The artisanal block that debuted at Larry's Market in Brown Deer, Wis., is the most expensive cheese the suburban Milwaukee specialty food store has ever stocked, they say. Next week it will debut in tony Beverly Hills, Calif.
"I don't think there's any cheddar out there older than this one that you can actually buy," said John Umhoefer, executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.
"Fifteen years is a good stretch of time to hold a cheddar … . Making a cheddar that ripe, without it turning bitter or acidic, is a rare skill," he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Friday.
The 1,200 pounds of cheddar was produced by Julie and Tony Hook of Mineral Point, Wis., who placed it in airtight plastic at 38 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 years. They kept tabs on its progress by checking a sample block twice a year, the Sentinel said.
And the result is worth the price to Brian Morello of Milwaukee, who bought a 3/4-pound block at Larry's Market.
"Cheese making is an art form," he said. "I consider my purchase to be a form of cheese philanthropy. For $50, I supported the arts and got a great piece of cheese."