With more than 700 varieties of British cheese, a cheese lover has almost two years of new product to sample every day. And by the time they’re finished, there’ll be new varieties to try. In short, Britain is a paradise for the turophile.
British Food and Travel plans to spotlight some of the many, many fine types of British cheese in future posts. For now, we want to give you a tasting of what is out there and where to sample some of it.
You’ve no doubt heard of Stilton, Yorkshire Wensleydale, or West Country Farmhouse Cheddar. They are three of the nation’s 14 cheese with protected status. This means that cheeses must be made in a certain location in a certain manner to use that name. Other protected status cheeses include Single Gloucester, Buxton Blue and Swaledale.
But there are hundreds more that may have fallen under your dairy radar. You know your Caerphilly and your Red Leicester. What about Garstang Blue, Hereford Hop, or Cornish Yarg? There’s a cheese for everyone.
From ALL Across the UK
Just about every corner of the UK has a local cheese, right up to the Orkney Isles. We’ve mentioned Caerphilly but other Welsh cheeses worth looking for include Red Devil (with chillies and a red wax coating), Caws Teifi, and Pant Ysgawn goat cheese. In Northern Ireland, check out Young Buck, Young Culmore, or Dromona Cheddar. Not to be outdone, Scotland also has plenty to choose from, including Ailsa Craig, Barwheys, and the wonderfully-named Blue Murder.
Where to Find British Cheese
Since your local supermarket counter may only carry a dozen or two varieties, where on earth are you supposed to find the others? If you live near a dedicated cheese shop, you’ll have better luck at finding a lesser known slice for your plate. London’s Neal’s Yard Dairy is well known for its selection, not to mention tasting events. This list of the best cheese shops in the UK is now quite old, but may provide a good starter. Your other option is to find the dairy’s website once you hear of a cheese you want to try. Many will ship within the UK.
Sure there are tastings, wine and cheese parties, and so on, but for those truly serious about British cheese there are also festivals and races. The Big Cheese Festival will take place in Brighton on Saturday 3rd March, but get your tickets quickly. In late May, you can go to watch or participate in the Cheese Rolling at Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire. Racers chase a 9 pound wheel of Double Gloucester down a rather steep hill in an event that has now become famous worldwide. Cheese Fest holds events around the country so be sure to see if there is one near you.