Cheddar cheese has been made in the shadow of the Mendip Hills, near to the Cheddar Gorge, since the 16th century. William Camden wrote that it was a "prodigious
cheese of delicate taste." These days it is also made in Wiltshire, Dorset and elsewhere.
APPEARANCE: White. FLAVOUR: Mellow. AGED FOR APPROX: 3 months.
This famous cheese has been manufactured in the county of Cheshire since the Middle Ages. White, red or blue veined, it has a loose and crumbly texture, with a salty, tangy flavour.
TYPE 1: APPEARANCE: Red, white & crumbly. FLAVOUR: Mellow. AGE WHEN READY FOR EATING: 3 months.
TYPE 2: APPEARANCE: Blue. FLAVOUR: Rich & creamy. AGED FOR APPROX: 6 months.
This cheese is a pale honey colour. A popular variety is Sage Derby, which is marbled and flavoured with green sage.
APPEARANCE: White, buttery & open. FLAVOUR: Tangy. AGED APPROX: 6 weeks.
DORSET BLUE VINNY
This is quite a rare cheese, virtually unknown outside England. It is very very... pungent.
APPEARANCE: Blue & crumbly. FLAVOUR: Strong & rich. AGED APPROX: 4-6 months.
This cheese comes from Gloucester (oh really?)and was once garlanded and paraded round the town during May Day processions. Charles Lamb thought it to be without rival as a supper cheese. The small single Gloucester is seldom found these days.
APPEARANCE: Pale straw colour, buttery & open. FLAVOUR: Mellow and full. AGED APPROX: 3-4 months.
These days most Lancashire is mild and crumbly but there is a more traditional variety available which is moist with a sharp tang.
APPEARANCE: White, buttery & crumbly. FLAVOUR: Mild. AGED APPROX: 4-8 weeks.
Leicester is like a large millstone in shape, with a mild, mellow flavour and a russet hue. Especially tasty with Port and walnuts.
APPEARANCE: Red, buttery & open. FLAVOUR: Medium strong. AGED APPROX: 10-12 weeks.
Stilton, known as the king of English cheeses by those wont to say such things, is difficult to manufacture and is normally made by devout enthusiasts. It comes from Melton Mowbray, Hartington, in the Dove Valley and from the Vale of Belvoir. It is made from whole milk with cream added; starting out as White Stilton, then maturing into the world famous Blue - which was first sold over a century ago to coach passangers stopping off at the Bell Inn, Stilton Village, on the Great North Road.
TYPE 1: APPEARANCE: White & open. FLAVOUR: Mild. AGED APPROX: 3 weeks.
TYPE 2: APPEARANCE: Blue & open. FLAVOUR: Rich & mellow. AGED APPROX: 3-6 months.
This cheese has a wonderfully rich after taste. Cistercian monks of Jervaulx Abbey brought their cheese to Wensleydale many centuries ago. However, when Henry VIII pillaged their monastery, the monks fled, leaving their recipe with local farmers' wives.
TYPE 1: APPEARANCE: White & fairly close. FLAVOUR: Mild & slightly salty. AGED APPROX: 3 weeks.
TYPE 2: APPEARANCE: Blue, soft & close. FLAVOUR: Rich, sweet and creamy. AGED: 6 months.