The Good: Melts well, Exceptionally easy to work with, Nothing truly bad in it, Great price!
The Bad: Very mild flavor.
The Basics: In an effort to create a cheddar baseline, Yancey's Fancy creates a very bland cheddar cheese with New York Sharp Cheddar.
Cheddar cheese should, in my not at all humble opinion, is a good baseline cheese. Cheddar is pretty much the essential cheese and a plain cheddar usually strives for adequacy (an average rating) in my book. Yancey's Fancy, a comparatively small cheese company that makes Artisan cheeses, achieved perfection with its XXX Sharp Cheddar cheese (reviewed here!). Unfortunately, having a block of Yancey's Fancy's New York Sharp cheddar, I found myself thoroughly unimpressed. Yancey's Fancy New York Cheddar is so mild as to be not worth recommending. One might hope the cheese would enhance any dish, but while the New York Cheddar melts easily, it does not add much in the way of flavor . . . even to a grilled cheese.
I encountered Yancey's Fancy New York Sharp Cheddar cheese at the grocery store and I was surprised to find a block on sale at $3.99/lb. Regardless of the deficiencies of this cheese, that price is an excellent value, even if it was only on sale.
Yancey's Fancy is a manufacturer of Artisan Cheeses here in upstate New York. The intent of most Yancey's Fancy cheeses is that they will be cheeses that hold their own as snacks that may be served to consumers in fancier settings. They specialize in cheddar cheeses that have different flavors infused into them: champagne, jalapeno, various nuts, etc., as well as more exotic cheeses like gouda. Yancey's Fancy cheeses come in wheels (usually ten or twenty pounds each) and most stores chop the wheels into blocks. On-line, it is fairly easy to find the cheese in one pound blocks.
The New York Sharp Cheddar cheese is exactly as its name implies. This is a solid orange cheese without any garnishes, additional flavors or embedded spices.
Ease Of Preparation
Yancey's Fancy New York Sharp Cheddar cheese is a cheese, so more often than not, it is used on its own or as an ingredient in a recipe. Preparation of the cheese is pretty simple: if it has been purchased in a smaller quantity than the entire wheel, remove the plastic wrap it is sealed in. When that is done, simply peel back the wax coating on the outer edges. This happens with remarkable ease. The New York Sharp Cheddar cheese seems to not adhere to the wax. This makes it a very easy cheese to separate from the wax coating and it may be placed on a cutting block or plate ready to be cut!
The New York Sharp cheddar cheese is exceptionally easy to work with. Our block went quickly in our kitchen as I used it in sandwiches, omelets and atop hamburgers. This cheese handles exceptionally easily, slicing simply with my cheese plane or grating finely with our cheese grater.
On its own, the Yancey's Fancy New York Sharp Cheddar cheese has such a mild aroma as to not be worth mentioning. Cold or at room temperature, it emits no significant cheese scent, preventing the consumer from prejudging it. Melted, the cheese's scent is overwhelmed by the scent of whatever the cheese is melting over, including the margarine on grilled cheese sandwiches. This sets the consumer up for a very mild cheese.
Sadly, the concerns I had based upon the mild scent were made real when tasting the cheese. This is so unsharp (are unaged cheddars considered "flat?") that this cheese tastes vaguely salty and not much more. In fact, the flavor is so mild I cannot think of anything more to write about it. The taste is "vaguely salty" and that's it. It's salty muted some by the milky texture of the cheese, but otherwise, this is surprisingly flavorless.
Yancey's Fancy New York Artisan Cheeses are not intended to be all that one lives on. But for those who try, the New York Sharp Cheddar cheese is not a terribly healthy choice. A serving size is considered a one inch block (1 oz.). In that, there are 110 calories, 80 of which are from fat. This cheese has 25% of one's daily recommended saturated fat intake and 11% of the RDA of sodium. On the plus side, it does have 20% of the RDA of calcium and has six grams of protein.
Obviously, New York Sharp Cheddar cheese is a dairy product, so those who are lactose intolerant will have problems with it. This cheese is made primarily of aged cheddar cheese, trisodium citrate and annato. That makes it mostly natural, despite the three preservatives.
As a cheese, Yancey's Fancy New York Sharp Cheddar cheese should be kept refrigerated. So long as that happens, it ought to stay fresh for several weeks. I am utterly unable to write about shelf-life as our one-pound block was gone within a week of being opened! So long as it is kept in an airtight, cold environment, it ought to remain fresh and supple.
New York Sharp is a cheese, so it is not going to stain or ruin anything unless it is ground into a fabric. Baring that, cleanup of nonporous surfaces is as easy as wiping them with a damp cloth.
As much as it saddens me, Yancey's Fancy's New York Sharp is such a mild cheese that it does not do justice to the name "cheese." It is stiflingly below average and my rating reflects more the easy of working with it and the quality of the ingredients as opposed to anything worth recommending in the taste department.
For other Yancey's Fancy cheese reviews, please check out my takes on:
Smoked Bacon Gouda
For other food and drink reviews, please visit my index page on the subject! That is available by clicking here!
© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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