Somerdale Champagne Cheddar
Two weeks ago, a box of Cheddar and Champagne appeared on my stoop. Ordinarily, I would never put these flavors together, but who was I to turn away a complimentary shipment from Whole Foods? PR elves told me the chain was planning to debut this New-Years-ready pairing, and I was curious to sample the latest selection from their esteemed cheese buyer Cathy Strange.
Eager to see how test subjects would react, I cracked into this wax-engulfed wheel and carried a wedge into work to feed my grad students on the last night of our Magazine Writing class. Kidz tore it up. They liked Somerdale’s creamy “Gouda-like consistency” and its ultra fruity finish, though none of them could identify the flavor. No matter. Two of them trotted off into the sleet with leftovers.
Next, I summoned some cheese-loving neighbors. On the night before Christmas Eve, we popped the Champagne (Nicolas Feuillatte Brut) to welcome our Midwestern parents and descended upon a rather unorthodox cheese board. Amid the night’s offerings: a funky robiola wrapped in cabbage leaves, a local blue encased in booze-soaked fig leaves. Which cheese do you expect was devoured first amid the carols and fizz?
All this to say: Somerdale Champagne Cheddar is the party-ready love child Whole Foods anticipates. The paste is luxe and creamy, making it a swell pairing for Champagne. (I lean toward more aged crumbly bums, paired with Scotch, but then — I am a rogue.) The flavors are gently balanced — not sharp or sour, but sweet with a dominant note of apricot.
For New Years or Valentine’s, when the world wants Brie and bubbly, this pairing is a delightful diversion. I suffer just one inner conflict: Somerdale Champagne Cheddar is like a film that’s half in French, half in English. At some point, the combination distracts. This cheese blogger kept stealing crumbs but couldn’t quite reconcile the taste of sweet Champagne swirled into an already perfect style of cheese.
To read a different blogger’s interpretation (and see her cranberry mostarda recipe), check out Lady Gouda.
Disclosure: Somerdale was sent to me as a sample. No other compensation was received. The opinions here belong solely to Madame Fromage.