Cheese is not just a student staple but a human right, an ingredient that can turn the most boring meal into something delicious (if decidedly less healthy). But I often find myself overwhelmed by the huge range of choice available at most supermarkets – do any of them really taste that different? To find out, I did a blind taste test of three mid-range cheddars, all between £2-3.
Option 1 – Cathedral City (£2.55 for 200g)
A very popular choice among students, this was relatively good value although I was interested to see if the taste really lived up to the marketing hype. The overall verdict was that it didn’t – testers thought that it was a relatively flavourless choice, offering little of the acidic depth of flavour you get from a proper cheddar. Others thought it had a waxy texture and tasted a bit artificial, although in its favour they agreed that it was nice and creamy, melted evenly and had a pleasant aftertaste.
Option 2 – Davidstow Mature Cornish Cheddar (£2.79 for 200g)
I chose this one because it had one a gold medal taste award. It definitely had a more interesting and complex flavour, with an initially mellow taste that gave way to a very strong aftertaste. Testers thought it would be good for cooking with but not the kind of thing you would grate on your spag bol. They were also intrigued by the texture, which was drier and a bit crumbly, with some put off by the slightly grainy texture. Personally I liked this, finding it more interesting than the mass-produced option.
Option 3 – Taste the Difference Extra Mature Cheddar (£2.89 for 250g)
This was another interesting option, as the packaging claimed it had been aged – a useful term to remember when using up that drying lump of cheese you had forgotten about at the back of the fridge, you can claim you were leaving it to develop it’s flavour… Luckily this cheese was a lot more appealing than that image suggests, and it definitely had the strongest and most acidic flavour. It was crumbly, “slightly nutty” and had a rounded flavour which definitely grew on you with time. Definitely one for cheese enthusiasts rather than the average student cook, but a good option nonetheless.
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