Next to Stilton, Cheddar is one of the UK’s favourite cheeses with a history dating back to the 12th century and King Henry II and Daniel Defoe among its high profile supporters; the former claiming it to be the best in Britain and the latter dedicating a whole chapter to this famous cheese in his book ‘A Tour of the Islands of Great Britain’.
Originating in Somerset and taking its name from the village of Cheddar and Cheddar Gorge where it was once matured within the natural caves, this cheese is as popular today as ever. However today Cheddar is no longer only made in Somerset but all over the world resulting in a cheese that varies considerably in texture, flavour and appearance.
In 1996 Westcountry Farmhouse Cheddar was given Protected Designation of Origin status, meaning that it could only be made in the counties of Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. It must also be made to traditional methods such as ‘cheddaring’ where the whey is drained and the curds are stacked together, this is repeated and when matured the cheese will have a dense, crumbly texture. It must be made using locally sourced milk from the makers own farm and should be matured for at least nine months. These strict rules ensure that traditional farmhouse Cheddar remains just that.
During, and for some time after World War II the production of most cheeses was banned by the government due to shortages and rationing. One cheese, nicknamed ‘Government Cheddar’ was permitted, a standardised, bland and tasteless cheese but made in vast quantities to preserve milk. The effect of this was not realised until rationing was lifted in 1954, 3,400 cheese producers had shut down and it was thought that the art of making cheeses had been lost. Luckily for us this was not the case and artisan cheesemakers started to spring up around the country, creating cheddars that reflected the land, the season and the passion of their makers.
We stock a wide range of Cheddar cheeses including Barbers Farmhouse, Taw Valley and Quicke’s Traditional. Try some today and fall in love with cheddar again.
Believe it or not there are some cheeses out there that won’t ruin your diet and will also taste great.
As a nation we consume up to 700,00 tonnes of cheese per year and while cheese contains a number of essential nutrients such as calcium and protein, we can’t get away from its high quantity of saturated fat. Below are a few of our favourite reduced fat cheeses which can still be enjoyed as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Dorset Blue Vinny
Who knew this was low fat! The story of this cheese is that it started off as an efficient way of using up ‘left over’ milk after the cream had been skimmed off for making butter. This means that it has a naturally very low fat content but is still rich in the buttery, creamy flavours you would expect from a blue cheese. Made on Woodbridge Farm, Dorset using the milk from their own herd of Friesian cows this is a delicious cheese with the added bonus of being low fat.
Taw Valley Reduced Fat Cheddar
It’s all in the name for this one! Taw Valley Creamery started developing this reduced fat cheese in response to changing customer needs. It has become very popular as the strong, punchy flavours of traditional Cheddar still come through without the heavy fat content. It is rich, creamy and full of flavour thanks to the time honoured cheese making methods mixed with modern innovations used by the team.
We all know that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest in the world and one of its staples is Feta cheese. It is packed full of nutrients including calcium and vitamin B12 and is relatively low in calories and fat. Feta is a creamy, soft cheese with strong, salty flavours – a little goes a long way here.
Despite its reputation brie is actually lower in fat than standard Cheddar and while this isn’t technically low fat we think every once in a while isn’t too bad. This is made on the Sharpham Estate near Totnes, South Devon using the milk of their own Jersey cattle. It is a creamy brie with unique, buttery flavours.
There you have it, some guilt free, delicious cheeses to keep you smiling this January!
We stock a wide range of delicious cheeses and what better time of year to try something new than Christmas. Spruce up your cheeseboard with some of these great choices.
The Taw Valley range includes something for everyone from creamy Mild to full bodied Tasty or Tickler. Based in North Tawton, Devon master cheesemakers use time honoured methods, high quality milk from surrounding farms and traditional recipes to create great tasting, traditional cheddars.
The Sharpham Estate rustic cheese with garlic and chives is made using milk from their own herd of Jersey cattle. The light and creamy character of the cheese is complimented by fresh pureed garlic and chopped chives. All cheeses are made by hand using traditional cheesemaking practices.
Made by Ford Farm in Dorset, this Wensleydale and Cranberry is always a great addition to any cheeseboard, the sweetness of the cranberries and the creaminess of the cheese go together perfectly for a deliciously full flavour.
Go all out for Christmas with this Apple, Cinnamon and Raisin cheese, a creamy Lancashire with a tangy, fruity taste and slightly crumbly texture.
There are many other cheeses available with both traditional and unusual flavours. Check out our cheese pages for our full range!