The Fine Art of Aging
A Delicate Balance
A classic Cheddar is nothing short of a masterpiece. It requires years of experience and a unique and rare skillset to be able to create a fine aged cheddar cheese.
The aging process can take anywhere from one to five years and cannot be rushed or simulated.
All of our hard cheddars at Black Diamond have gone through a time-tested and perfected natural aging process. With each passing year the cheese matures, developing new textures and appearances, complemented by changes in flavor and aroma.
Early Stages: Mild
All Cheddars begin mild. If you begin the aging process with a less-than-perfect cheese, no amount of time will improve the flavor or yield the desired results.
Black Diamond mild Cheddar contains the perfect balance of milk fat and moisture to give it a smooth taste and texture. A good mild Cheddar should have no cracks, pinholes or breaks.
With aging, the mild Cheddar develops into a medium Cheddar. This maturity brings on a hint of the sharpness that makes aged Cheddars well worth the wait.
As the months pass, the cheese begins to lose moisture giving the once mild Cheddar a drier look and feel.
Most importantly, the cheese develops a “bite” in the taste. This is the sharpness emerging throughout the aging process. This signature taste comes from increased levels of salt and acids that naturally come with aging.
At around 12 months of aging, the sharpness becomes very noticeable. This is the time when we package our Black Diamond Reserve Cheddar. Another year down the road, when the bite begins to overtake the original mild flavor, you have our Black Diamond Premium Reserve Cheddar.
Even after two years, there is still much more to come…
A Work of Art
Cheese connoisseurs usually consider the oldest Cheddars to be the best and truest representations of a cheese maker’s talent.
After 3 full years of aging, Black Diamond Cheddar becomes increasingly more salty, dry and crumbly in texture. The taste becomes much more complex, enhancing the sharpness, and giving us the Grand Reserve 3 Year Cheddar.
The passing years eventually mature our Cheddar into the Mature Reserve 4 Year Cheddar and the Vintage Reserve 5 Year Cheddar; our two finest aged Cheddar cheeses.
Despite the extra aging, a perfect Cheddar will retain a creamy body and fresh aroma to clear the palate.
After trying our aged cheeses, we know that you will agree that all of our Cheddars here at Black Diamond are truly a work of art.