A popular cheese that originated in the village of Cheddar, England. A firm, cow's milk cheese that ranges in flavor from mild to sharp and in color from a natural white to pumpkin orange. Orange cheddars are colored with annatto, a natural dye. Canadian cheddars are smoother, creamier, and are known for their balance of flavor and sharpness. Cheddars vary in flavor depending on the length of aging and their origin. As cheddar slowly ages, it loses moisture and its texture becomes drier and more crumbly. Sharpness becomes noticeable at 12 months (old cheddar) and 18 months (extra old cheddar). The optimal aging period is 5-6 years; however, for most uses three-year-old cheese is fine and five-year-old cheddar can be saved for special occasions.
Caerphilly is a farmhouse cheese that takes it's name form a Welsh Village. It is buttery and milky tasting, it has a natural gray rind and creamy beige-to-yellow interior. Mild and salty it is one of the most easily digested cheeses.
Cantal is also known as Cantal de Salers and is a French Cheese. Less dense than Cheddar, it's flavor is more refined. When young, Cantal has the sweetness of raw milk, aged has a tangy, buttery flavor.
Cheshire is one of England's oldest cheeses. Cheshire is made from both heat-treated and raw cow's milk. It's texture is loose and crumbly. Cheshire has a milk and lightly salty taste.
Derby is similar to both Cheddar and Cheshire, but softer in texture and more delicate in flavor. Derby is a dense, off white cow's milk cheese with a soft, flaky interior and buttery flavor.
English Cheddar is made in blocks from pasteurized cow's milk. The best English Cheddar is matured for a minimum of nine months. The texture of English Cheddar should be smooth and firm, not crumbly or rubbery.
Gloucester~ Single and Double. Single Gloucester is made from fat-free cow's milk. Best eaten "young"-around 10 weeks of age. Double Gloucester is made from whole milk and is matured for four to eight months. Double is creamier than Single and the taste is not as sharp.
Lancashire is a farmhouse cheese in origin. Cow's milk Lancashire is made in large cylindrical shapes. When young the soft creamy cheese crumbles when sliced. The interior is white and the flavor is mildly lemony. Aged, the interior darkens, the texture becomes firm, and the flavor sharp and mellow.
Leicester is cow's milk cheese originally made using milk left over from the production of Stilton cheese. Carrot juice was used to give the cheese a vibrant orange color. Today the color is achieved using annatto dye. This dry cheese has a nutty flavor.
Tomme de Savoie is a hard French cheese. The rind is "fuzzy". The aroma is earthy, sort of mushroom, grass and caramel mixed together. This cow's milk cheese has a sweet flavor with a citrus tang.
Wensleydale dates back to the Norman Invasion. Originally made with sheep's milk, today it is produced in commercial dairies using cow's milk. It is crumbly, creamy white and has a mild, lightly salted taste.
Contributed by DiB's
Plural: Cheddar cheese
Season: available year-round
How to store: Can be frozen if cut into small 1/2-pound chunks, and wrapped in airtight packaging. Thaw in the refrigerator, and use soon thereafter.
Substitutions: colby, tilamook, cheshire, american cheese