Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

A Cold-Smoked Cheddar Perfect for Any Party Tray

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

A Cold-Smoked Cheddar Perfect for Any Party Tray

Article excerpt

Belton Farm Oak-Smoked cheddar

Aroma **

Taste ***

Price **

When planning your holiday cheeseboard, it makes good sense to always include an orange cheddar-type cheese - because it's a pretty color, because it slices into nice, cracker-sized pieces, because it's sure to be popular and because there are so many subtly different varieties to choose from - inexpensive yet very good quality (try Tillamook,) to expensive artisan varieties; from young, soft and mild, to hard ultra-aged cheeses that break into crumbly shards. They can be pasteurized or not, sometimes flavored or smoked.

I say cheddar-"type" cheeses, because most British Islands cheeses - from England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland - resemble cheddar, even if they are not named so. Cheshire, Lancashire, Dunlop, Shropshire, Red Leicester, Caerphilly, Double Gloucester, Wensleydale - all are firmly pressed cheeses with a dry paste and variably sharp flavor. Some are colored orange with annatto, others are left naturally white or pale yellow.

Actual cheddar goes through an extra step in the processing, called "cheddaring," wherein blocks of curds are allowed to sit and drain at room temperature, while being stacked and turned by hand. This extra time allows the bacteria placed into the cheese to continue turning lactose into tangy lactic acid before the addition of salt halts the activity.

According to a 2006 BBC article, "Separating the Curds from the Whey," the original cheddar cheese was made by at least the year 1086 in the town of Cheddar, in southwestern England, and aged in caves off the cheddar Gorge, a steep, mile-long cut to the east of town.

At one time, cheddar cheese had to be made within 30 miles of Wells Cathedral in Cheddar to bear the name, but today it can be made all over the world.

There are many English farmhouse cheddar cheeses available to us locally, as well as numerous top-quality cheddars from the United States.

We sampled Belton Farms Oak Smoked cheddar, made in the English west country of Shropshire.

According to the Belton Cheese website, Belton Farm has existed since the early 1800s, and cheesemaking always was part of the farm operation. …

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