American cheddar has never been the same since the Kehler brothers finished the state-of-the-art aging cave in the rolling hillside of their Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, Vt. Just witness their unique collaboration with cheddar juggernaut Cabot, which ages 35-pound wheels there wrapped English-style in breathable cloth bandages rubbed in lard, not the typical wax. The result, after 10 to 12 months, is a far more artisanal creation than the typical Cabot supermarket brick. More akin to a British farmhouse style, this stunningly complex cheese is more earthy than "sharp," with flavors of mushroom, nuts and toffee, with an occasional blue veining near the rind and tiny protein crystals in the center that add extra sparks to the densely creamy paste.

Cabot Clothbound cheddar by Jasper Hill, $19.99 a pound at local Whole Foods Markets.

Craig LaBan