Sunday, November 22, 2015

Exotic/Disgusting Foods and Beverages Forum--Australian Crocodile Cheese

     Okay, I was being a little sneaky with this title.  As everybody probably knows, crocodiles, and other reptiles, do not suckle their young.  And if they did, man, that would be quite a dangerous trick to milk them!  What I did have was cheese made in Australia, from cow's milk, called Old Croc Extra Sharp Cheddar.
     According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, cheddar is the most popular kind of cheese in the world, and the most studied cheese.  It takes its name from the English village in Somerset where it originated.  When it was initially developed isn't conclusively known, but there are good historic records of it being around since at least 1170 A.D.  Some researchers think that the Romans brought the recipe in, by way of France.  The caves in the Cheddar Gorge provide excellent cheese-aging storage areas.  Flash forward to the 19th century, when Joseph Harding revolutionized cheddar production.  Through the use of his new time-saving revolving breaker to cut the curds, and other technological innovations, Harding was able to modernize and standardize cheddar cheese.  Which is why he's known as the "Father of Cheddar Cheese."  This cheese type also got a boost during World War II.  Because of rationing, most of the milk produced during this time was earmarked for "Government Cheddar."
     Cheddar is usually an off-white, to yellow, to orangish color.  It's usually designated as a hard cheese.  One of the common flavorings for it is annetto, which provides a sweeter, nutty tinge to it.  The word(s) "sharp" and "extra sharp" are often used to describe it, and these mean the cheese has a more acidic taste.
     The Old Croc cheese I got boasts that it is GMO-free, all natural, and aged for 18 months.  The logo has a crocodile, of course, and the tagline "Careful.  It Bites!"  As it turns out, Old Croc is doing a bang-up job of exporting--this brand is available all across the U.S., for example.
     Anyway, as advertised, the cheese was sharp, with a nicely sourish flavor.  It was good.  Maybe not the best cheddar I've ever had, but certainly far from the worst (and in my cheese-crazy opinion, even the "worst" cheddar, or any type of cheese, for that matter, is still at least decent).  The seven ounce block I got was about $5--a tad expensive, but not ridiculous.  I will probably buy it again, and would recommend it to others.
     Finally, if you have a mind to get the record for making the world's biggest block of cheddar cheese, better get milking.  The current holder is a 36,850 pound (25,790 kilo) monster made by cheese makers in Oregon, U.S.A. in 1989.
     Also, the story I mentioned a couple of weeks ago was accepted for the "A Thousand Tiny Knives" charity anthology from KnightWatch Press.  I'll provide more details when I get them.

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