If Steve Harvey asked his Family Feud contestants to name a type of cheese, no doubt “cheddar” would be the first word off their lips and, for sure, the number one answer on the board. In fact, they may be hard-pressed to name any other. ”Brie” or “Blue” maybe, but “cheddar” would certainly come without a moment of hesitation.
But, for yours truly, cheddar has always been an ‘eh’ kind of cheese. As with most things, I blame my mother. Most of my childhood was spent thinking ‘cheddar’ was a bright orange rectangular brick of ‘Cracker Barrel’ cheese she always had in the fridge, with the brand name emblazoned upon the bright red, shiny wrapper. Who would eat such a thing when ooey, gooey soft and bloomies were available? Why eat that oddly textured and unnatural colored log when one could wolf down unhealthy amounts of blue – also somewhat unnaturally colored, but I didn’t seem to take that into account. I didn’t detest cheddar, mind you, but they always seemed so ‘blah’ in comparison to the fragrant, pungent, powerhouses contained in the cheese cases I came across.
That was until I started working at Artisan Cheese Company where, somehow, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar stole my heart right out from my chest, allowing me to approach cheddars with a new found sense of curiosity and delight. When Flagsheep showed up in the shop I was open and willing to give it a bite.
Perhaps I should have led this article by telling you that Beecher’s Flagsheep Cheddar won Best of Show in the American Cheese Society meeting – known as the championship of cheese. They beat out over 1700 other cheeses – pretty impressive. PS -Why aren’t there more reality shows based on the championship of cheese? Who needs another teen singer? Nobody. Who needs to know about rockstar cheeses? Everybody.
Flagsheep – not the “Flagship” that Beecher’s is best known for – is a mixed milk cheese containing both cow and sheep, hence Flag’sheep.’ But, as Romeo and Juliet would agree, names are dumb. Who cares what you call this cheese, just shove it in your face. With big, bold notes of caramel and an almost fudge-like texture and finish, this cheese will drastically improve your life. Seriously. Chinese people are always putting those little red money envelopes in their wallets to attract wealth. I think Americans should start putting a piece of Flagsheep in with their credit cards to attract abundance, because that’s what Flagsheep does – it attracts everything to it. It’s like a beacon of awesomeness. (Side note – I don’t really know any Chinese people or if they actually put red envelopes in their wallets like my one Feng Shui book suggests, so I could have just made that part up. Regardless, put cheese in your wallet.)
Another cool aspect that sets Beecher’s Flagsheep apart is its muslin wrapping – called clothbound or bandaged. Aged for 18 months or so, this mixed milk cheese has a much rounder flavor than most cow’s milk cheddars thanks to the addition of sheep’s milk giving it a bit more depth and sweetness. And, unlike that aforementioned bright orange brick, Flagsheep has the tendency to fracture along the lines of tiny crystals in the paste when cut, making it not only beautiful to look at, but fun for your mouth as well.
Check out Kira and Louise opening our first wheel! We were so damn excited to eat this beautiful cheddar. It has a luxurious mouth richness, but enough crumbly-ness to not feel like you are eating peanut butter. It’s mild enough to pair with a billion beautiful wines and preserves, but bold enough to stand alone – perfect for cheese boards or just straight up nibbling while standing at your kitchen counter.
Come see us at the shop before it’s all gone!