After hearing about the great new shop Saxelby Cheesemongers and their dedication to only selling cheeses from small American producers, I couldn't resist stopping by.
Though the selection is small, each cheese is obviously hand picked. From Jasper Hill and Cato Corners to Twig and Woodstock Farms, they represent the top quality of American cheesemakers and there's not a single one I wouldn't be proud to serve. They even have quite a few which the big shops in town don't carry. Among them is the Clothbound Colby. The cheese is produced by Crowley, but aged in Jasper Hill's caves.
This process of having a separate affineur has been used for years in other countries, producing such "superstars" as Herve Mons and Rolf Beeler. It's great to see some American producers getting into it.
Wrapped in cloth while aging, Clothbound Colby has a distinct grassy flavor that is sweet with mild acidity and low saltiness, making it an excellent snacking cheese or starter for your cheese plate. It's texture is a bit harder than you average colby and, thankfully, lacks the rubbery quality present in so many cheeses of this type.
Wine options are pretty open with this one. A dry white like Pinot Grigio would be excellent, but you'd do just as well with a red that is low in tannins such as a Beaujolais.
Because of its milder flavors, I wouldn't recommend cooking with it, since that would destroy many of its subtler flavors. Instead, serve with some hearty wheat crackers or layer it with bitter greens for a quick sandwich.
Clothbound Colby is available for $13.99 at Saxelby Cheesemongers. Do yourself a favor and visit!