Back in the days when I was a grad student (mid to late 80s), roughly about the time I was bartending at Valhalla, the cheese guides I would read would mention a white cheddar from Canada, Black Diamond, and it was proclaimed “the best cheddar in North America”. That was a claim that really stood up in those days. Good English cheddars were hard to come by, and were often dry when they made it to the cheese shops.  Not only did Black Diamond pack a lot of flavor, have a phenomenal aftertaste, it was easy to get without dry crusty edges.

Nowadays, Black Diamond is a trademark of a whole variety of cheese products, so when I speak of Black Diamond, I’ll be largely referring to Black Diamond Grand Reserve. Finding this cheese is not easy. It’s not routinely found at Alon’s or Whole Foods, but Fresh Market seems to carry it on a regular basis, and you can buy Black Diamond Grand Reserve through igourmet in 8 ounce, 1 pound, and 5 pound blocks. Amazon shows up on searches as well, but has been out of the cheese every time I have looked.

I’m having trouble describing the taste of this cheese. It’s not as harsh or as bitter as the taste of say, Kraft Extra Sharp, but the flavor is more mellow, richer on the tongue and it lingers. It has some of the rich aftertones you might see in Kerry Gold’s Dubliner cheese. Dubliner is probably the closest match to Black Diamond in a regular supermarket. But in my opinion, Black Diamond is worth the price tag you pay for it these days (ca $18.99 per pound), because a very small amount of this cheese goes a long way.

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