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PRODUCT: The Best Cheddar Cheese From Tillamook

We’re always happy when our favorite foods receive the laurels they deserve. That’s why we were so pleased when the Tillamook County Creamery Association received first place recognition for three of their cheeses at the United States Championship Cheese Contest, held recently in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The winners:

  • Tillamook Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Out of a perfect score of 100, Tillamook Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar received 99.45 in the Aged 2 Years Or Longer Cheddar Category. Naturally aged for more than two years, the cheese has a creamy, crumbling texture which and is delicious as a snack, in a fondue or a cheese course with fruit and wine. The extra sharp cheese needs an equally bold and full-bodied wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel.
  • Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Tillamook Sharp Yellow Cheddar scored 98.65 points in the 6 months to 1 year Sharp Cheddar Category. Full flavored, but less so than Extra Sharp, Tillamook Sharp Yellow Cheddar is aged for at least 9 months to perfect its sharp, bold taste.

    Three award winners from Tillamook Creamery Cooperative. Photo by Elvira
    Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

  • Tillamook Colby Jack. Tillamook Colby Jack received 99.40 points in the Marbled Curd Cheese Category. The marbling is the result of two cheeses—Colby and Jack—a colorful medley of yellow and white with a fresh and mild flavor. This was the consecutive win for the cheese, which also won the award at the 2011 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest (the competition is held every two years).
    All three cheeses were also voted “America’s Best” in their respective categories, a special shout-out for superior taste and quality.

    It wasn’t an easy win. There are many fine cheese makers in the U.S. This year, the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest had a record-breaking total of over 1,700 entries across 82 categories, including seven categories of Cheddar.


    Delicious white Cheddar. Photo by Elvira
    Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.



    The Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) was established in Oregon in 1909, when several small creameries teamed up to ensure the quality and reputation of cheese made in the Tillamook Valley. Today, membership comprises more than 100 dairy farm families, many of whom are kin to the early pioneers.

    The farmer-owned cooperative is famously known for its award-winning, naturally aged Cheddars. But it is quickly becoming known for its variety of cheeses (including Colby Jack and Pepper Jack), butter, ice cream, sour cream and yogurt. Approximately one million people visit the cheese factory each year. The products are distributed nationally.


    Cheddar is a semi-hard cows milk cheese, the most popular cheese in England. Based on aging, from 3 months to 30 months, it varies from mild to extra sharp. Cheddar has been made at least since the 1100s; the first were made in Cheddar, a village in southwest England. The term has become almost generic, so Appellation of Controlled Origin-protected cheddar is labeled “West Country Farmhouse Cheddar,” which includes neighboring counties of Somerset, where the town of Cheddar is located.

    The cheese is naturally a creamy white, although vegetable dyes have made the orange color the preferred commercial style (the dyes have no impact on the flavor).

    In the U.K. the slang meaning of cheddar is money—similar to how “gravy” is used in the U.S.

    Here’s a tasty apple and grilled cheese sandwich, courtesy of Tillamook.



  • 1 loaf French bread, sliced
  • Aged White Cheddar, Sharp Cheddar or Colby Jack cheese, sliced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, sliced thin
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional extras: sliced olives, fresh arugula, basil or spinach leaves

    1. PREHEAT a grill pan or regular frying pan over medium heat.

    2. ASSEMBLE cheese and apple slices onto one slice of bread. Top with optional extras and second slice of bread.

    3. DRIZZLE olive oil on outer sides of bread and transfer to the pan. Grill a few minutes per side, or until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown. Cut in half and serve immediately.


    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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