Wednesday, August 15, 2012

On the Road Again: Cheddar Heaven

A recent trip to the West Coast took me to one of the greatest places on earth, the Tillamook Cheese Factory.  Nestled in the beauty of the Oregon Coast, about a hour and a half west from Portland, Tillamook cheese is a dairy lover's dream.  Cheeses, ice creams, fudge and a cafe, follow up an in-depth look at Tillamook's cheese making process and history. Producing cheese for over 100 years leads to greatness and many Tillamook cheese are award winners including its cheddar.

The medium cheddar is naturally aged for 60 days, giving it a firm but still creamy texture.  I love this cheese for everything from sandwiches, cheeseburgers to general snacking or as a party appetizer. The cheddar ranges from the Medium to Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar, aged for 2 years. Tillamook makes multiple flavors besides cheddar designed to appeal to all kinds of palates: Colby, Colby Jack, Pepper Jack, Monterey Jack, Swiss, Muenster, Provolone and even Mozzarella. There are also infused cheeses with peppers and garlic, and my favorite smoked cheeses.  We purchased several loafs, as they are called, with the intention of giving them as gifts and for lunch during the road trip.  

The Smoked Black Pepper White Cheddar stayed in its package for about five minutes.  We didn't make it out of the cafe before having to open it and the crackers.  I enjoy the smoked flavor, the creaminess that coats your palate, followed by a peppery kick.  This goes fantastically with any crunchy cracker or crusty baguette.  Regardless of your cheese preferences, you'll find something you will like!

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