Some notes on supermarket cheddars, so i know which ones i like. For reference, and although it's not listed here, the best i've ever had is Co-op own-brand mature cheddar (the one that comes in a brownish-red packet).
The score is supposed to be out of five, but i've been systematically overrating things. The first three columns are a total mess, sorry about that.
|Shop||Brand||Type||Nationality||Alleged Maturity||Tasting Date||Notes||Score|
|Tesco||Carberry||Irish||Mature / 3||?||Bloody awful. Sour, with no richness. Almost like a Cheshire or something. Might just about be okay for toasting, but worthless for eating. EDIT: also hopeless for toasting.||*|
|Tesco||Farmhouse||West Country||Mature / 4 (Rich/Tangy)||?||Pretty good. Sharp, tasty, but lacking developed richness. The sharpness is overpowering in the aftertaste.||***|
|Tesco||Creamfields (Discount Brands)||Mature / 3 (Rich/Creamy)||?||Pretty good. No sharpness at all, but as it says, rich and rather creamy - undercut a little by surprising sweetness. If this had some bite, it would be a solid four.||***½|
|Tesco||Davidstow||Cornish||Mature / 3 (Rich / Creamy)||2009-06-01||Sharp, but not excessively so; has a pronounced sourness which buttresses the sharpness. Offsets the harshness with considerable creaminess, but only middling richness and complexity.||***½|
|Tesco||Canadian||Extra Mature / 4 (Strong/Tasty)||2009-06-01||Creamy, but sharp, with the sharpness overwhelming the fairly weak flavour.||**½|
|Tesco||Ford Farm||Coastal||Dorsetine||"rugged mature"||2009-06-06||Good flavour, modest sharpness, just enough to accent the taste. Quite rich and creamy in the follow-through. Almost textbook. A little soft, though, and could do with more complexity.||****½|
|Pilgrim's Choice||Somerset||Extra Mature / 5||2009-07-06||Creamy, with definite but not excessive sweetness, and very rich. For a mature cheddar, little sharpness; mature cheddars often wildly overdo sharpness, but this one very slightly underdoes it.
2010-09-14: Still the same. Very good.
|Tesco||Mature / 3 (rich / creamy)||2009-07-11||A very middle-of-the-road cheddar: sharpness, some bitterness, little complexity, modest creaminess.||**|
|Kerrygold||Irish||Mature / n (desc)||2009-07-11||Intriguing dryness, a little like a Manchego; manages to have an edge without actually being that sharp. Unremarkable flavour.||***|
|Seriously||Farmy||British||"a rich country character"||2009-08-14||Wasn't impressed at first, but it's really grown on me. A quiet baseline of sweet creaminess, healthy sharpness, and a solid richness, elusive around the mouth||****½|
|Lidl||Valley Spire||British + Irish||Vintage Reserve||2010-03-02||A little nondescript, but hard to fault. Good texture, solid sharpness initially dominates richness, with the balance reversing in the aftertaste. Should toast well.||****|
|Lake District Cheese Co||Cumbrian||Mature (rich & tasty)||2010-04-17||Creamy, rich, not at all sharp - almost like a strong Edam (?!). Really good, but just needs a little more edge.||***½|
|Lidl||Valley Spire||British + Irish||Extra Mature||2010-09-14||Excessively sour. Not a lot else to it.||*½|
|Tesco||Parkham Farm||Farmhouse||West Country||Extra Mature / 5 (strong + tangy)||2010-09-25||Decent. Solid sharpness, a hint of creaminess, some richness, slight sourness in the aftertaste.||***½|
|Tesco||Parkham Farm||Farmhouse||West Country||Mature / 4 (rich + tangy)||2010-10-08||A good all-rounder. Good flavour, with gentle sharpness.||****|
|Tesco||Lake District Cheese Co||Lacustrine||Mature||2011-01-09||Unremarkable. Sharp, bitter aftertaste, no richness or creaminess discernable. Toasting just makes the bitterness more pronounced. They also do an Extra Mature which is only slightly better (forgot to review it).||*½|
|Seriously||Strong||(tangy + savoury)||2011-11-17||Creamy, a little sharp, with a well-developed fruity richness. Very good. Loses much of its interest on toasting.||****|
|Anchor||Extra Mature||2014-08-25||Creamy, just touch a touch of sharpness, halfheartedly savoury, rather flabby. Unobjectionable and forgettable.||***|
|Sainsbury's||Vintage reserve||English||Vintage / 6 (Strong/Powerful)||2016-03-06||Underpowered. No perceptible sharpness or savouriness; a little bitter.||**|
|Marks & Spencer||Cornish Cove||Davidstow||Cornish||Mature / 5 (rich and full flavoured)||2016-03-25||Good! Intensely savoury, with complex flavours below the surface. Comes in a little bitter and leaves a little sour. A hint of crunch.||****|