“Age is something that doesn’t matter unless you’re a cheese.” — Luis Buñuel
In recent years, I’ve observed a subtle but important shift in how Aldi handles its cheese section. In the past, Aldi cheese was about what you needed the most: your basic sliced cheeses and cheese blocks, with some string cheese also in the mix. Staple products for a staple store.
Then newcomers entered the space. Exotic varieties, with higher price tags but also origins that defied your run-of-the-mill mild cheddar. Cheese wheels. Wedges. Artisan cheeses. And not just limited-time Aldi Finds, mind you, but honest-to-goodness everyday, year-round Regular Buys.
Now, if you go to the Aldi cheese section, you’re going to find a whole lot more than just staples. You’ll find some things that could really spice up a charcuterie board or pair with a wine. I suspect the latter has a lot to do with the recent uptick in unique cheeses: the grocer is looking to offer cheeses that can complement the store’s wine selection.
I tend to take stock of what’s over in the cheese section when I’m in the store, and recently I spotted a trio of Irish cheeses on the shelf.
I decided to try them out.
Emporium Selection Irish Cheddar Cheese is an Aldi Regular Buy, which means you can find it in stores all the time. I located these in the refrigerated section, among the other everyday cheeses the store sells. They all came in 7-ounce blocks wrapped in plastic.
At the time of this post, the cheese blocks each cost $3.79. That comes out to about 54 cents an ounce.
All three, of course, are Irish cheddar. That means these cheeses are made from the milk of grass-fed cows in Ireland. All of the cheeses boast that they’re imported from Ireland.
I found three cheeses in this mixed case: mild cheddar, mature cheddar, and vintage cheddar. We picked up all three.
Emporium Selection Mild Irish Cheddar Cheese
The mild cheddar comes in a blue plastic package. It has a matte, dry look and feel to it.
I found this cheese to be as advertised: namely, mild. It has a smooth, low-key flavor to it, reminiscent of other mild cheddars I’ve had before. There’s not much bite here, which makes it an interesting choice if you want something like that.
Emporium Selection Mature Irish Cheddar Cheese
This mature cheddar has a slightly slick exterior to it, and a little more crumbly texture.
This has a little more bite than the mild. I wouldn’t call it a sharp cheddar — maybe more like a medium. It is a step up in that way from the mild, and it would make for a worthwhile cheddar if you want something a little more aged.
Emporium Selection Vintage Irish Cheddar Cheese
When I opened this cheese, it had a sheen on the outside compared to the others, and it was significantly more crumbly on the inside than the mild or the mature.
This is the sharpest cheddar of the bunch. It has more bite consistent with a sharp, eclipsing both the mild and the mature. It is also a little more dry than the others.
Aldi sells a fascinating trifecta of Irish cheeses for anyone who is in the market. All three are made from the milk of grass-fed cows, and are all products of Ireland. They offer a range of bite, from the mild to the medium mature to the sharper vintage. They cost a little more than you’d pay for garden variety cheddar, but if you’re looking for something more artisan to pair with your wine or put on your charcuterie spread, these definitely are worth a look. We liked all three.
I agree 100% about these cheeses, and they are well worth the price, even for my meager budget. I use them in salads, cold sandwiches, grilled cheese and on crackers, so that $4 goes a long way. Even the sharp tastes smooth, and not ‘fake’ (over-salted) like other inexpensive cheddars.