Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

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nisiprius
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Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by nisiprius » Wed Sep 07, 2016 5:04 pm

A few years ago, any supermarket with a decent cheese section had 5-year-old or older cheese, cheddar and otherwise. Black wrappers or wax or whatever it was signaled the oldest change and it was usually 5 years or more. Lately, Cabot cheddar wrapped in black says it is "aged 3 years," and a fairly diligent search through a local highfalutin supermarket with a big cheese assortment failed to turn up any cheese at all, domestic or imported, that was more than 3 years old.

I know it's not impossible--we scored some 15-year-old cheddar at a farmer's market, and it was really good--but it used to be easy, and now it's difficult. Maybe it's regional? (I live in the New England area).

Anyone know what's happening? Casual Googling not only fails to turn up anything about a cheese shortage; in fact, WSJ says, Google on exact title and click on first hit, "A Cheese Glut Is Overtaking America."
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Johnora
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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by Johnora » Wed Sep 07, 2016 5:17 pm

If there is a cheese glut maybe it is quick and substandard cheese. Out here in Idaho we kind of live in cheese country and close to other areas where great cheeses are made but very limited on finding a 3 year cheddar, in fact I only know of one right now at our local Co-Op and it is a Tillamook 3 year cheddar out of Oregon and it is amazing. Also nice to get the oldest Beecher's cheese out of Seattle when possible too, not their most popular one they sell at Costco but their harder to find older cheddar. Not many choices when it comes to really well aged cheddars and I am always looking as well.

I just don't think it is the price point and sales area most are trying to get in on.

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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by rooms222 » Wed Sep 07, 2016 5:18 pm

Sam's Club in the US has Black Diamond 4 year old available. In Canada, Black Diamond has become mostly a lesser everyday brand while the Balderson's brand owned by the same people has become the main brand at Costco Canada.


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blueblock
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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by blueblock » Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:08 pm

Will 10-year old cheddar do? (It ain't cheap!)

https://www.amazon.com/Widmers-10-Year- ... 2MB202WQ1D

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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by Volkdancer » Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:24 pm

One has to understand the time value of cheese, i.e., the fact that the fromagier has a considerable investment in the making and the aging that will not be recovered until a future date is obtained. Aged cheeses have high loss of opportunity costs. Have a conversation with one of the cheese vendors at one of the many farmers' markets in the greater Boston area.

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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by whaleknives » Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:02 pm

I think it's the price. 10-year cheddar ($23/lb) can be more than twice as much as uncooked boneless ribeye steak ($9/lb). Of course, you don't have to cook it.
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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by Teague » Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:30 pm

I guess my simplistic reply would be "market forces" but I don't know any more detail than that, so that was pretty useless I suppose.

Intuitively it seems similar to how there's little consumer demand for high-fidelity audio or good photography nowadays - witness poor quality MP3s and crappy cell phone pics being all the rage. (I know there can be good cell phone pics and good quality MP3s, but those are exceptions.)

Quick-and-dirty continues to gain ground over patience and attention to detail. But of course that brings us back to the original question - Why?
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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by TimDex » Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:42 pm

Well if you want to pay $180 for a ten pound hunk of three year old cheddar here's the Baldersons place in Canada. Actually I think I might! Love good cheddar like homer loves donuts. Tim

http://baldersonvillagecheese.com/balde ... ritage.php
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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by livesoft » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:19 pm

I'll guess that biotechnology has sped up the aging process, so that what used to take 5-years, now takes 3-years or less. Chymosin is old news.
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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by whodidntante » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:41 pm

There is a guy here named cheesebreath. This may be his moment to shine.

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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by Dottie57 » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:35 pm

Widmer's Cheese cellars has 4 and 6 year old cheddar. Mmmmm. Gooood stuff.

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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by letsgobobby » Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:53 am

You can buy tins of Cougar Gold cheese and keep them yourself for years.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cougar_Gold_cheese

Though vacuum packed and sealed, they still mature in the tin and people have kept them for as long a quarter century.

https://news.wsu.edu/2010/08/14/oldest- ... ill-tasty/

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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by daveydoo » Thu Sep 08, 2016 1:42 am

Volkdancer wrote:One has to understand the time value of cheese


Adding this to my Letter of Instruction

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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by jdb » Thu Sep 08, 2016 8:27 am

Probably supply and demand. I acquired taste for aged cheeses many years ago when father would regularly bring home cheddar wheels for our family of seven from cheese factories in our area of western Wisconsin. But have developed preference for milder cheeses sold at Costco and Whole Foods. Recently friend who visited the cheese state brought me as gift an 8 year old aged cheddar, but way too sharp for our current tastes, quietly discarded most of it, sorry to say. Reminded me of time I bought a cask strength bottle of my favorite Bourbon, there is a reason distillers dilute barrel whiskey with water before selling. Though there is a small but devoted group of fans of cask strength Bourbon, just hope none of them give me one as a gift. Good luck on your search.

