7th November 2010, on the menu today...
In my humble opinion, British cheese is as good as it gets and Cheddar, probably one of the most consumed cheeses in the world, is a fine example of why this is. When it comes to such things as omelettes and, particularly, the Great British sandwich Cheddar rules the roost with mild creamy varieties complementing such ingredients as ham and pickle perfectly. Moreover, unlike other cheeses which don't suit the majority of kid's taste buds, the creaminess of younger Cheddars is very child friendly to the point where, without it, many British children would probably not go near cheese. That said, it is not just for sandwiches or children with stronger Cheddars making a fine addition to the cheese board - Cheddar, apple and crackers is a marriage made in heaven. All in all, Cheddar is a great all-rounder that has faithfully served British kitchens for centuries and, no doubt, will continue to do so.
Cheddar is categorised as a hard firm cheese which has a mild creamy characteristic to it when young and an increasingly complex almost nutty one as it matures.
Have you considered...?
Cheddar, like other cheeses, is a great source of calcium, protein and a range of other essential nutrients, including vitamins A, D and B12 - very important for vegetarians as the main dietary source of B12 is meat.
History (as per the Wikipedia entry):
Cheddar cheese has been produced since at least 1170. A pipe roll of King Henry II from that year records the purchase of 10,420 lb at a farthing per pound (£3 per ton). One suggestion is that Romans brought the recipe to Britain from the Cantal region of France, where it was adapted. Cheddar cheese traditionally had to be made within 30 miles (48 km) of Wells Cathedral.
Central to the modernisation and standardisation of Cheddar cheese was the nineteenth century Somerset dairyman Joseph Harding. For his technical developments, promotion of dairy hygiene and unremunerated propagation of modern cheese-making techniques he has been described as the father of Cheddar cheese. Harding introduced new equipment into the process of cheese making, including his "revolving breaker" for curd cutting, saving much manual effort. The "Joseph Harding method" was the first modern system for Cheddar production based upon scientific principles. Harding stated that Cheddar cheese is 'not made in the field, nor in the byre, nor even in the cow, it is made in the dairy', He and his wife were behind the introduction of the cheese into Scotland and North America. Joseph Harding's son, Henry Harding, was responsible for introducing Cheddar cheese production to Australia.
During the Second World War 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 nearly 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, while fewer than 100 remained after the Second World War.
BritishCheese.com (British Cheese Board)
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