Mezzo Secco (Partially Dry Monterey Jack)
Mezzo Secco represents Vella Cheese Company's attempt to return to the 1930s. The genesis for this cheese lies in the need for a soft or medium soft cheese to hold up during the hot summer months in an "ice box." In California from the 1920's thru 1946, mechanical household refrigerators were found only in the homes of the wealthy, or in commercial establishments. The majority of households by far had iceboxes that were cooled by a melting block of ice. When summer weather came, milk and butter were placed directly onto the ice box, and other foods that needed cooling--including fresh cheese--were left to fend for themselves in the adjoining compartment.
Consumers requested a firmer fresh Jack that would not get runny, yet was not as firm as dry Monterey Jack. A midway formula evolved, hence Mezzo Secco, and was offered for sale from May to October.
At the end of World War II, when mechanical household refrigeration became cheaply available, Vella stopped making Mezzo Secco.
But, in 1999, Vella revived Mezzo Secco, and were awarded a silver medal in the US Cheese Championships. Mezzo Secco continues to earn national and international recognition. Mezzo Secco is aged a minimum of four to seven months. Coated in a fine layer of pungent black pepper, this medium-dry version of Ig Vella's famous Dry Jack has a smooth, creamy texture that fills your mouth with sweet milk and spice.