The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company produces the only Cheddar actually made in Cheddar these days. That might not sound anything much to shout about …but it should be. It should be proclaimed with the same national pride as the French promote their own cheeses. Why isn’t it? We have some of the best cheeses in the world but we British seldom recognise the quality of our own foods.
These difficult times have resulted in loss and distress but there have been some positives changes. Both bike riding and working from home have improved the lives of many, and there is now a greater appreciation of local food. That does not mean that one will be eating inferior food, but rather rethinking choices and discovering such things as real Cheddar from Cheddar.
But why is this particular cheese so noteworthy? Apart from the taste and texture it is a style of cheese that has history. The area around the village of Cheddar has long contributed to England’s dairy industry. The earliest references to Cheddar cheese dates from 1170. Cheesemaking was perfected in the Cheddar area, and so the first authentic Cheddar cheese was born.
In December 2006 The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company started maturing some of their cheese in the nearby caves within Cheddar Gorge. The environmental conditions are ideal for cheese maturing: constant temperature, and high humidity. The atmosphere in which the cheese is matured has a huge impact on the finished cheese flavour, texture, and moisture.
Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company have a delicious range of cheeses as well as chutneys and pickles, along with cheese straws for which my husband would murder. It’s summer so a picnic might be in order, and these guys have the most convenient solution to blanket-supported al fresco eating.
Their Summer Picnic Pack is filled with:
1 portion (190g) of Cheddar with Cider, Garlic and Chives. This is a raw milk mellow cheddar and would be the first of the two cheeses on which to snack, with perhaps a glass of chilled fizz as a light tipple.
1 portion (190g) of Traditional Cheddar. This extra mature 15-month-old cheddar is a strong classic raw milk cheddar with a natural rind, which provides a contrast to the softer Cider, Garlic and Chives cheese previously enjoyed. This is mouth-watering and robust, and would work well with a glass of red.
1 box of Cornish Sea Salt Biscuits. These are crunchy and addictive and perfect with any cheese.
1 jar of Red Onion Marmalade. A much-loved condiment for cheese.
1 box of those outstanding Cheese Straws
1 small jar of Chilli Jam, which has become a popular contemporary cheese garnish.
All these goodies are packed in a smart black Cheese Company cool bag, along with a couple of napkins and a reusable ice pack. Neat and practical.
All these products have detailed nutritional labels listing all allergens, but at a glance:
The cheese is made with cow’s milk
The Cheese Straws are made with cheese (milk), flour (wheat) and eggwash (egg)
The Oat Biscuits are made with flour (wheat) and are made in a bakery which handles nuts
Red Onion Marmalade is made with barley malt vinegar