Singletons Mature Cheddar Cheese
Cheddar cheese is a relatively hard and off-white (or orange if spices such as annatto are added) in color. Sometimes it can be a “sharp” (i.e., acidic) tasting, natural cheese. Originating in the English village of Cheddar in Somerset, cheeses of this style are a favourite through out the world.
Cheddar is the most popular type of cheese in the UK, accounting for 51 percent of the country’s £1.9 billion annual cheese market. It is also the second-most-popular cheese in the U.S.A. (behind mozzarella), with an average annual consumption of 10 lb (4.5 kg) per capita. The United States produced 3,233,380,000 lb (1,443,470 long tons; 1,466,640 tonnes) in 2010, and the UK 258,000 long tons (262,000 tonnes) in 2008. The term “Cheddar cheese” is widely used, but has no Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) within the European Union. However, only Cheddar produced from local milk within four counties of South West England may use the name “West Country Farmhouse Cheddar”. Cheddar produced in Orkney is registered as protected geographical indication (PGI) under the name “Orkney Scottish Island Cheddar.”
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, which provided the ideal humidity and steady temperature for maturing the cheese. Traditional Cheddar cheese originates from an area within 30 miles (48 km) of Wells Cathedral.
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 (totaling £10.13s.4d, about £10.67 in decimal currency). Charles I (1600–1649) also bought cheese from the village. Romans may have brought the recipe to Britain from the Cantal region of France.
During the Second World War, and for nearly a decade after, most milk in Britain was used for the making of one single kind of cheese nicknamed “government Cheddar” as part of war economies and rationing. This almost resulted in wiping out all other cheese production in the country. Before the First World War there were more than 3,500 cheese producers in Britain; fewer than 100 remained after the Second World War.
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