Tillamook County Creamery Association, the more than 110-year-old farmer-owned dairy co-op based in Tillamook, Oregon, has released Maker’s Reserve 2011 and 2018 vintages into its Maker’s Reserve program. These cheeses are part of a broader assortment of Maker’s Reserve Extra Sharp White Cheddar vintages available this year, including 2015, 2016 and 2017.
“Tillamook Maker’s Reserve is a true testament to our passionate craftsmen and women,” said Jill Allen, director of product excellence for TCCA. “We make these exceptional Extra Sharp Cheddars with pride, passion and a double dose of patience for truly unforgettable flavor.”
TCCA’s team of tasting and sensory experts gather to grade every batch of cheese, measuring it against their signature flavor profile to choose the very best batches to become Maker’s Reserve. Only a small selection makes the cut for this exclusive program, whose vintages have garnered accolades and awards from the American Cheese Society, the U.S. Champion Cheese Contest and the International Cheese Awards.
In January of each year, TCCA releases a new vintage of white cheddar made three years prior. These three-year cheddars are strategically released to last through their 10-year anniversaries, hence this year’s releases of the 2018 (three-year) and 2011 (10-year) vintages.
Each cheese in the Maker’s Reserve program is incredibly unique. Bold and nutty on the nose, the 2018 vintage has flavors of sweet malt and barley balanced with grassy notes and leek. Short and crumbly, with intermittent crystals and a shattering texture, salty hints of umami and toasted walnuts are unmistakable. The 2018 Maker’s Reserve can be found at Safeway and Market of Choice in Portland, Oregon; The Tillamook Creamery; and The Tillamook Market at Portland International Airport. It’s also available for shipping nationwide through Tillamook’s online shop.
Full of sweet fruity notes of apple, honey and pineapple, 2011 Maker’s Reserve has matured into the boldest of cheddars. With a generous smattering of large, crunchy crystals and a texture that’s short and dry, this one finishes with grassy flavors and creamy accents. A decade in the making and worth the wait, this cheese will be exclusively available for purchase at Whole Foods Market stores across the country beginning in May.
“Whole Foods Market is proud of our partnership with one of the country’s leading dairy farmer cooperatives,” said Cathy Strange, VP of specialty and product innovation and development at Whole Foods Market. “TCCA is a recognized industry innovator, and this delicious cheese is a product we are excited to offer exclusively at Whole Foods Market.”