In the cheese world there are many who would argue against the validity of a retail cheese cave. These people clearly have not tasted Caputo's House Aged Cheddar.
 
It is delivered to us the day the curds are pressed into wheels, meaning it is still just flavorless curd. We do all the aging in Caputo's cheese cave. Although it is made for us by Beehive Cheese with the same recipe as their Promontory Cheddar, the aging is very different and two cheeses could hardly taste less alike.
 
Beehive's Promontory is aged in air-tight plastic bags. It is sweet, nutty and easy going.
 
Ours is wrapped for 6 months in butter-soaked bandages and for at least 6 months in lard from Christiansen's Family Farm. All the while it is open to the dank air of our cave (approximately 87% humidity in the zone they are in). This allows for different cultures to take the cheese in a very different direction. Heavy flavors like mushroom base and damp earth with faint hints of sweet horseradish make our cheddar taste much more like an English Cheddar, yet stronger.

If you count all the wheels we had to throw away before getting it truly dialed, it is a miracle my dad (Tony Caputo), did not pull the plug on the whole cheese cave experiment. At $23.99/lb this may be the biggest money loser in our case with all the TLC that goes into these lovely wheels.
 
I am pairing it with a naturally made Syrah from Donkey and Goat Winery as I am writing this and it is certainly elevating the flavor of both to new heights.
 
We also have a wheel in the cave that will be released in the next month or two that we used duck fat on instead of lard. Should be interesting. Only one thing to do, come taste both!

Note: Thank you to Pat Ford of Beehive for teaching us to wrap his cheese. Without his help we most certainly would have given up on this great project.