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In defence of cheddar cheese

(80 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!

Margs Mon 18-Nov-19 11:24:51

They should see the colour of ShropShire Blue - almost DayGlo orange! But the best blue cheese ever, IMHO.

NotSpaghetti Mon 18-Nov-19 11:14:27

Has anyone seen any of the Doolin cheeses recently? I found them in Ireland, loved them, and later (for a while), my local Tesco stocked one of them.
Would certainly like some again!

Granless Mon 18-Nov-19 07:44:23

Shropshire Blue for me ......... yummy! I do like Cheddar but only as cheese on toast.

BradfordLass72 Mon 18-Nov-19 06:39:12

I have always detected an unpleasant amoniac taste in Brie and Camembert, until I ate it in France.

They don't pasteurise their milk before making it, which I was told by a cheese expert, is what gives the Brie its 'wet nappy' tang.

What GabriellaG54 describes above is also my ideal and in fact when pregnant with my 2nd son, had a months-long craving for exactly that (sans dates) with crusty wholemeal rolls.

We can buy genuine French cheese here but at 4 times the price of the NZ version.

There are also many artisan cheese makers here and I once did a tour of them and spent a fortune in Kaiwaka Cheese Shop. I could easily live in that place!

GabriellaG54 Mon 18-Nov-19 04:21:39

Red Fox is a great red cheese from Waitrose.
I'm a cheese aficianado (more enthusiastic than knowledgeable) but do not like Brie.
Years ago I had some nettle cheese in Wales which was wonderful.
We're so lucky to have such choice in foods from all around the world but it's hard to beat a well baked, crusty baguette, premium butter, a selection of cheeses, grapes and dates plus wine if you're a drinker and water if not. Live like a king...or queen.

GabriellaG54 Mon 18-Nov-19 04:07:35

Montgomery cheddar is somewhat expensive in the amounts I buy but IMO, the best.
Superb after dinner with grapes, pears, dates.
I had some extraordinary cheese at a dinner party given by an Italian friend, at which the usual customs of her country of birth were observed as far as the order of dishes served.
The cheese was a pale cream, quite brittle and only a knuckle was apportioned to each guest with water biscuits.
I think it was brought to the UK after one her trips 'home'.
Montgomery cheddar is the closest taste and texture to that aforementioned cheese.
Delish...😋

glammagran Sun 17-Nov-19 22:43:54

I absolutely love Epoisses soft french cheese. Youngest DD says it smells so awful she can’t open our fridge if I have it in.

M0nica Sun 17-Nov-19 22:24:02

Now the cheese I really miss - and rarely see- is green cheese, that wonderful cheese called Sage Derby. In the past I seem to remember the cheese being marbled in green but the only one I have seen recently looks more like a sandwich, a thin layer of green in the middle between two great chunks of white cheese.

Magpie1959 Sun 17-Nov-19 22:12:47

I'm amazed that red cheddar is an unknown to so many GN's - its in every supermarket, artisan markets, farmers markets etc etc here in the North West. For the cheese snobs its even in the local "Cheese Emporium"
Its a lovely colour - I eat either white or red, I've never known any different.
In Canada one of their favourite cheeses is red and white cheddar in stripes - its a very mild variety which is quite rubbery, not one of my favourites!

Callistemon Sun 17-Nov-19 19:45:43

I was brought up very north of Watford Maizie and don't ever remember seeing orange Cheddar.

It just doesn't sound right.

Having eaten so much cheese today when we were out, DH declined cheese and biscuits for his supper.

Callistemon Sun 17-Nov-19 19:41:39

EllanVannin my dad always ate Danish Blue.

Callistemon Sun 17-Nov-19 19:40:57

We had some lovely brie today, a whole small one.
Lidl apparently.

Well I didn't eat a whole one, obviously, there were several of us!

Callistemon Sun 17-Nov-19 19:39:24

The red colouring around the smoked cheese was paprika, according to the label.

