The Great Cheddar Taste Off

The Great Cheddar Taste Off

One of the things we missed most after moving to Berlin was a true Wisconsin staple: sharp cheddar cheese. Many of the cheeses here are soft and mild, like gouda, camembert, and butterkäse. So we set ourselves a challenge to find the best sharp cheddar. We collected cheeses from various grocery and specialty stores, and invited over our friends Rachel and David for a blind taste test.

The venue
The venue

Here were the contenders:

  • Cathedral City. One of the most popular cheese brand in the UK. We picked this one up at Kaisers.
  • Rewe. The generic brand from our nearby grocery store.
  • Orkney. An award winning cheese from Scotland, kindly brought to us by Rachel.
  • Keens. Another Scottish cheese. We got this at KaDeWe, a huge and pricey specialty store in the heart of Berlin’s shopping scene.
  • Isle of Mull. A traditional artisan farmhouse cheese, also from KaDeWe.
  • Whisky cheese. Yet another interesting find from KaDeWe.
  • Kerrygold. A easy-to-find cheddar from Real, one of the few one-stop-shop options in Berlin.
  • Tesco. A generic brand cheese from a store that’s everywhere in the UK, also from Rachel.
Cheese flags courtesy of Katarina
Cheese flags courtesy of Katarina

We cut up the cheeses, poured the wine, and got started with the tasting.

Everything is ready for an evening of delicious wine and cheese tasting.
Everything is ready for an evening of delicious wine and cheese tasting.

Here are a few excerpts from our expert notes:

“Lots of flavor, slightly crumble, white.”

“Not cheddary”

“Orange, smooshy, a bit sharp, meh”

“Classic cheddar. Quite good.”

“Very fruity. Pineapple. Why?”

“Nice consistency, not too sharp.”

“A little melty, not too good, eh?”

I think I really captured the essence of the cheeses.
I think I really captured the essence of the cheeses.

As you can see, we have a very refined palate.

Next up was the voting. And here are the winners:

  1. Cathedral city
  2. Rewe
  3. Tesco
  4. Kerrygold
  5. Orkney
  6. Isle of Mull
  7. Keens
  8. Whisky

Surprisingly, the cheeses we liked best are actually the easiest to get – 3 of our top 4 are the generic brand or always in stock at our local grocery stores. Conversely, the three “fancy” cheeses from KaDeWe were at the bottom of our ranking. The common Scottish cheeses made a strong showing in the middle of the pack.

Rachel, David, and Katarina. We do have friends!
Rachel, David, and Katarina. We do have friends!

It goes to show that sometimes the best things in life aren’t the most expensive or the hardest to get. At least with cheese. Now we make sure to stock up on Cathedral City when we shop at Kaisers.

But, then again, nothing beats a Wisconsin cheddar.

Colin

 

One thought on “The Great Cheddar Taste Off

  1. Ahem!

    Ask your spouse about the merits of the cheese she sampled when I took my mother and my senior brood “offroading” to Cheddar Gorge.

    REAL Cheddar cheese is NOT yellow and us NOT made in Scotland, Wisconsin, or Ireland. If you and Katie elect to join us in Lonon in January, I will send you back to Berlin with a hefty chunk of the genuine article.

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