In The Area Around Cheddar Gorge There Are Plenty Of Cheddar Cheese and Cider Farms
The name of Cheddar is famous throughout the world for the cheese that bears
its name. Traditionally a cheese could only be called Cheddar if it had been
made within 30 miles of Wells cathedral.
Wells, the smallest city in England, has an amazing cathedral and is only about nine miles from Cheddar.
When the cheese was first being made, much of the farmland would have been owned by the church. The Bishop at Wells would have wielded a huge amount of power over the people in the surrounding area. This is probably the reason for such an arbitrary distance from the cathedral.
Cheddar Cheese has been made since at least the 12th century and
probably before then. There is a document dated 1170 recording the fact that
King Henry the Second purchased 10,420 lbs. of the cheese for his court.
Nowadays it is the most popular cheese eaten in the United Kingdom
and in the USA it is the second most popular.
But the requirements for it to be made around Cheddar have been dropped and it is now made all over the world.
A Truckle Of Cave Matured Cheddar Chee
Cheddar Cheese has become so famous due to the green lushness of the local Somerset pastureland.
Plenty of rain and perfect growing conditions for grass led to the healthy cows producing a huge surplus of milk.
This surplus was
turned into a lovely textured cheese.
It was discovered that the caves of Cheddar Gorge provided the ideal storage conditions of humidity and temperature in which to mature the product.
Here are some famous Cheddar Cheese moments!
Scott of the Antarctic took 3500 lbs of the cheese with him on his expedition of 1901!
Queen Victoria was once presented with a cheese weighing over half a ton!
The largest Cheddar Cheese ever produced was made by the Federation of American Cheesemakers of Oregon. In 1989 they made a cheese that weighed in at a whopping 56,850 lbs. (thats 25,786 kilos!)
Today the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company continue to make the cheese in the traditional way. You can visit their lovely shop in Cheddar Gorge and watch the process and, of course, buy the finished product.
To the rest of Britain cider is always associated with the county of
Tell someone that you are from Somerset and they will nearly always reply "Where the cider apples grow!"
A Medieval Cider Press
The area around Cheddar Gorge is famous for its Cider Farms. But beware, some of them do not make the sort of cider you may be used to drinking in a Somerset pub or from an off-licence.
Some farms make what is known as rough cider or Scrumpy. So be careful what you are drinking. It will still taste like something you are familiar with but it will have the strength to take your legs out from under you!
Nowadays the product of cider farms such as Thatchers Cider at Sandford,
Rich`s Somerset Farmhouse Cider at Watchfield and Wilcox Cider in Cheddar
are all of the highest quality.
Try it! You will find out what has kept generations of Somerset Farmers going strong.
Here is a list of Somerset Cider Farms to visit that are close to Cheddar Gorge.
Wilkins` Farmhouse Cider
Andrew and Chris Hecks
The Orchard Pig
West Croft Cider
Crossman`s Prime Farmhouse Cider
Rich`s Somerset Farmhouse Cider