There have always been a number of cheeses produced in the UK and for centuries, it has been a part of British history and folklore – remember the tale of the wise man of Gotham and the cheeses? Recent years however, have added many more to this number and there are probably over 700 different kinds of British cheeses today.
The most popular cheese probably in the world and it has a centuries-old history in the UK. Cheddar Cheese could be made anywhere in the world as it is today but it will always have a British flavour to it. It gets its name because the Cheddar Gorge in Somerset was used to store it to mature. The man behind Cheddar Cheese was Joseph Harding, a dairyman who brought technology into the art of cheesemaking. He introduced a process which is now called cheddaring whereby the curd is salted and then cut and cubed, after which the whey is drained. It is then stacked for maturing. The cheese is fir, slightly crumbly with a slightly tangy taste.
The variants are: Mild Cheddar, Medium Cheddar, Mature Cheddar and Vintage Cheddar – classified by the amount of time they are left to mature. The recognized cheddar – though it is made globally is the West Country Farmhouse Cheddar.
Yet another famous British cheese, Cheshire Cheese has long since been made in Cheshire and in two other counties In England ass two in Wales. It takes its salty taste from the areas rich in salt deposits where it is made. Time was when it was England’s cheese and the Royal Navy used to stuff their ships with stores of this cheese.
This moist, crumbly semi-hard cheese has, as we stated, a salty taste and comes in three variants – red, white and blue. The white is the original and is still the largest seller. The red is really an orange colour that is so because it has been dyed with annatto, a natural colour and the blue has blue veins running through it.
There’s a legend behind this cheese that says that the monks who came with William the Conqueror brought the recipe all the way from France. This cheese is not aged too much and is usually eaten after a couple of months.
White Stilton is protected and can only be made in three counties – Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. This cheese has a wonderful tangy taste and is slightly crumbly. It’s a younger cheese than Blue Stilton.
It may have blue veins but it definitely isn’t from Shropshire – in fact, it is a cheese from Scotland. This soft cheese is orange in colour with blue veins running through it. It has a sharp tangy taste and it is matured for around six to eight weeks.