Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cabot Clothbound Cheddar

For my Di Bruno Bros. column this week, I write about Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, a beautiful mummy of a cheese from Vermont. It's bandaged in cloth and "larded," then cave-aged -- like an Egyptian pharaoh. Whenever I eat clothbound cheddar, my mind flashes to the mummified cats on display at the Penn Museum. 

Sorry, that's a bit ghoulish, but I do find it fascinating that cheesemakers adopted this method of preservation to create wildly flavorful cheeses. This one smells like the woods and tastes like a thousand things. If you want to read about it and try a little clothbound cheddar tasting (highly advised around Halloween), you'll find all the info over on the Di Bruno Blog, where I post twice a month to earn my cheese allowance.

If you're a cheddar head with lofty aspirations of understanding this tricksy style of cheesemaking, check out The Cheese Chronicles, by Liz Thorpe. She writes beautifully and thoughtfully about cheddar in her chapter on "The Amish: Seeking the Roots of American Cheese" (pp. 90-123). I reread it over a nibble of Cabot Clothbound, and as always I fell under Thorpe's spell. She talks about cheddar the way some people talk about craft beer -- with reverence, pop, and understanding.

If you want more juicy backstory about Cabot Creamery and how Vermont became a cheese mecca, listen to Ann Saxelby's interview with Paul Kindstedt on "Cutting the Curd," a Brooklyn radio show all about cheese. Kinstedt has trained many American cheesemakers and is a sort of Gandalf figure in the American farmstead cheese movement. His take on the Vermont cheese scene is fascinating, and you'll enjoy Ann Saxelby's gently probing Midwestern twang. 


  1. I specifically came back to Vermont to help with flood relief and to search out and consume as much of this fabulous cheese I first tried at a shop in Newport, RI. The wine pairings alone are staggering with this full bodied fromage you have created. SUPERB! PS and I want to thank you at Cabot for your donations to our volunteer/family meals we served here in Waterbury. Ie; see Waterbury Record, current issue-Sept 29th, page 19 online. Keep up the good work Cabot and farm families! Chips Hanson

  2. Apache, your reverence for Cabot is much appreciated. I didn't create this cheese though, my sweet. I just photographed it and described it. I don't work for Cabot. Like you, I just worship them from a distance.

  3. And what a photograph. Gorgeousness, Fromage.

  4. Since you turned me on to this cheese I have loved it and introduced many others to it as well...almost universal appeal. Thank you!!! It is the best Cheddar I have had since my last visit to Edinburgh!

  5. Thank you, thank you! The farm families who own Cabot appreciate your kind words :-)