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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by campy2010 » Thu Sep 08, 2016 8:40 am

Whole Foods is all over New England and has plenty of options and decent prices, especially when items go on sale. Vermont has a booming craft cheese industry, but maybe not for cheddar. If you feel like traveling try Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, MA - a little pricey but it is a cheese lovers dream.


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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by Flora » Thu Sep 08, 2016 8:48 am

Try Hook's Cheddar from Mineral Point, Wisconsin.

Orders require a minimum of 5 pounds:

http://www.hookscheese.com

http://www.hookscheese.com/cheese%20descriptions.html

http://www.hookscheese.com/purchase.html

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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by travelnut11 » Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:33 am

Carr Valley Cheese is my favorite local dairy:

http://www.carrvalleycheese.com/index.p ... cts.search
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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by WiscoTrout » Thu Sep 08, 2016 10:52 am

+1 for Hook's out of Mineral Point, Wisconsin. They have a range of cheddars up to 15 years (even had a limited supply of 20 at one point). However, I find 3-5 is the best balance of flavor and texture. After that they get a bit too crumbly and sharp for my tastes.

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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by nisiprius » Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:03 pm

Flora wrote:Try Hook's Cheddar from Mineral Point, Wisconsin.

Orders require a minimum of 5 pounds:

http://www.hookscheese.com

http://www.hookscheese.com/cheese%20descriptions.html

http://www.hookscheese.com/purchase.html
Cool. Actually the farmer's market we were at was in Madison, Wisconsin, and the 15-year-old cheddar we bought was Hook's!
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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:49 pm

Supermarket shelf space is highly competitive these days. Stores don't want to waste space on products that don't move quickly and generate good revenue. Basically, if they could make money with aged cheddar in the dairy aisle, they'd probably stock it.

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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by anonenigma » Sat Sep 10, 2016 4:00 pm

After reading this thread, I checked the weekly ad from Bristol Farms, an unspeakably expensive small grocery chain here in Southern California. They had 4 year old Black Diamond white cheddar for $10.49 per pound. When I went to the store, it turned out to be the 5 year old for that price. Yay. They also had a chipotle cheddar by Sartori, a very good artisan producer, for $12.99 a pound - $5 off. I tasted it, and it was great. Thanks, Bogleheads, for making me think cheddar!

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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by anonenigma » Sun Dec 11, 2016 2:28 pm

In Southern California, Trader Joe's now carries five-year-old Black Diamond Cheddar for $9.99 per pound. Tasty stuff at a very good price. Where does it stand in your pantheon of cheddars?

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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by Atilla » Sun Dec 11, 2016 2:44 pm

Our corner store lists the following Cheddar cheeses in stock and ready to buy:

Mild Cheddar
Medium Cheddar
Sharp Cheddar
Sharp White Cheddar
Spotted Cow Marble Cheddar

2 Year-Aged White Cheddar
3-Year Aged Cheddar
4 Year-Aged Cheddar
5 Year-Aged Cheddar
6 Year-Aged Cheddar
7 Year-Aged Cheddar
8- Year Aged Cheddar
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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by slyfox » Sun Dec 11, 2016 4:32 pm

I second the vote on the Trader Joes Black Diamond. They make a roasted garlic and onion jam that is a nice addition to a cheese plate too!

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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Dec 11, 2016 5:12 pm

All I can think of is this: Cheese Shop Sketch
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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by bhsince87 » Sun Dec 11, 2016 6:05 pm

Not sure why you're having a hard time finding it. It's all over the place here in Southern PA. More and more great locally made cheese every year, too.

And yes, you can age it at home. I do (but I also make cheese too, so take that into consideration...)

I have a small wine cooler in my basement dedicated to cheese. Any place with a steady 50-60 F degree temp will work.

If it's waxed, I leave it waxed, unless it's a huge wheel or chunk. If it's vacuum packed in plastic, I take off the existing plastic and seal it in a foodsaver. I'll often cut it into smaller pieces, so I can judge it over time.

As far as online, I buy cheese from these folks every year. Their 5-10 year stuff is great, and relatively inexpensive.


http://www.pinconningcheese.com/index.p ... heese.html
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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by bhsince87 » Sun Dec 11, 2016 6:37 pm

And one other frugal minded tip: I jump on every deal I find on cheese that is about to hit its "best by" date. The exception being cheeses best eaten fresh.
BH87

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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by anonenigma » Sun Dec 11, 2016 7:01 pm

LadyGeek wrote:All I can think of is this: Cheese Shop Sketch


Nice.

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Re: Why is it hard to find >3 year old cheddar nowadays?

Post by Koogie » Sun Dec 11, 2016 7:36 pm

The DW just made fresh paneer cheese this week. It's really quite easy and tastes great (if you like Indian food or are a veggie) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paneer

She actually seasoned it with fresh cilantro right in it this time.

I wouldn't want to try 3 year old paneer though... ;-)

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