Monday, January 17, 2011

Red Dragon, A Stand Alone Cheese Made in the Welsh Tradition

Now, I’m not one for things added to my cheese. I like my cheese unadulterated by nuts, fruits and unusual colors. Call me boring, but when it comes to cheese, it’s gotta be the good stuff and its gotta be just cheese, please.

So I found myself a little surprised at the market the other day to be holding a small wedge of a brown speckled-yellowish cheese in bright red wax. I think it was its appealing label of medieval artwork, or maybe the name, but after reading that it was a cheddar made with mustard seeds and ale I was intrigued, and found myself bringing home a cheese I wouldn’t normally consider.

The name of this extraordinary cheese, Red Dragon, is taken from a symbol in the Welsh flag. Part of Somerdale’s Welsh Range, Red Dragon Welsh Cheddar is made with the rich creamy cow’s milk of the region, blended with Welsh brown ale and whole grain mustard seeds yielding a firm but exceptionally buttery, creamy and full-bodied cheese with a remarkably developed flavor, though they claim it’s only been aged for 3 months.
Red Dragon Welsh Cheddar
Red Dragon Welsh Cheddar from Somerdale Dairy
Red Dragon is also known as Y-Fenni, a Welsh rendering of the town in which it’s made Abergavenny. This traditional English cheddar has an outgoing, tangy personality attributed to the light brown ale from which it's made, but tempered by its creamy, buttery smooth finish-- and for an added layer of texture, the mustard seeds give a pop as you bite down. Just a small taste leaves tremendous delight for the tongue, a veritable party for the tastebuds.

I’ve found that Red Dragon works nicely as a spread on a roasted chicken and avocado sandwich but I have to say, I enjoy this wonderful Welsh treat on its own. It’s so incredibly dynamic in flavor that you simply don’t want to diminish all the fun your tongue is having!

Maybe because of its upbringing, Red Dragon Welsh Cheddar most certainly begs to be paired with a pale ale, and maybe some good bread. Though this trilogy alone would make a perfect meal for me, the addition of sweet dried fruits or an acidic fresh fruit would suit it well. Red Dragon would make an outstanding cheese centerpiece for entertaining and would highly recommend it as a solo cheese on a cheese plate that might look something like this.

Red Dragon Cheese Plate

1 pound cut of Red Dragon Welsh Cheddar, cut into 2 wedges
Crusty bread
Pineapple chunks
Celery sticks
Sliced Vidalia and/or purple onion

Good news for vegetarians, Red Dragon Welsh Cheddar has no animal rennet. Those of us fortunate enough to have so many options, count your cheese blessings!

Props to Somerdale. They have successfully converted me and now I see cheese in Technicolor. Now, I can’t wait to try the others in Somerdale’s Welsh Cheddar Range: Tintern, Black Mountain and the intriguing sounding, Harlech with horseradish and parsley, confident that the complexity of flavors chosen will complement the outstanding foundation of exceptional dairy quality.



cailen ascher said...

that sounds fabulous. though i don't know if i've ever met a cheese that i don't like... thanks for the suggestions about what to enjoy it with!

til next time,

ferestre exterior said...

This cheese sounds great. I’m like you in the sense that I love my cheese to be just that. Cheese. My favorite is blue cheese, but I wouldn’t exclude any other possibility.

Anonymous said...

CAn I just tell you I too was intrigued, tried it and am now hooked! It was selling at my local Whole Foods (Santa Monica, CA) and they don't order it any more... people don't buy it enough so it spoils... so on a trip to Pasadena I stopped at the locale Whole paycheck oops Foods :P and bought not one but two wedges lol

nemuda said...

Piuttosto un bel formaggio :)

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