds together nicely, but the full effect of it’s flavor can be better appreciated than if it were tasted directly out of a chilled environment.

The cheddar sliced with visible black/blue rind.

The cheddar sliced with visible black/blue rind.

Fitting nicely on any of your favorite cold or hot sandwiches, this cheddar will add a tangy pop that you are not likely to forget. Yet, with its strong flavor profile, Druck’s can also stand strongly alone or with other bites on a charcuterie plate. This is certainly a crowd-pleaser sure to impress any guests you might have over – especially if there is dark chocolate with sea salt somewhere close by! It truly is a multifaceted cheese that you can be creative with.

In terms of drink pairings, something a bit smoother and richer is in order. Joe, the Earth Fare cheesemonger and head of specialty, suggested that a brown ale or something full-bodied would “hold up nicely with the cheese”. The Cooter Brown American Brown Ale from Jekyll Brewing was the top suggestion from his inventory. Sourced locally out of Alpharetta, GA, you can take home a 6-pack for under 10$ which is rather reasonable from a craft brewery. Other beer suggestions would be either a hearty stout or porter. However, if you are in the mood for red or white wine to match the full-bodied flavor of this cheese, a rich Cabernet or oaky Chardonnay would certainly do the trick.

Smooth and simple beer to pair with the cheddar.

Smooth and simple beer to pair with the cheddar.

All in all, this is a well rounded cheese that should certainly find its way into your grocery cart. The journey of flavors is sure to leave a lasting impression and make this a concrete ‘go-to’ whenever you are in the mood for a fantastic cheese. York Valley has done an admirable job and I am sure they will continue to do so as long as people desire good cheese. Eat, drink, and be merry! Cheers!