Ark of Taste
Dry Monterey Jack Cheese
California’s Dry Monterey Jack Cheese is dulcet and mellow with a bold nutty flavor. The cheese’s exotic mingle of flavors originates with milk from grass-fed cows, which is hand formed into eight-pound wheels. The mixture is placed in muslin sacks, cured in brine and then rubbed with oil, pepper, and cocoa – producing a near-black coating – that acts as a natural preservative. Unlike regular Jack, Dry Monterey Jack cheese undergoes an extensive aging process, which generates gallant, intense flavors as the cheese ages and hardens – a period ranging from about seven to ten months.
The resulting cheese is firm, pale yellow and has a texture similar to Parmesan.
According to legend, Dry Monterey Jack cheese was accidentally created during World War I, when D. F. DeBernardi, a San Francisco cheese wholesaler, left some of his oversupply of Monterey Jack in storage too long, resulting in a hard, flakey version of Jack. He discovered that this dry version has a pleasant yet strong flavor. This innovation came at a perfect historical moment for the commercial merchant, as World War I interrupted shipments of Parmesan and Romano. DeBernardi found a market for his flavorful California hard cheese, which he conveniently named Dry Jack.
Today, Dry Monterey Jack is considered one of the US' finest cheese. Its production is centered in Sonoma Country, primarily from the Vella Cheese Company and the Sonoma Chesses Factory.