Today, Monterey Jack and its derivatives are made by several California cheese makers, but the versions made by companies located in Sonoma County such as Vella Cheese Co., are definitely more superior. Their Jack cheese is rubbed with a mixture of oil, pepper and unsweetened cocoa to give its signature brown rind. The rind protects the cheese but itself doesn’t have any effect on the flavor of the underlying cheese. Original Monterey Jack is the most popular variety of Jack cheese, but the same creaminess and texture can be found in Jacks flavored with jalapeños, rosemary, habañero chilies and garlic.
Dry Jack adds another dimension to dazzling variety of mouthwatering Sonoma Jack cheeses. It is sold at different ages from ten months up to four years. The texture is firm, dry and becomes increasingly brittle with age. The flavors of Jack cheese may range from mild and mellow in high moisture Jacks to spicy, delicate and buttery in peppered versions. Dry Jack tends to produce a distinct sweet, mushroom and earthy flavor. Jack cheeses pair excellently with Pinot Noir, Rose, Shiraz, Zinfandel or Riesling.
Other American cheeses: