When Franciscan friars living around Monterey California first crafted a mild white cheese in the 19th century they had no idea that their cheesecraft would become legend-dairy when Scottish real estate tycoon and dairy-owner David Jack started marketing his version of their recipe, first under the name “Jack’s Cheese” and later as “Monterey Jack Cheese”.
During the Prohibition era, it was Gaetano (Tom) Vella and his wife Zolita who converted an old brewery into an artisan cheese company. Soon therafter Vella‘s Dry Aged Jack Cheese became a local chef’s treasure much prized for its sweet-nutty character and a rind offering notes of black pepper and unsweetened cocoa.
Exceedingly palate-stimulating, the dense, crumbly cheese can be enjoyed as shavings gathered atop a thick toasted wedge of raisin toast lavishly decked with avocado slices and spoonfulls of fig jam.
An authentic California alternative to Parmigiano-Reggiano, this Dry Aged Jack can also be shaved atop a plate of pasta providing its sharp, nutty, earthy, salinity.