Cheddar cheese is a type of hard cheese that is made from cow's milk. Its origin can be traced back to the village of Cheddar in Somerset, south west England. Cheddar Gorge on the edge of the village contained a number of caves, which provided the ideal humidity and steady temperature for maturing the cheese. Here are 10 more interesting facts about cheddar cheese:
1. The name “cheddar cheese” isn't protected by the European Union so it is used worldwide. However, only cheddar produced from local milk within four counties of South West England may use the name “West Country Farmhouse Cheddar."
2. Queen Victoria received a giant wheel of cheddar cheese weighing 450 kg (1,000 lb) as a wedding gift!
3. The natural color of cheddar cheese generally ranges from white to pale yellow. However, the colour is usually made a brighter yellow using annatto, a natural, plant-based food coloring.This colouring is used to cloak color variations in milk that may arise from seasonal changes in the cow's diet.
4. Joseph Harding, a Somerset dairyman, is credited as the "father of cheddar cheese" because of his contributions to the modernisation and standardisation of cheddar cheese.
5. In 1851, the first cheese factory was opened in upstate New York, and it specialized in none other than cheddar.
6. The largest cheese sculpture in the world is made from cheddar cheese. It was carved in 2018 by Erik Acquistapace, Sarah Kaufmann and Kerry Henning (all Americans) in Covington, Louisiana, USA.
7. According to expert research, Cheddar cheese is the world’s most popular variety of cheese, and the most studied type of cheese in scientific publications.
8. Cheddar cheese employs a process called "cheddaring," in which milk curds are heated, cut and stacked. The stacks are then turned periodically and re-stacked.
9. Cheddar cheese is typically aged one and one-half to two years with the earliest harvest ideally possible happening at about three to six months.
10. The state of Wisconsin produces the most cheddar cheese in the United States. It is not a far stretch to say that the entire United States loves cheddar; the US President Andrew Jackson once held an open house party at the White House at which he served a 640 kg (1,400 lb) block of Cheddar cheese!