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Cheese of the Week: Grafton Village Cheese Co. 1 Year Aged Cheddar

With National Cheeseburger Day right around the corner (Saturday, September 18), it only feels right that this week's cheese of the week is a cheddar. Grafton Village Cheese Co.'s 1 Year Aged Cheddar is lightly tangy and creamy--perhaps the perfect cheeseburger cheese!

The youngest of Grafton's cheddars, 1 Year Cheddar has classic New England cheddar character. It is nutty and sharp with aromas of juicy apples, butter and fresh grass. It's creamy, sliceable and perfect for melting on top of a sizzling burger or melted into an uber-creamy macaroni and cheese. Despite its young age, its sharp and bright flavors are not masked when it is used in recipes or paired with a glass of vino.

There's nothing like a Vermont cheddar! Founded in 1892 in Grafton, Vermont, The Grafton Cooperative Cheese Company was started by dairy farmers who wanted to create cheese from their excess milk. in 1892, there was no refrigeration, so the farmers wanted to turn their fresh milk into a food product that could be stored for a longer period of time. Today, Grafton still makes their cheese by hand using raw cow's milk from local family farms.

1 Year Cheddar, and all Grafton Village Cheese Co. cheeses, starts with fresh, raw milk delivered from local, family farms. Most of the milk is from Jersey cows, whos milk is known for its high protein and rich butterfat. All milk is tested for antibiotics prior to cheese production.

The milk is heated to begin the cheddaring process. Culture and vegetarian rennet are added to the milk and after 30 minutes, the milk has separated into curds and whey. The curd is cut and stirred and heated for about one hour. The whey is drained from the curds and is used for animal feed and fertilizer.

The curds are cut into slabs, and turned approximately ever 30 minutes for 2-3 hours (this is called the cheddaring process). When the correct acidity level has been reached, the slabs of curds are stacked. The slabs are diced into pieces using a milling machine and salt is added. The curds are then pressed. The next morning, they are moved to an aging cooler. The entire Grafton cheesemaking process excluding aging takes around 5-6 hours.

After 12 months, Grafton's 1 Year Aged Cheddar has developed its signature buttery flavors and a light yellow color. No coloring is ever added to Grafton cheeses. Finally, it is cut, wrapped and waxed by hand. The result is a buttery, creamy and sharp Vermont cheddar!

Grafton's 1 Year Aged Cheddar's rich and buttery flavors go great with fresh, juicy fruits such as grapes and apples. A great melting cheese, it is delicious in almost any recipe! Pair this cheese with medium-bodied wines like Riesling, Beaujolais and Rosé. Anything more intense may mask the flavor of this cheese.


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