A full flavoured, moist cheddar with a
slightly sharp edge.
Although cheddar for most people is the
second name for cheese, few of them will have tasted the real farmhouse
version. In fact there are less than 20 farms in the West Country making
the cheese and only a small number of these use unpasteurised milk. Happily
though, production of this type is once again on the up, due to the growing
intolerance of plastic-wrapped cheddar imitations.
Cheddar was considered a luxury in the
17th and 18th centuries and at the turn of the 19th Century. However,
due to the work of Joseph Harding and with the invention of the cheese
mill, production volumes increased, making cheddar available to everyone.
Joseph Harding was considered by many to be the forefather of modern farmhouse
cheddar production. He experimented with many methods before finding the
one that has now become the benchmark for all cheddar makers. Traditional
cheddar owes its consistency to a process known as cheddaring. This is
when the curds are slowly drained to remove as much moisture as possible,
giving the resulting cheese a smooth closed texture cheese that shouldn't
crumble when cut.
Traditional cheddar making was once a huge
industry in the South West. In 1939 514 farms in this region were registered
as making cheddar. During the Second World War, all the milk produced
was sent to factories to make 'Government Cheddar', and commercial production
of other cheeses was not possible. After the War, production of farmhouse
Cheddar had dropped considerably and by 1974 the number of farms was down
to just 33.
Green's cheddar comes from one of farms
and has been making farmhouse cheddar for three generations. Mr Green
uses milk from his own Fresian herd to make the cheese that has been a
celebrity on several occasions. His cheddar was enjoyed by the Queen during
the Silver Jubilee celebrations. Also, in 1989, the Greens recreated a
giant half-ton cheddar which was made for Queen Victoria on her wedding
day. At that time, the Queen was 'not amused' by the cheese, and complained
of lack of taste. Fortunately, Mr Green's cheddar went down a lot better
at the 'Food and Farming Year' celebrations.
Green's cheddar is made with full-fat (48%)
unpasteurised cow's milk using vegetarian rennet. A very versatile cheese,
it has a wonderfully full flavour that makes it perfect for the cheeseboard.
Enjoyed by the locals in Somerset with bread and cider, it can also be
accompanied by a full-bodied red wine.
Each cheese is approximately 25kg in weight,
and comes in a drum-shaped truckle, measuring roughly 35cm in diameter
and 25cm high. It is matured in bandages of buttered cheese cloth, which
are removed to reveal a tough rind. In fact the rind used to be used for
teething babies. The paste has a firm, closed texture. There is a sharp
tang to the flavour, and the smell of a freshly cut cheese is simply wonderful.