It’s official, here in Britain we’re a nation of cheese lovers. A recent survey conducted by Branston discovered that a third of us regularly eat cheese and that one in ten people reckon they could eat a whole block of cheese in one sitting. This is hardly surprising when you consider that cheese is bought by over 98% of British households and that in a poll taken by the British Cheese Board, it was discovered that we consume a whopping 700,000 tonnes of cheese a year.
From a Cornish Blue, to a Double Gloucester, The UK is known for producing some of the finest cheese in the world. Our nation’s favourite cheese being the classic Cheddar – with over 55% of households purchasing a block of the stuff per week. Taking this into consideration, we’ve accumulated some of the must-visit locations for cheese lovers in the UK to indulge in their cheese passion, and sample some of the best cheeses that the UK has to offer.
Cheddar – Somerset
Seeing as Cheddar is the nation’s favourite cheese – Cheddar Gorge in Somerset should perhaps be the starting point for your cheese tour. Cheddar cheese was first produced in Cheddar (hence the name) but doesn’t actually have a protected designation of origin, so can technically be made anywhere. Nonetheless, you are really going to experience the best you’ll taste in Cheddar. When you visit you can stop by the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company, who produce hundreds of varieties of their own cheddar. You can tour the factory and even try samples of all their delicious cheeses. You can even take a tour of the famous Cheddar Gorge Caves to see the cave matured cheddar for yourself followed by a visit to one of Cheddar’s many eateries to get yourself a traditional West Country Ploughmans accompanied by a glass or traditional West Country Cider of course!
Stilton – Cambridgeshire
Stilton is a village parish in Cambridgeshire and the location that rightfully known ‘king of cheeses. ’Blue stilton originates from a village south of Peterborough and has been produced and eaten for up to 300 years with early records claiming a food called ‘stilton’ being eaten in the 18th century. A recipe from the time referred to a ‘hard pressed and cooked cheese’ preserved for many months before being eaten. Daniel Defoe called it the ‘English Parmesan.’ The cheese was sold from the famous Bell Inn and sold all over the region. Production ceased in the village during the 18th century and was subsequently produced in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. Stilton has a certification trademark and can only be made in these places. It makes for an excellent dessert cheese and is frequently enjoyed by many Brits during the festive period with a glass of port.
Wensleydale – Yorkshire
Wensleydale is perhaps one of the most synonymous cheeses with the UK. known for its crumbly, moist texture and creamy acidic taste, its origins date back to 1150 – first made in the region by French Cistercian monks from the Roquefort area who had settled in Wensleydale. If you come and visit, the Wensleydale Creamery is a must place to visit, part theme park, museum, visitor centre and cheese factory. If you visit you can sample the hundreds of cheeses on offer and find out about the regions rich cheese-making history. This is sure to be a fantastic experience for any cheese lover.
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