For me, a good cheese is one of the things which makes life well worth living, and I will scrabble on my hands and knees (well almost!) through a supermarket, valiantly hunting for a good block of the yellow stuff thatís strong and mature enough to make my eyebrows explode and my toenails vibrate.
Cathedral City Mature Cheddar has, if my sense of recall hasnít completely shuffled off its mortal coil, been on our supermarket shelves since around 1995-ish. The pack is a dark reddish/brownish colour and has a freshness re-seal feature on the top. Turn the pack over, and you will find all of the nutritional information, dietary/allergy advice, storage instructions etc.
The cheese has a rich and creamy texture, with what to me is only a moderately strong punch - the flavour being slightly nutty, and mellow rather than mature. Compared to some other cheddars, the colour is fairly pale, and I canít say that on opening the pack, I get that powerful stinky feet odour which to me is the hallmark of a supremely good and powerful cheese. As far as slicing and grating is concerned, I find the texture to be a strange combination of waxy and creamy, yet simultaneously crumbly.
When trying a cheese for the first time, my method of sampling is to take a sharp knife and cut a thin sliver from the block, place the sliver in my mouth, and wait a few moments to see if thereís any kickback, before I gobble it into oblivion. When I first performed this initial taste test with Cathedral City Mature Cheddar, I found the flavour to be a fair bit blander than I like. I also wasnít too keen on the waxy texture, as I prefer my cheese to be very firmÖ..bordering on dry, as opposed to pliable and creamy.
Iíve tried Cathedral City Mature Cheddar in several different dishes and recipes, and when melted, I find it a fair bit greasier than some other cheeses. Once when I made cheese on toast with this product, the grease emission was so copious, that the finished result was exactly like fried bread!
For me, the best way to eat this cheese is to cut off a solid lump and just eat it straight, as it is, with no accompaniment. Even then, I still find the flavour packs no punches for me, and even bearing in mind it is no.4 on the strength scale, Iíve had other brands of cheddar classified at no.3 which have been much tastier and stronger than this brand.
I suppose when allís said and done, this is a reasonable cheese for everyday use, but to me itís nothing special and far too greasy when melted/cooked.
I do like the idea of having a freshness re-seal feature on the pack, but I personally find that the cheese keeps for longer if I store it in the fridge in an ordinary plastic bag, just folded over a couple of times to make it reasonably airtight. Also, with every pack Iíve bought of Cathedral City Mature Cheddar, Iíve found that the re-seal always comes undone when itís resting in the fridge Ė maybe Iím doing something wrong, but I canít see how, because the operation of a press-seal function isnít exactly rocket science.
My overall opinion of this cheese is that although it isnít disgusting, and I do buy it occasionally when thereís nothing better available, itís nothing special. What would move it up a few notches in my estimation? A marked flavour boost, and some cutting back on the grease levels. As far as price is concerned, itís pretty much what one would expect of a middle quality brand of cheese. As far as nutrition is concerned, of course itís a good source of both protein and calcium, but the fat content is higher than my usual, preferred brand of cheese that isnít sold anywhere but my local village grocers.