$209/pound?! The Story Behind the Special Wisconsin Cheese Back on Sale
How much would you pay for a slice of history? For only the third time ever, Hook’s is releasing a batch of its 20-year cheddar to a lucky group of lottery-winning cheese lovers.
In the caves beneath Hook’s Mineral Point cheese factory sits some extremely old cheddar– waiting, and almost ready, for its day in the sun.
How old is “old”?
When this cheddar was just a batch of baby curds bobbing in a tank of whey, Saddam Hussein was Iraq’s president, the space Shuttle Columbia was flying, and Johnny Depp was about to debut as Jack Sparrow.
Was 2003 a very good year for making cheese? Some lucky cheese lovers are about to find out…
For only the third time in history, Hook’s is releasing a batch of its 20-year cheddar to the public. People who fill out a form online by the end of January will have a chance to buy the cheese at $209/pound. The first time Hook’s released 450 pounds of 20-year cheddar in 2015, it sold out in six days. The 2020 batch of 500 pounds sold out in 20 days, but because it was released during the COVID lockdown, Hook’s had a few wedges leftover to sell at the Dane County Farmers’ Market.
When Hook’s released its first batch of 20-year cheese in 2015, owner Tony Hook wasn’t sure what to charge.
“The 15-year cheddar sells for $100 a pound, so I thought I would just double that,’’ he said. But then Dale Curley, owner of Larry’s Market in Brown Deer, announced he would be selling the cheese for $209, so Hook’s decided to go with that and donate half the proceeds to charity. The first two batches helped build the Center for Dairy Research (CDR) at UW-Madison.
This year’s proceeds will benefit Little John’s Kitchen, a Madison non-profit that trains veterans and upcycles leftover food to fight job and food insecurity.
So what does a 20-year-old cheddar taste like? Florence Fabricant, a food writer for the New York…