Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese is a relatively hard, off-white or orange, sometimes sharp-tasting, natural cheese. Originating in the English village of Cheddar in Somerset. Products of this style are now produced beyond the region and in several countries around the world.

Cheddar is the most popular type of cheese in the UK, accounting for 51% of the country’s £1.9 billion annual cheese market.

The cheese originates from the village of Cheddar in Somerset, south west England. Cheddar Gorge on the edge of the village contains a number of caves. These provided the ideal humidity and steady temperature for maturing the product. The cheese traditionally had to be made within 30 mi of Wells Cathedral.

The term cheddar cheese is widely used, but has no protected designation of origin within the European Union. However, in 2007 a Protected Designation of Origin, “West Country Farmhouse Cheddar”, was created. Only Cheddar produced from local milk within Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall and manufactured traditionally may use the name.

Outside of Europe, the style and quality of cheeses labelled as cheddar may vary greatly, with some processed cheeses being packaged as “cheddar” while bearing little resemblance. Furthermore, certain cheeses that are more similar in taste and appearance to Red Leicester are sometimes marketed as “red Cheddar”.

Cheddar has been produced since at least the 12th century. A pipe roll of King Henry II from 1170 records the purchase of 10,240 lb (4,640 kg) at a farthing per pound (totalling £10.13s.4d). Charles I (1600–1649) also bought cheese from the village. Romans may have brought the recipe to Britain from the Cantal region of France.

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