At Cabot, we’re celebrating our upcoming Centennial with the release of 5 Year Cheddar. We don’t mind saying we think it will be the best cheddar you ever eat—full of sublime, complex flavors that will linger in your memory long after you taste it.
Now, you may be thinking, I already know Cabot makes great cheddar. What makes THIS one so special?
To answer that question, we’d like to introduce our Cheese Graders. For the past five years, they’ve expertly tended our 5 Year Cheddar (and all our cheeses), and they deserve much of the credit for this major—and majorly delicious—milestone in cheesemaking.
Not all cheese companies employ a team of cheese graders, and with the amount of cheese Cabot produces, the grading process is not exactly a quick one. But having our cheese graders interact with every batch of cheese is how we’ve ensured award-winning quality for generations. Cabot simply wouldn’t be Cabot without our cheese graders.
So…what exactly do cheese graders DO? Glad you asked.
Working in 42-degree cheese storage facilities, our cheese graders taste, test, think, and grade Cabot cheeses—practicing a craft that is equal parts art and science.
They begin with metal devices called triers, which are inserted deep into massive blocks of cheese to extract tube-shaped “core samples.”
They feel the cheese for texture. They smell it. They look at its color. They taste it. Everything about the cheese matters. According to new cheese grader Gina Accorsi, who is learning the craft from veteran Cabot graders Ted Brown, Adam Huestis and Jeff Richards, “even the residue on the trier and how shiny that piece of cheese is—it all tells you about how it’s doing.”
The graders take detailed records so that quality stays consistent, but they rely just as much on memory and intuition, considering levels of sharpness, creaminess, nuttiness, and other flavor attributes—identifying what Cabot variety each batch will eventually become.
You see, when a cheese is first made, its future is still uncertain. Using decades of collective experience, Cabot’s cheese graders determine which cheeses will best be enjoyed smooth and creamy, such as Monterey Jack or Muenster, and which have the potential to be aged into bold, robust cheddars like our Seriously Sharp, or even into a premium cheddar like our 5 Year.
Do the Cheese Graders really get to taste every Cabot cheese?
Our graders travel between Cabot’s cheese storage facilities and taste dozens of cheeses each day. And though Cabot produces hundreds of thousands of pounds of cheese each year, yes, our cheese graders taste a sample from every batch. One can only imagine all those delicious calories! However, like a wine taster who couldn’t possibly consume all the wine they taste, our graders don’t eat most of the cheese they grade.
Over the past five years, our cheese graders have been regularly tasting our 5 Year cheddar, making sure its flavor stays bold but balanced, so that our farmers, friends, and loyal customers can enjoy a unique tasting experience. Gina Accorsi believes the 5-year cheddar is truly one-of-a-kind and worthy of the Centennial celebration. “It was cultivated with a lot of care and attention. It’s complex, with a lot of different flavors, but still balanced.”
Preserving and Furthering a Century of Commitment
Like everyone who works for Cabot, our cheese graders take enormous pride in helping maintain and further the legacy our farmers have built over the past century. As Gina says, graders get to “ensure that what people are going to taste represents the hard work that everybody puts into all of the cheese. I am excited for people to try our 5 Year Cheddar because it embodies what we try to achieve every time.”