Cheeses are an indulgence I can deal in without issues, but the pressures of a diet and trying to remain healthy also factor into buying decisions. Is it worth it to get the butter from grass fed cows, or just buy the cheap stuff at Wall-Mart? What about eggs? Free range grass fed or feedlot eggs? Is it worth it, on a taste basis, to buy healthy cheeses? These are questions I ask myself almost every day.

To help answer these questions in part I did a taste test of 5 cheeses, including 2 new arrivals from Pastureland, and kept notes.

1. Black Diamond Grand Reserve. I eat so much of this I think I know what to expect. It’s a flavor I’d call cheesy and cheddary, and it’s almost immediate. Unlike some sharp cheddars, there is no bitterness and no overpowering flavor. Instead the flavor just grows on you and then seems to linger forever. The rich, deep cheesy sensations are what separates this cheese from wanna bes.

2. Boar’s Head Canadian Cheddar (Old World Collection). I tried this just to see if I wasn’t kidding myself in my Black Diamond addiction. My notes include: up front flavor less than that of B(lack) D(iamond), and more of a sharp salty aftertaste. Flavors include overtones of creaminess, butteriness. Lingering tastes. Good eating cheese.

3. Pastureland Organic Cheddar. Notes: more subdued, smoother, milky, creamy, a hint of some bitter flavors. Tastes do linger. Lingering flavors less concentrated and intense than the first two cheeses.

4. Pastureland Sogn Artisan Alpine Style Cheese. This was a bit of a misfit in the comparison process, being more aptly compared to a Swiss. Notes: initial tastes include aromatic overtones. Aftertaste very mild, buttery, milky, salty. Coffee flavors would work well with this cheese.

5. Kerry Gold Ivernia. Another mismatch, as this cheese resembles more a Parmesan than a cheddar. Notes: immediate and upfront. Nutty. Rich lingering aftertastes of salty cream, nuts, fruits.

In terms of delivering sheer flavor, Ivernia was at the head of the pack, followed by Black Diamond and the Boar’s Head cheddars, then the Aged Pastureland Cheddar and then the Sogn. But given the approximate variety of these cheeses and how long they were aged, that was the expected result. In conclusion? If you don’t expect flavor miracles from the Pastureland Cheeses, they’re just fine. Issues I had with them on receipt were that the cooling ice had melted and they weren’t in the best of condition on arrival. If you want picture perfect cheeses, it would be best to have them shipped 2nd day air.