I love cheddar, a good one is a thing of pleasure, a bad one can usually spotted by looking at the label, if it says Made In Wisconsin, it is not Cheddar. You can read me rant on the subject here
I think that cheese is somewhat sacred, who would want a ‘bubble gum’ flavored Edam, or a chocolate Danish Blue? Well today I met my match. A Cheddar infused with caramelized onions. I had no real problem with the concept, I love Cheddar, and I love fried onions. As separate entities I would have been delighted.
Some one had the bright idea of combining both. I had been contemplating opening the Cheddar and for quite a while, but there was an inner voice telling me to leave it alone. Cheese should stand alone, no fixins required. I was less than happy with a Sage Derby, I like sage a lot, I like Derby, but putting them together had me wondering.
I will take you out of the suspense mode. Both the Sage Derby and the Caramelized Onion Cheddar failed to meet expectations. As a herb I am a huge fan of sage. As a vegetable I am a huge fan of onions. Equally I am a huge fan of cheese, however when you start to combine them, I feel that every component loses.
The sage lost its flavor in the Derby, but managed to impart a rather dry and musty flavor. This is not a cheese that I would recommend.
The Cheddar and Onion was also a disappointment. The Cheddar had lost its texture and had become almost spreadable. The onions served to add a layer of sweetness that I am not sure that I like. It seemed like a waste of good cheese. Possibly I am wrong, maybe the flavor and texture profile is better when eaten early. The mistake might be that I allowed it to age for several months.
All in all I think I will stick to my basic rule of cheese does not need enhancements during the manufacturing process. Cheddar and onions are made for each other. A slab of cheese and a couple of pickled onions is heaven (oh not the cocktail onions, the ones pickled in malt vinegar). Alternatively put a twist on the kids staple the Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Dump the Velveeta and replace it with cheddar, add some very thin slices of onion and make it just like you do for the kids. This is one yummy sandwich. I have not played with the concept, but it is my guess that with good bread and a panini press you could make a showstopper of a sandwich.
Both of these products are available from iGourmet, while I am not hugely enthusiastic about them maybe you might be.