Cheddar’s Little Namesake
Some cheesemongers I know express their lacto love through tattooes. Others name their children after cheeses. If you’ve ever nibbled Montgomery’s Cheddar, a rugged nugget made by Jamie Montgomery of Somerset, England, you might understand why Hunter Fike named his firstborn “James Montgomery,” after the maker.
Hunter Fike, who runs the Italian Market Di Bruno Bros., can be a quiet guy behind the counter, but he is a cheese devotee of the highest order. He planned his honeymoon around cheese so that he could eat Montgomery’s Cheddar at its birthplace, and now he has a little wheel of Montgomery in the family.
This week I finally got to squeeze Baby James. He was the littlest member of our cheese brain trust that met to discuss the progress of the Di Bruno Bros. Cheese Guide. Yes, behind this screen, Yours Truly is working madly to make her deadlines. Hunter is working away, too. He’ll be supplying a set of Cheesemonger Notes for some of the 170 cheeses we’re profiling.
Like Baby James, this book is under a 9-month gestation. When it’s released by Running Press in Spring 2013, the book will be Philadelphia’s first ever cheese guide. It’s been a pleasure to nibble and scribble these few months, but I’m looking forward to handing in the manuscript on July 1 and drinking a big IPA. I’m sure Hunter is, too.
Wondering what all the fuss is about? Pick up a six-pack of IPA, stop by the cheese counter for some Montgomery’s Cheddar, and email me if it isn’t the tastiest combination you’ve ever eaten.
Milk: Raw cow
Origin: Somerset, England
Weird Fact: Jamie Montgomery’s farm is believed to be the original site of Camelot. The cheesemaker owns a pub called, yup, Camelot.
Tasting Notes: Look for brown butter, sweet grass, caramel and cave. This is a milled Cheddar, which means that the curds are passed through a sausage grinder, essentially. The texture is crumbly, like a good biscuit. The rind is wrapped in muslin and smeared with lard. Yum.