Cheddar cheese is a fairly hard, pale yellow to orange, sharp-tasting cheese originating from the English village of Cheddar, in Somerset. Although Cheddar cheese is originally English, it is also widely produced in other countries, including Ireland, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada.
In England, Cheddar tends to have a sharp, pungent flavour, often slightly earthy. Its texture is firm, with farmhouse traditional cheddar being slightly crumbly. It is always a pale yellow colour, and food colourings are not used. In parts of the United States and Canada, annatto, extracted from the tropical achiote tree, is used to give Cheddar cheese a deep orange colour. The origins of this practice have been long since forgotten, but the three leading theories appear to be:
- to allow the cheese to have a consistent colour from batch to batch
- to assist the purchaser in identifying the type of cheese when it is unlabelled
- to identify the cheese's region of origin (i.e., not from Cheddar).
Make your own Cheddar cheese
Have a go at making your own Cheddar cheese with our Cheddar cheese recipe here.
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