Cheddar (Hook's 10 Year)
Located in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, Hook's Cheese produces several varieties of cheese, ranging from classic Wisconsin cheddars to several types of blue cheese.
Owners Tony and Julie Hook started Hook's Cheese Company in 1976 and inititally made cheddar and swiss. Since 1980, they have continued to expand their range and have won numerous awards for their cheeses. Hook's is perhaps best known for its extra aged cheddars and blues. Currently the company is aging an impressive 600,000lbs. of cheese.
Milk for production comes from several small, local dairy farms near Mineral Point. The cows are all raised sustainably and without rBGH.
The cheddar is produced with a traditional Wisconsin recipe, and released at varying ages of maturity. After production, cheeses are wrapped in plastic, which prevents moisture loss and therefore allows the potential for to be matured for several years. The cheddars are graded regularly throughout the maturation process, and those fitting a particular flavor profile are selected for further aging.
Hook's 10 year cheddar has a dense, close texture punctuated with small, crunchy crystals that are a sign of the cheese's age. The interior paste of the cheddar is usually orange in color as a result of the addition of anatto (a natural food coloring) during the production process. However, depending on when the cheeses were made, some may have the natural, "white" color instead.
Flavors are rich and tangy with notes of fruit and grass, and a smooth, elegant finish.