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12-28-2005, 05:17 PM
Jack Cheese, Monterey Jack

Jack cheese, or Monterey Jack cheese is a cooked, semi-soft whole milk or skim milk cheese. When aged or dry it resembles Cheddar, but when soft and unaged it is similar to Muenster in flavor. Aged varieties are usually found only locally in California, but the softer variety and a soft version with jalapeno peppers (Pepper Jack or Jalapeno Jack) are widely available throughout the U.S.

Sonoma Jack is made in Sonoma County, California. Jack cheese has a high moisture content, melts easily, and has a bland, buttery flavor.

The most widely told story of its origin, is that it was first made in Monterey, California and named for 19th century California land owner David Jacks.

While it is unclear who exactly deserves credit for first making Monterey Jack, there are several 19th century Monterey figures who compete for the honor. One name mentioned frequently is Senora Juana Cota de Boronda, a Monterey cheesemaker in the mid-1800s who sold her cheeses door-to-door to provide for her 15 children and crippled husband. She called her cheese by its traditional name, "queso del pais."

Enter David Jacks, a Scottish immigrant to New York City who boarded a ship that brought him to California in 1849, where he sold dry goods to gold miners. Jacks soon ended up in Monterey, where he quickly demonstrated his business prowess. By 1852, he was on his way to becoming one of Monterey County's largest landowners and one of its richest residents.

He also acquired some notoriety for his dealings with property owners whose land he acquired, especially for the lawsuits that frequently ensued. Jacks was quick to lend money, often to insolvent borrowers who secured loans with land, and was reputedly equally quick when it came to foreclosures. One favorite tale, perhaps more colorful than credible, has Jacks foreclosing on the city of Monterey via questionable methods, then being forced to return the city by its outraged citizens.

[ 12-28-2005, 05:21 PM: Message edited by: LeeG ]

12-28-2005, 05:23 PM
Sonoma Jack is made in Sonoma County The locals prefer Vella Cheese (http://www.vellacheese.com/). They are around the corner from the Sonoma square, and have been making cheese since 1931. During WW-II, their dry jack was used as a substitute for Parmesan.

[ 12-28-2005, 05:27 PM: Message edited by: Jagermeister ]

12-28-2005, 05:31 PM
Jack belongs in chile rellenos but otherwise it's just a plain white cheese.
Pt. Reyes has some good blue cheese.

12-28-2005, 05:40 PM
"Good blue cheese" is an oxymoron! :D

Leon m
12-28-2005, 06:10 PM
"California Cheese"...Bah ha ha ! tongue.gif

12-28-2005, 06:53 PM
hey, it's Pt. Reyes, that's different than Barstow or Bakersfield