Published On: Fri, Aug 31st, 2012

Cheese from the Nixon era to go on sale in Wisconsin, it’s ‘aged just right’

1972 cheddar cheese is about to hit the open market in Wisconsin and people can’t wait to get some.

photo/Jon Sullivan

Experts believe, what is called the “Oldest Collection of Cheese,” is about to be sold to the public, according to a report in the Wisconsin State Journal. The rare cheese was discovered by former Ocanto, Wisconsin, cheese shop owner Edward Zahn.

Zahn claims he found the cheese in the back of an old walk-in cooler while moving his business to a new location.

He also discovered other wooden boxes that contained blocks of cheddar that were 39, 34 and 28 years old.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture requires that every block of cheese has a date of manufacture and vat number on it, and since it was from Zahn’s own stock, he was able to determine quickly that he had stumbled upon cheddar from the Nixon administration.

“I knew there was old stuff in there, but I didn’t realize it was that old,” Zahn told TODAY.com. “It happened by accident, and the rest is history.”

Zahn was selling the 39-year-old cheddar on the side to locals for less than $50 a pound in May after discovering the cache. However, after he encountered health problems and had to undergo six surgeries in the spring, he and his family decided to liquidate their inventory of the cheese that he found. An email from Zahn’s son to the president of Wisconsin Cheese Mart in Milwaukee about the find resulted in the store buying 20 pounds of the 40-year-old cheese along with 120 pounds of the 34-year-old cheddar.

The rare cheese is prized for its sharp taste and richness.

“It gets sharper with age,” Zahn said. “Sometimes it can age too fast and ruin the flavor, but this was aged just right.”

“It’s the sharpest cheese I’ve ever tasted,” Wisconsin Cheese Mart president Ken McNulty told the State Journal. “Although what you’d expect is that it would be really dry, but it’s actually very creamy.”

The aging process created about an inch of crystallization around the edge of the cheese, but once that is cut off, it should be perfectly edible, Zahn said. The demand from his local customers has resulted in him already selling the inventory that remained after the sale to Wisconsin Cheese Mart.

“I had two 20-pound blocks of the 39-year-old (cheese) at the store, and I sold the last pound on Wednesday,” Zahn said.

The cheese will go on sale October 6 for $10 an ounce in a cheese-tasting event at Wisconsin Cheese Mart.

It will not be sold online.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON


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