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Cheddar. A Great British Cheese

Updated on February 6, 2010

Cheddar. A Great British Cheese



Cheddar is a firm yellow cheese which is available in three varieties, mild, medium and mature with a distinctive sharp taste which amplifies with age. This ranges from the mildest cheddars which have a soft pliable texture and a pale off-white colour, to the darker most mature or vintage cheddars with a harder, more crumbly texture and a mouth watering resonance.



Cheddar is an extremely versatile cheese and is perfect in sandwiches, on its own with a salad, grated over soups, made into a sauce or melted over all manner of hot snacks.



Traditional farmhouse cheddar comes from the village of Cheddar in Somerset, where it has been matured for centuries in the caves around Cheddar and Wells. The earliest recorded reference to cheddar is from the accounts of Henry the Eighth in 1170 AD, who purchased 10,420 Lb’s of the cheese for his household, though many believe that the recipe was imported from Central France by the Roman Conquerors.



Cheddar gets its unique and distinctive flavour from a process simply known as “cheddaring”. During this process the curd is first heated, kneaded with salt and then cut into cubes and stacked to drain off the whey. The cheese is then pressed and was traditionally wrapped in larded cloth which protected the cheese whilst allowing it to “breath”, then left to mature for up to fifteen months at a constant, cool temperature.


Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Cheddar cheese sauce is both simple and extremely versatile. It can be poured over pasta, cauliflower or sliced potatoes and baked in the oven for a warming winter dish, served on steamed vegetables to give them an extra bite, or as an accompaniment to white fish.



1 oz butter or margarine

1 oz flour

¾ to 1 pint of milk

1 tsp English mustard

2-3 tbsp grated cheddar cheese



Melt the butter in a saucepan over a moderate heat, then stir in the flour until it forms a thick paste and the butter or margarine has been absorbed. Raise the heat and slowly add the milk about half a cup at a time, stirring constantly. When the sauce forms a creamy consistency stop adding the milk. Stir in the grated cheese and mustard until the cheese has melted and the sauce is then ready to serve.



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    • profile image

      Little Nell 8 years ago

      Great hub! Agree with Hugh, though confess to liking a mature Gouda as well.

    • Hugh Chism profile image

      Hugh Chism 8 years ago

      I love Cheddar cheese, it's very hard to find a decent one here in Holland since M&S closed down. You can't beat grilled Cheddar on toast with lots of black pepper!