Cheddar has become the go-to cheese for most home cooks in the UK. Grated over dishes, stirred into sauces, melted over burgers – it’s so versatile and universally loved that it accounts for almost eighty percent of cheese sales in the UK. It’s no wonder most supermarket cheese aisles are lined with blocks of the stuff.
But not all cheddars are created equal. You can usually find a 500g block of branded Cheddar on offer for less than £3, whereas a 200g wedge of another variety from the cheesemongers could cost twice the amount. They’re both technically cheddars, but the way they’re made and matured can vary massively.
Invariably, the most expensive cheddars are labelled ‘West Country Farmhouse Cheddar’, a PDO-protected name that requires producers to adhere to strict standards and regulations. As a rule, the cheaper, industrially-made blocks are churned out in a factory, whereas West Country Farmhouse Cheddars are made by hand in much smaller batches and with higher quality ingredients.