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At one point in the US I had some Monterey Jack cheese which was tangy and yummy and delicious.

Here in the UK they also sell cheese labelled "Monterey Jack" but it is bland and tasteless and horrid. Are there any other similar cheeses that I could use (for eg melting onto nachos, grating into burritos etc.) that would have that same tang and flavour?

Or any UK-based suppliers of Monterey Jack that is not bland and tasteless? (I tried Sainsburys and Tescos and they are both the same).

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What kind of Monterey Jack did you have? Do you remember the brand? MJ's are cheddars with peppers and onions added by melting the cheese and adding the spices into the mix. Like below, they can vary widely... if your MJ was tangy and smooth it was probably a soft, full fat cheddar base. The savory flavor comes form the pepper mix themselves. –  endowdly Apr 24 '13 at 14:06
@endowdly, I've no idea what brand it was I had - it was a) in a restaurant so I didn't see the packaging and b) about 15 years ago :-) –  Vicky Apr 24 '13 at 14:43
Ah! A lot of restaurants here use velveeta and other oil based cheeses to 'enhance' a block of real cheese. It's a cost saving measure. –  endowdly Apr 24 '13 at 15:37

4 Answers 4

Try Gouda (the pre-grated kind). Melts well and is a decent approximation.

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Semi-hard, made from cow's milk, aged for a few months -- it's essentially cheddar.

There are a wide variety of cheddars in British shops, varying in sharpness, tanginess, nuttiness and creaminess. Try a few and see which one is most like the Monterey Jack in your mind.

Cheddar has the same melting properties as Monterey Jack, so is a good fit for Tex-Mex dishes of the kind you describe.

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Oh, that's a bit disappointing - I should have said, it's cheddar I'm using at the moment. It doesn't have the same melty gooeyness as Monterey Jack, though. Maybe a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella would be better? –  Vicky Apr 24 '13 at 12:02
Try different cheddars. They vary hugely. –  slim Apr 24 '13 at 12:03
Oh, I have tried lots of different ones (I love cheddar!). Some are definitely better than others but none of them are the same as the Monterey Jack I had in the US. –  Vicky Apr 24 '13 at 12:04
@Vicky You'd probably want to find a higher fat, less aged one. But cheddar cheese is, well, cheddared, so it'll probably always be a bit different. –  Jefromi Apr 24 '13 at 15:30

Many cheeses in the US have that melty-gooy property due to some amount of processing that keeps the oils and proteins together in a uniform way after heat has been applied. This may be why you're having trouble finding cheese in the UK that has that same kind of 'melty'-ness, most go through little to no processing. I tend to stick to some kind of cheddar placed under the broiler to get it good and melted. You may have some oil separation, and the texture many not be what you'd expect of, say, nacho cheese, but I find the knowledge that I'm not eating processed food enough of a consolation to forgive it.

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Davidstow cheddar (made in Cornwall) is really tasty, tangy cheddar and melts really well when added to/used in hot dishes - great 'meltability' :)

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