It's old, it's good and it's really, really expensive.
A Wisconsin cheesemaker unveiled its 20-year-old aged cheddar cheese earlier this week. Hook’s Cheese Company of Mineral Point told the Wisconsin State Journal that most of their 450-pound supply has already been spoken for, which is surprising since the asking price is $209 a pound.
"It's like a milestone in the cheese industry," said Ken Monteleone, owner of an artisan cheese shop in Madison.
That's more than $94,000 worth of cheese, and it's apparently very tasty.
"This will knock your face off," Tony Miller, executive chef at Madison's L'Etoile restaurant, told WMTV of the 20-year-old cheese. L'Etoile held a special event for the unveiling of the cheddar Wednesday.
Cheesemakers Tony and Julie Hook said they intend to donate $40,000 of their profits from the sale of the cheese to the Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The cheesemakers, who began aging the "milestone" cheddar in 1995, do not have immediate plans to age more cheese for quite so long.
However, the pricey hunk of cheddar isn't the oldest in Wisconsin dairy history. In 2012, the owner of a cheese shop in Oconto, Wisconsin, who had decided to close his business discovered a 40-year-old block of cheddar cheese in his walk-in cooler.
"It just got overlooked," cheese seller Edward Zahn told the State Journal at the time. "It looks just like the others except it's just a lot sharper. It's got character."
He also discovered 28-year-old and 35-year-old blocks of cheddar in wooden boxes in his cooler. When cheese gets that old, looks can be deceiving.
"It looks like it went through a nuclear accident. It's just unbelievably grotesque," Ken McNulty, president of Wisconsin Cheese Mart, told the newspaper. "But once you get through the exterior, it's OK."
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