Jane10 the stronger Cheddar eg vintage (Welsh, West Country, Cornish) seems to be paler than the milder ones

Maggiemaybe Sun 17-Nov-19 19:35:20

I absolutely love cheese, but like a previous poster, can't abide cheese snobs. We're so lucky to have such a huge range of cheeses from home and abroad, easily available and relatively cheap. I've rarely found one I don't care for, but always come back to Cheddar (orange) or Red Leicester for cheese on toast. There's just something so comforting about that strong taste and warm colour.

BradfordLass72 Sun 17-Nov-19 19:01:09

By jingoes, you're lucky to get English cheeses so cheap!

dragonfly46 Sun 17-Nov-19 18:43:01

When we lived in Holland my cheesemonger didn’t like to stock Cheddar as it didn’t keep as well as Dutch cheeses. He used to stock blue Stilton though.

dragonfly46 Sun 17-Nov-19 18:32:01

I have never bought red Cheddar.

Wheniwasyourage Sun 17-Nov-19 18:26:47

I always thought that cheddar cheese was red, as that was what I was brought up with (in Scotland). Now I would be likely to buy the white stuff as now that I know it exists, I can't see the point of adding dye.

grannybuy Sun 17-Nov-19 18:14:51

I had no idea that red cheddar was less common further south. Reading this has reminded me that I never came across white cheddar until after I was married and doing my own shopping. M & S sell a nice red and blue cheese called, I think, Blacksticks Blue.

Fennel Sun 17-Nov-19 17:43:58

Oh how I miss this part of France, Dinahmo.
In our weekly local market, Mirande 32, there was a cheese stand with all the kinds of cheese you can imagine.
Made from the milk/cream of all the local or Pyrenean lactating animals - sheep, goats, cows etc.

NotSpaghetti Sun 17-Nov-19 17:39:42

I've seen both red and white cheddar. And no, Gonegirl the dye is from a tree fruit, not beetroot. If you have it in quantity it's a bit nutmeggy. I came upon it in the Caribbean years ago - before I knew what it was used for. Years later I found it listed in cheese in the USA and as I was working with cheese (!) looked it up. It has an E number in Europe but the USA doesn't treat it as an additive as it's a "natural" colour.
I have to say that even so I avoided it in the 80s as had young children and it sometimes provokes allergic reactions.

Someone earlier said something about the 16th century use of it in tiny amounts... I seem to remember that was to "pretend" a particular cheese was made with better milk (better milk = more yellowy).

Dinahmo Sun 17-Nov-19 17:30:49

My local supermarket in France has good cheddar which they cut from a large block. It's strong tasting and crumbly, of the type a friend once described as "making your gums hurt". There is also a chain of fruit and veg shops which import foreign cheeses and the have an excellent cheddar which they buy in small truckles. It's very expensive so only an occasional treat.

Apparently there are over 700 varieties of cheese in the UK. The French find this hard to believe because they aren't regulated, unlike here. eg Roquefort can only be called by that name if it comes from the village of Roquefort. There are artisan cheese makers where I live but I think it's all goats cheese (which I like).

lemongrove Sun 17-Nov-19 17:29:17

MaizieD as I’m from Yorkshire , you’d be wrong then lass.😄

shysal Sun 17-Nov-19 17:26:38

I always buy the red mature cheddar, not because it tastes any different, but because the addition of just a little to a sauce or dish looks so rich in colour that I tend not to add an unhealthy amount. It is in all my local supermarkets in Oxfordshire.

Fennel Sun 17-Nov-19 17:24:11

I'm another fan of cheddar, but never seen it red.
i always get the stongest.
We used to live in SW France and the Carrefour supermarket eventually stocked cheddar, not coloured.
But before that I used to buy another french cheese which was similar, can't remember the name. Also graded young ...old etc. I think it was Cantal:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cantal_cheese