This cheese is sure to have you hooked.
Tony and Julie Hook, the owners and masterminds behind Hook’s Cheese Company, have announced that their 20-year aged cheddar will be ready for consumption come June. This announcement is probably just as paramount for the cheese community as was the birth of the royal baby for the rest of society. After all, this cheddar is the Hook’s Cheese Co.’s baby. It has been aging in the company’s carefully monitored curing caves, growing to peak maturity with the help of precise temperature and humidity control.
Since everyone wants a piece of this fine cheddar, Hook’s started a pre-order process on February 12th, setting the price at $209 per pound. By the second day of pre-order sales, six pounds of the aged cheddar had been sold in quarter-and-half-pound slabs. That means Hook’s has already made $1,200 off of six pounds of cheese. And it is worth every penny. With all of the anticipation, Hook’s had to release a statement:
“There is a very limited quantity so we will have to figure out how much everyone wants and then figure out how much everyone will get. We will not be able to satisfy everyone.”
This isn’t the first ambitious cheese venture the couple has tackled. Since the birth of their company in 1976, it has been known that Hook’s had a knack for this stuff. The couple’s Colby won a “Best of Class” award at the World Cheese Championship and, when judged against other category winners, was bestowed the title, “Finest Cheese in the World.” This was a monumental moment, considering Julie Hook was the first woman to win the world championship. To this day, she still holds that title.
After the big win, the couple continued to break new ground and started their aged-cheddar adventure. They now sell cheddars aged between two to seven years, a ten-year-aged cheddar, and a 15-year-aged cheddar. When the 15-year cheddar was announced five years ago, it made headlines. That cheese now sells for $80 a pound.
So everyone trusts that the 20-year cheddar will be anything but disappointing. The 15-year cheddar was noted for the creaminess it maintained along with the crunchy crystals that come with age. The 20-year cheddar is expected to be just as impressive, if not more so. But who buys cheddar like this? The answer: basically anyone who likes cheese, from the cheesemonger to writers like me. Matt Krombach, a 25-year-old Cedarburg, Wis., resident, ordered a quarter pound for his upcoming wedding (hello, Matt’s fiancée, you got a good one). Patrick Brzezinski, a local chef who has been a fan of Hook’s aged cheddar for years, said people doubt how worthy the cheese is of a high price tag until they get a taste. Then they’re sold.
“This is an art form. It’s the highest representation of what these artisans do, and being able to take advantage of it before anyone else, that’s a very cool thing,” said Brzezinski.
You can place an order for the cheddar here. Or we can wait until the next royal cheese is born… I have a feeling the familial line won’t end here.