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15 Nov 2020
Somerset's fascinating Facts - Ask someone to name a type of cheese, and chances are they will respond with ‘CHEDDAR’.
One of Somerset's many famous brands!
The rich rolling green hills around the village of Cheddar in Somerset, have been farmed since at least AD 1100 with the earliest reference to Cheddar cheese appearing in 1170, when King Henry II purchased 10,240 pounds of Cheddar from the area (at a farthing per pound).
The source of so much Cheddar cheese in Cheddar, Somerset grew out of the absence of refrigeration or even suitable transportation to sell surplus milk. It was found that if you pressed fresh curd by squeezing out the moisture (whey) with a heavy weight, you achieved a crumbly hardened milk product,
which lasted a lot longer before turning sour.
From these humble beginnings, the product was refined and Cheddar cheese was born. An authentic Cheddar is made from unpasteurised milk taken from cows grazing on the lush green pastures around Cheddar. The cheese is handcrafted and matured in cloth for up to 18 months to allow the sharpness and flavour to emerge.
To taste a true Cheddar and experience its crafting, a visit to the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company is highly recommended. The shop and factory are open most days and provide an insight into this Somerset delight.
This artisan dairy produces its cheese from local milk and handcrafts the cheese before allowing it to mature into a taste sensation.
A display outlines the history of this famous cheese and you can watch it being made, with many varieties of Cheddar available for purchase.
For more on Somerset's incredible history and heritage go to our interactive E Book.
Find out more about the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company here