When my coupons arrived for the latest campaign for Orchard that involved Tesco Finest Cheese, I was excited to see what the range had in store.
My local store however only offered a small selection of the range and with being 4months pregnant I was only able to try the hard cheese as normally I would have gone straight for Tesco's Finest Goat's Cheese.
The first cheese that I opted for was the Smoked Extra Mature Cheddar which I have learned is produced by Wykes Farms in Somerset.
This cheese appealed to me as I am a fan of Applewood and as this promised a similar balance of flavours it was an easy choice.
The cheese is tightly packed and is not resealable, one of my main frustrations with cheese as you end up with lots of little packages made up of aluminium foil in your fridge, especially at Christmas time.
The cheese was fairly dry when I opened the packaging and it was clear the cheese had been smoked with the aromas that wafted out of the packet and the clear smoked tinge on the edges and throughout the block of cheese.
I cut a few slices off to try and was overpowered by the flavour. The strong mature flavour of the cheddar with the smokiness hit me straight away and I was unsure if I liked the taste. I had expected more hints of the cider to flow through the cheese but the actual taste was masked behind the smoked flavour.
I went for good old cheese on crackers to try out this cheese to begin with and was a bit unsure, I sliced it thinly, the cheese then went from the dry texture and found that it was a little wet and stuck to the knife when cutting which I think if left out to get to room temperature would make it more of a softer cheese such as the similar tasting flavour of Applewood, I did however, find that the cracker complemented the richness of the flavour of the cheese and would infact be a great addition to a cheeseboard.
I added a few slices of Black Garlic cloves to see how the combination worked with the cheese as it offered a sweet flavour and found it a tasty combination but again the actual cheese is very overpowering and when teamed with other foods can be a little overbearing.
I did find however that the taste stayed with me and left a pleasant aftertaste and would definitely be a cheese I would consider having in the future for special occasions.
As an everyday cheese however, I would have to avoid.