What is West County Cloth Wrapped Cheddar?
Cheddar is the UK’s biggest, I mean BIGGEST, cheese. At 2019, the UK cheese market was give or take £2.8bn, and cheddar nearly exactly half. Nothing else comes close. But to say that the cheddar we see on supermarket shelves is made in the way it used to be near the original town of Cheddar is far from correct.
West Country Cloth Wrapped Cheddar is Old School Cheddar, the cheddar that made cheddar famous. But the production of it is tiny. We are talking less than 1,000 tonnes from all producers together, compared to nearly 50,000 tonnes of Cathedral City alone (also made in the West Country). So what is West County Cloth Wrapped Cheddar? Come and find out.
Why have West County Cloth Wrapped Cheddar on your table?
Here are six good reasons:
- Cheddar is the most popular cheese in the UK, and second most poplar cheese in the world
- West County Cloth Wrapped Cheddar is the original cheese
- West County Cloth Wrapped Cheddar is much more characterful on the cheeseboard than a block of yellow cheese
- West County Cloth Wrapped Cheddar has more complexity than your average cheddar
- Cheddar is a strong cheese, enough to hold its own with big wines and after big dinners
- It’s one of the classic 3: cheddar, stilton and brie and your guests will love it
Charlie’s top tips: How to buy a good piece of Cheddar
Here are my two golden rules:
- Always taste before you buy (if you can)
All cheeses are affected by their whole journey, not just who made them. The season of make, the weather on the day, who by and how they were matured, how long they will in the chill chain (chilled transport system) for.
- Buy your wedge cut off from a big cheese (if you can)
All cheeses like to stay whole as long as possible. Pre-pack is never as good, head to the deli counter.
Is Cheddar suitable for pregnant and immunity fragile people?
Check the NHS guidelines which are good.
For people willing to take my advice, any hard cheese over three months old can not support listeria, the dominant bacteria of concern for pregnant people. Cheddar is a hard cheese more than three months old, so I go for it. Alternatively, if you prefer the “is it pasteurised” test for safety, check the label. There are both pasteurised and unpasteurised cloth wrapped cheddars. Quickes is a good example of a good pasteurised traditional cheddar.