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AMERICA'S BEST

Vella Dry Jack Is No Cheese Puff

December 06, 1990|KATHIE JENKINS

Vella Cheese Company

P.O. Box 191 Sonoma, Calif. 95476-0191 (800) 848-0505 Free brochure. Check or credit card. Prices include shipping and handling. Bored by the holiday gifts in those food catalogues that keep clogging your mailbox? Dried fruit. Fresh fruit. Nuts. Maple syrup. Another secret Oaxacan mole sauce. Ho-hum. . . .

Here's a stocking stuffer you've probably never thought of ordering: an eight-pound cheese wheel. But this is no ordinary cheeseball--Vella Sonoma Dry Jack happens to be one of America's finest cheeses.

Made in California's Sonoma Valley since 1931, Dry Jack is an all-natural, Parmesan-style cheese. Aged seven to 10 months, this pale-yellow cheese has a sweet nuttiness and is more versatile than almost any other cheese.

But what do you do with eight pounds of Dry Jack? If this generous wheel--coated in a natural preservative of oil, pepper and cocoa--seems a bit intimidating, don't despair. Get out your sharpest knife and divide the cheese into sections. Wrap each wedge in plastic wrap, then in foil and store it in the refrigerator. The cheese will keep indefinitely and only gets better as it gets harder and sharper. Eat it plain. Grate it on pasta or risotto. Use Dry Jack the next time you make a grilled cheese sandwich. Scatter shards over a green salad. And don't be surprised when you discover that there is none left.

Vella Cheese ships year round via UPS. An 8-pound wheel of Dry Monterey Jack is $44. A half wheel is available for $25.

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