Clash Of The Titans
We often have people coming into the shop asking for ‘our strongest cheddar’, and to be honest in that situation there is one cheese that we tend to default to: Keen’s Extra Mature.
Our general feeling is that this cheddar - above all - has the punchy quality that people are generally looking for when they talk about ‘strong’ cheddar.
But … it occurred to me the other day that another cheddar is in danger of being sidelined. Because Quicke’s Vintage is matured for the same amount of time - at least two years. It seemed like it was time to put that cheese back in the spotlight and, in fact, to compare them, one against another.
A Clash Of The Cheddar Titans.
It was interesting! We all tried them both, and I also sought opinions from a few other people. On one level, it did confirm what we’d already thought - the advice we’d been giving to shop customers - that Keen’s Extra Mature is our ‘strongest’ traditional cheddar. That sharp, acidic kick at the back of the throat - this cheese most definitely has it. Whereas the Quicke’s doesn’t really do that.
It more than makes up for it with a huge, rounded savoury flavour. In fact, if by ‘strength’ people meant a big flavour / quantity of flavour / amount of flavour, then the Quickes would probably win. And perhaps the acidic kick being so dominant in the Keen’s means that its other dimensions are a little bit obscured.
And for what it’s worth, whilst we’re by no means scared of strong cheese here, amongst my ‘tasting panel’ the Quickes came out top. People acknowledged that Keens won on 'strength' alone, but appreciated the extra qualities, perhaps the extra complexity, of the Quickes.
What have we learned? That perhaps the ‘strong cheddar seekers’ ought to be offered a choice of the two. It might just cause them to re-think what strength means in cheese. They might not. But they might!
Judge For Yourself!
We've now created a box called Clash Of The Titans. If you're a cheddar fiend - or if you know one - then here's the opportunity to compare these two mighty, twenty-four month matured beauties. Which is your favourite?
I don't know which you'll prefer, but one thing I am sure about: you'll be amazed how different they are!
Photos: Top, Mary Quicke, the two cheddars, and George Keen. Bottom, Keens Extra Mature, our Clash Of The Titans box, and Quicke's Vintage.