January 8th—Fearlessly Archived—Still a fun read; price & availability may have changed.
Trader Joe's Unexpected Cheddar looks like an aged Cheddar. At first bite, it tastes like an aged Cheddar. And then something entirely unexpected happens. The smooth creaminess of the Cheddar gives way to a tangy flavor and slightly crumbly texture, a subtle hint of salt crystallization is discovered, and it begins to taste like an aged Parmesan. Unexpected indeed!
Our cheese makers, based in Wisconsin, have origins in Valdastico, in Italy’' mountainous, Northeastern Veneto region. In this cheese, they've combined the best qualities of hard Italian cheeses like Parmesan with the best qualities of finely crafted American Cheddar and created a semi-hard cheese that pairs well with light red wines (think Pinot Noir) or pale ales. Joined by crusty bread, our Greek Olive Medley, and Dried Turkish Apricots, this cheese is unexpectedly perfect.
As with most cheeses, we suggest letting Unexpected Cheddar breathe at room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to serving. So if you're prepping a platter, unwrap the cheese and resist the temptation to cut right in. Your patience will be rewarded with cheese that really lives up to its flavor potential. And it really is worth the wait.
Anywhere else, its price of $3.99 for each seven ounce piece of this exquisite cheese would be an unexpected value. At Trader Joe's, though, value is one thing you can always expect.