Did you know Appel Farms began making white cheddar before it was cool? That’s right, before white cheddar became the new hit of the cheese case, we had it. Back in the old days yellow cheese was considered to have more butter fat, therefore it was more valuable. When cheese makers discovered they could gain a profit by having yellow cheese, they began to add dyes to give it that sought after shade. The color was a good marketing scheme, but that was all.
Early on when we began making cheddar, we added the color to give it the traditional yellow/orange shade everyone is used to. About a year into cheddar making however, Uncle John asked “Why?”. Even though the annatto (derived from the seed of the achiote tree) is completely natural and didn’t take away from the integrity of the flavor, it didn’t improve it either. So, like the cheese making rebels we are, out it went!
Currently the marketing trend has reversed, and white cheddar is the “in” thing. Just remember next time you’re looking over the cheese case trying to decide between cheddar shades. The only difference is a single ingredient, and that ingredient has no effect on the flavor of the cheese! Cheese is always good!