A few weeks ago a good friend and fellow cheese monger, Andy Fitzgerrell and I went on a three day vacation to make cheese in Colorado. About an hour and a half into the drive we made a major breakthrough in cheese lore that should be noted by humans.
The revelation we both agree on is this. If aliens ever come down from outer space and inquire about cheese with no reference point and inquire as to what cheese is, the first sample to be put before them should be Landaff. It is the perfect archetype. Right in the middle of the road on texture, flavor and aroma but relentlessly enjoyable.
Landaff is made in New Hampshire, but then transferred to Vermont to be aged by our country's largest, and likely best, large scale professional affinage operation called The Cellars at Jasper Hill. Landaff is basically a Welsh Caerphilly recipe. Think of it as a super creamy soft cheddar with an open texture from curds not fully knit together.
Inside the thick, natural, cave aged rind the texture is halfway between Cheddar and Havarti, but the flavors couldn't be more different nor more exciting. The paste breaks down with a very rich and fatty feel on the palate and the deep flavors of tangy buttermilk and deep browned butter make it an unforgettable cheese.
I have since discussed this with other respected cheese mongers and a consensus is certainly that it is hard to find a better example of what cheese should be. A picture of Landaff should be in the Webster dictionary for the word cheese.
Check it out at Caputo's.