Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar
Known for their premium ice cream, Cows Creamery of P.E.I. did not venture into the artisan cheese world until 2006 when company owner Scott Linkletter visited Scotland and brought home with him a recipe for clothbound cheddar.
Historically practiced in Britain, this labour-intensive process fell out of favour with the advent of wax coated cheese. However, when done right, it produces a cheese of exceptional depth of flavour and Avonlea is no exception.
As with all artisan cheeses, it starts with terroir. No point on the island is more than thirty kilometres from the sea, ensuring the Holstein milk from local farms used to make Avonlea is infused with both the salty air and the iron-rich red soil. The milk used is also unpasteurized, preserving the micro-organisms and enzymes that give cheddar its characteristic flavours.
Once wrapped in linen, wheels of Avonlea must be flipped every second day for the first month and matured for a total of twelve to sixteen months. A labour intensive process - but one that paid off in a big way for the creamery, as Avonlea took home silver in the Cheddars Wrapped in Cloth category at the American Cheese Society awards in 2008. In 2009, it was awarded gold, and the accolades have not stopped in the decade since.
When first unwrapped, Avonlea offers up earthy aromas with notes of butterscotch and hay. Rich and well rounded, your first bite of Avonlea's fudgy golden paste will be grassy and sweet and it will finish with a gentle tang.
Prince Edward Island