Gransnet forums


In defence of cheddar cheese

(79 Posts)
giulia Sun 17-Nov-19 08:12:05

Living out of the UK, a good piece of Cheddar is one of the things I miss most.

My kind butcher/delicatessen, at my request, has brought some into his shop (E32/kg my dears!). It is an award-winning west country variety and is almost orange.

Hence my problem: my Italian family and friends refuse to taste it. They say it must contain food colouring to be that colour! I am sure this is not so but it is true that all Italian/French cheeses are all pale.

I read somewhere that it is carotene which causes the colour but surely the cows don't eat carrots!

If I remember rightly, Leicester cheese is almost red.

How do I explain this orange colouring?

Ps: I saw some sliced, packaged "cheddar" here in a supermarket - it was made in Belgium!

Whitewavemark2 Sun 17-Nov-19 08:15:49

Just googled it.

The colour comes from a seed from a tree grown in Mexico.


Yorksherlass Sun 17-Nov-19 08:18:00

Me too,

MawB Sun 17-Nov-19 08:21:31

Paws cousin Jamie makes the incomparable Montgomery’s Cheddar which is not red.
A story I liked was that pieces of cheddar would be sold on the WI stall at the nearby farmers market and any that were not considered good enough, went to Tesco as Tesco’s Finest.

DanniRae Sun 17-Nov-19 08:22:48

I wouldn't worry about your family and friends trying it - I'd keep it all to myself!! grin

MaizieD Sun 17-Nov-19 08:34:39

I've never understood why Cheddar had to be coloured orange, a completely unneccssary addition which does nothing at all to the taste.

I'd just eat that one yourself and ask your lovely butcher to get some undyed Cheddar next time.

Urmstongran Sun 17-Nov-19 09:31:32

That made me smile Maw

Paperbackwriter Sun 17-Nov-19 09:38:52

How strange - I don't think I've ever seen orange Cheddar! My favourite hard cheese is Yarg, which is made by a friend of mine. She was awarded an MBE recently for 'services to cheese'.

Happygirl79 Sun 17-Nov-19 09:39:16

I am a cheesaholic
Any cheese
Any time
I don't think cheddar is dyed at all
Its orange because of the ingredients

4allweknow Sun 17-Nov-19 10:02:21

Keep it for yourself sure it can be frozen. Personally I won't touch the coloured cheddar either,always the white one for me, and has to be very mature.

tanith Sun 17-Nov-19 10:11:14

I’ve never seen orange Cheddar either, it’s pale and very mature for me too. It’s my favourite.

Witzend Sun 17-Nov-19 10:11:56

None of the really good, strong Cheddar I buy (including West Country) is orange-coloured. Why do the producers think it necessary to add colouring, I wonder? That is assuming that the colour doesn't come from something local that the cows eat.

Talking of foreigners liking it or not, though, my dd's big wedding do was in France. One food item (provided by us) was a cheese 'cake' consisting of rounds of different cheeses, the bottom layer being a large round West Country Cheddar.

On the morning after the big day, I found one of the caterers who'd come to clear, trying some of the leftover bottom layer. She said it was 'tres bon' and asked me what sort of cheese it was!

Gonegirl Sun 17-Nov-19 10:18:25

Do we get orange cheddar in this country? Isn't it more an American thing? I've never seen any.

From googling, the cows get less carotene from hay which they are fed in winter, than they get from the grass in Summer.

OP, carotene is not only from carrots. grin

MaizieD Sun 17-Nov-19 10:19:27

I'd never seen orange cheddar until I moved north of Watford. All the Cheddar I'd ever eaten/bought/seen in Essex (*loads of it*) was natural coloured. I was utterly amazed to be offered white or coloured cheddar in Yorkshire... Is it something to to with cultural differences?

Gonegirl Sun 17-Nov-19 10:20:16

I don't know how our farmers keep it the same colour all year round. But they seem to. confused

Gonegirl Sun 17-Nov-19 10:21:07

Yes - I seem to remember seeing it when we've been on holiday up North. Never see it down here in the South.

Jane10 Sun 17-Nov-19 10:22:04

There seems to a range of shades of orange cheddar. I like the milder kind and associate the stronger flavoured ones with the darker colour.

Gonegirl Sun 17-Nov-19 10:22:14

So, they must add annato to red leicester as well. Doesn't annato come from beetroots, so it's harmless.

Gonegirl Sun 17-Nov-19 10:22:58

Do you get white Leicester? confused

HannahLoisLuke Sun 17-Nov-19 10:23:01

I remember when on holiday in France we were at the cheese counter in the local supermarket and my ex got chatting to a couple of French ladies about wanting to buy some Cheddar.
"Chedaaar!" They said "it's for cooking only"

Gonegirl Sun 17-Nov-19 10:23:20

I'm overthinking this now. grin

EllieB52 Sun 17-Nov-19 10:23:42

Scottish Cheddar is orange. Felt a bit weird seeing it grated over a jacket potato in a cafe. However, they do sell the usual white stuff in the supermarkets. The orange colour is natural colouring although I don’t know why they want it to be orange. I love cheese but not eating at the moment as I have to get my cholesterol down ☹️

Gonegirl Sun 17-Nov-19 10:24:09

Well, it is very good for cooking. But it's excellent in sarnies as well. grin Specially with a bit of pickle.

MaizieD Sun 17-Nov-19 10:24:28

I don't find the carotene explanation very convincing. That would mean that all cheeses would vary in colour according to the season surely? But I've never seen coloured Wensleydale, for instance. Or coloured cheese in France..

Gonegirl Sun 17-Nov-19 10:25:43

No - they would never doctor their precious Wensleydale! Hawes Creamery folk would have a fit.