A Wisconsin cheesemaker is debuting a 20-year-old cheddar this week that's short in supply and big on price.
The cheddar from Hook's Cheese Co. of Mineral Point goes on sale Friday for $209 a pound. Most of the 450-pound supply is already spoken for, with orders coming in after the planned sale went public earlier this year, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.
"It's like a milestone in the cheese industry," said Ken Monteleone, owner of an artisan cheese shop in Madison.
There's about of 20 pounds of the cheddar that's unaccounted for, said cheesemaker Tony Hook. The company will sell it starting Friday at its store and Saturday at a farmers market in Madison.
Tony and Julie Hook are giving $40,000 from the cheese sale to the Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
"The dairy center has done so much good, we're trying to help," Tony Hook said. "They're helping future generations and even our generation now."
Although the price of the cheddar is steep, it's fair because the Hooks could've sold it long ago, according to cheese retails and restaurant owners.
"It's really saying something that he took care of this cheese for 20 years," said Steve Ehlers, co-owner of a market outside of Milwaukee.
Tony Hook isn't planning to make any more 20-year cheddar, he said, adding that he might set aside some of the current 10- to 12-year cheddar. His company's cheeses are made moist enough that they remain creamy and flavorful even as they crumble and harden with age, Hook said.
"Who knows?" he said. "Maybe if you aged it 100 years it would be a solid rock and you'd have to lick it to see what it tasted like."