About 333,000 tons of cheddar are produced in the UK per year. Cheddar constitutes 46% ($1.45 billion) of the UK market by value.
Although cheddar is produced in other parts of the world, the village of Cheddar is where it was invented. Records of cheese production here go back to the 11th century.
The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company is the only traditional dairy in the village.
We visited to find out how it’s produced and stored in nearby Gough’s Cave.
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The earliest record of cheddar anywhere is at Cheddar, in Somerset, in 1170 . The land around this village has been at the heart of English cheesemaking since the 15th century. Today, as many Cheddar producers have upscaled and require more land, there is only one traditional cheesemaker left in the village.
To get the official Protected Designation of Origin label West Country Farmhouse Cheddar, the cheese has to be made in one of the four counties: Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. The cheese must be made from milk from grazing herds no more than 30 miles from the farm. It has to be made from a traditional recipe. The curds need to be turned by hand. And it must be aged to a minimum of nine months.
The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company produces 60 tons of cheese each year. It takes about 10 liters of milk to make 1 kilogram of cheddar.
The cave aged cheddar is stored in Gough’s Cave in the Mendip Hills. The constant temperature and humidity — nearly 98% — provide perfect conditions in which to mature cloth-bound cheese.
The company is the first one in recent memory to reintroduce cheddar cheese back into a natural cave environment to mature. But they have since opted out of the PDO protection, saying that it does not go far enough to protect traditional methods.
Produced by Ju Shardlow
Source:: Business Insider