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BRITISH & ENGLISH CHEESE STOCK FOOD PHOTOS, STOCK FOOD PICTURES & FOOD PHOTO ART PRINTS
Stock photos & stock pictures gallery of British & English cheeses. Britain is a great cheese producing country. It is reported as having more varieties of cheese than the French, British cheese though are traditionally harder with blue cheeses being popular.
STILTON is a type of English cheese, known for its characteristic strong smell. It is produced in two varieties: the well-known blue and the lesser-known white. Both have been granted the status of a protected designation of origin by the European Commission, together one of only seventeen British products to have such a designation. Only cheese produced in the three English counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Nottinghamshire – and made according to a strict code – may be called “Stilton”.
It is believed that the pioneer of blue Stilton was Cooper Thornhill, owner of the Bell Inn on the Great North Road, in the village of Stilton, Cambridgeshire. Traditional legend has it that in 1730, Thornhill discovered a distinctive blue cheese while visiting a small farm near Melton Mowbray in rural Leicestershire – possibly in Wymondham, Leicestershire. He fell in love with the cheese and made a business arrangement that granted the Bell Inn exclusive marketing rights to blue Stilton. Soon thereafter, wagon loads of cheese were being delivered to the inn. Since the main stagecoach routes from London to Northern England passed through the village of Stilton he was able to promote the sale of this cheese and the fame of Stilton rapidly spread. The first written reference to Stilton cheese was in William Stukeley’s Itinerarium Curiosum, letter V, dated October 1722.
Frances Pawlett (or Paulet), a skilled cheese maker, of Wymondham, is credited as the person who gave Stilton its first quality and shape standards. Her skill at cheese making and her husband’s business acumen led to the first marketing cooperative in the area for Stilton. Pawlett would come to set the standards other cheese makers would need to meet for “blued cream cheese” good enough to be marketed as Stilton. Along with Thornhill the Pawletts helped build the trade in Stilton cheese to record levels. Stilton’s distinctive blue veins are created by piercing the crust of the cheese with stainless steel needles, allowing air into the core. The manufacturing and ripening process takes approximately nine weeks.
CHEDDAR CHEESE is a relatively hard, yellow to off-white, and sometimes sharp-tasting cheese originally made in the English village of Cheddar in Somerset. Cheddar cheese is the most popular cheese in the United Kingdom, accounting for 51% of the country’s £1.9 billion annual cheese market. In 2008, the UK produced 258,000 tons of Cheddar cheese. It is the second most popular cheese in the USA, with an average annual consumption of 10 lb (4.5 kg) per capita.
The cheese originates from the village of Cheddar in Somerset, South West England. Cheddar Gorge on the edge of the village contains a number of caves, which provided the ideal humidity and constant temperature for maturing the cheese. Cheddar has been produced since at least the 12th century. A pipe roll of King Henry II from 1170 records the purchase of 10,420 lb (4,730 kg) at a farthing per pound (UK£2.30 per ton). Charles I (1600–1649) also bought cheese from the village. One suggestion is that Romans brought the recipe to Britain from the Cantal region of France. Cheddar cheese traditionally had to be made within 30 miles (48 km) of Wells Cathedral.
Central to the modernisation and standardisation of Cheddar cheese was the nineteenth century Somerset dairyman Joseph Harding. For his technical developments, promotion of dairy hygiene and unremunerated propagation of modern cheese-making techniques he has been described as the father of Cheddar cheese. Harding introduced new equipment into the process of cheese making, including his “revolving breaker” for curd cutting, saving much manual effort. The “Joseph Harding method” was the first modern system for Cheddar production based upon scientific principles. Harding stated that Cheddar cheese is ‘not made in the field, nor in the byre, nor even in the cow, it is made in the dairy’, He and his wife were behind the introduction of the cheese into Scotland and North America. Joseph Harding’s son, Henry Harding, was responsible for introducing Cheddar cheese production to Australia.
Cheddaring refers to an additional step in the production of Cheddar-style cheese where, after heating, the curd is kneaded with salt, then is cut into cubes to drain the whey, then stacked and turned. Strong, extra-mature Cheddar, sometimes called vintage, needs to be matured for up to 15 months. The cheese is kept at a constant temperature often requiring special facilities. As with production of other hard cheese varieties in other regions worldwide, caves provide an ideal environment for maturing cheese; still, today, some Cheddar cheese is matured in the caves at Wookey Hole and Cheddar Gorge.
WENSLEYDALE cheese is a cheese produced in the town of Hawes in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire, England. Made famous again in recent years by the Wallace & Gromet films. When the 2005 full-length Wallace and Gromit film, Curse of the Were-Rabbit, was released, sales of Wensleydale cheeses jumped by 23%.
Wensleydale cheese was first made by French Cistercian monks from the Roquefort region, who had settled in Wensleydale. They built a monastery at Fors, but some years later the monks moved to Jervaulx in Lower Wensleydale. They brought with them a recipe for making cheese from sheep’s milk. During the 14th century cows’ milk began to be used instead, and the character of the cheese began to change. A little ewes’ milk was still mixed in since it gave a more open texture, and allowed the development of the blue mould. At that time, Wensleydale was almost always blue with the white variety almost unknown. Nowadays, the opposite is true, with blue Wensleydale rarely seen. When the monastery was dissolved in 1540 the local farmers continued making the cheese right up until the Second World War, during which most milk in the country was used for the making of “Government Cheddar”. Even after rationing ceased in 1954, cheese making did not return to pre-war levels.
Buy all the stock photos in this gallery on line as Royalty Free or Rights managed stock photo. The stock pictures & stock images are all high resolution digital stock photos made award winning professional photographer Paul Williams.
Photo Art prints are also available to buy on line in large to small print formats for framing as art works for home, restaurant, pubs, office art , or commercial art.
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