Cheddar cheese

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Cheddar cheese is a relatively hard, yellow to off-white, and sometimes sharp-tasting cheese originally made in the English village of Cheddar in Somerset.[1] Cheddar cheese is the most popular cheese in the United Kingdom, accounting for 51% of the country's £1.9 billion annual cheese market.[2] In 2008, the UK produced 258,000 tons of Cheddar cheese.[3] It is the second most popular cheese in the USA (behind Mozzarella), with an average annual consumption of 10 lb (4.5 kg) per capita.[4] In 2009, the USA produced 3,207,440,000 lb (1,454,870 t).[5]

Cheddar cheese is produced in many countries across the world, but only cheese produced in the English counties of Somerset, Devon, Dorset, and Cornwall may be given the EU Protected Designation of Origin name "West Country farmhouse Cheddar".[6]

Contents

History

The cheese originates from the village of Cheddar in Somerset, South West England. Cheddar Gorge on the edge of the village contains a number of caves, which provided the ideal humidity and constant temperature for maturing the cheese.[3] Cheddar has been produced since at least the 12th century. A pipe roll of King Henry II from 1170 records the purchase of 10,420 lb (4,730 kg) at a farthing per pound (UK£2.30 per ton).[7] Charles I (1600–1649) also bought cheese from the village.[3] One suggestion is that Romans brought the recipe to Britain from the Cantal region of France.[8] Cheddar cheese traditionally had to be made within 30 miles (48 km) of Wells Cathedral.[1]

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