British Protected Name Cheeses
There are 10 British Protected Name Cheeses currently being produced with a further 3 having been registered but not currently in production. There are three schemes in operation - all of which guarantee to the consumer that they have been made to a specified recipe - and each product must display on its packaging the appropriate logo as follows:
- Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)
- Protected Geographical Indication (PGI)
- Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG)
Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)
Open to products produced, processed and prepared within a specific geograohical area and with features and charactersitics attributable to that area.
Protected Geographical Indication (PGI)
Open to products produced or processed or prepared within a specific geographical area, and with features or qualities attributable to that area. The raw materials used are not necessarily produced in the area.
Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG)
Open to products that are traditional or have customary names, and have features that distinguish them from other similar products. These features need not be attributable to the geographical area the product is produced in, nor entirely based on technical advances in the method of production.
Details are given below of the 10 British cheeses currently being made under the Protected Food Name Scheme. All are subject to a regular inspection by an independent and suitably qualified inspection body to ensure that they are being produced in accordance with the specification approved by the EU commission.
There are hundreds of Protected Name Foods and drinks registered with the EU Commission across the whole of the EU. The most famous of these are products like Champagne, Parma Ham and Parmesan cheese whilst in the UK we have such products as Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, Welsh Lamb and Scotch Beef.
The British Protected Name Cheeses
1 Beacon Fell Traditional Lancashire PDO - Made exclusively in the Preston area from local milk which is pasteurised. Cylindrical shaped cheese made from the curd of two or three days. The cheese is lightly pressed for 2 days, waxed or buttered or cloth bound and is fully mature at 6 months. It has a light yellow rind and a rich creamy taste. It makes the best cheese on toast in the world!
Availability - Local retailers and in selected Morrisons, Booths, Sainsburys
Singletons Dairy - email@example.com
Dewlay - firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Dorset Blue Cheese PGI - Made only in the County of Dorset from partially skimmed, raw milk. Curds are formed and left to drain overnight. The whey is removed and the curd cut into blocks and stacked and turned every 20-30 minutes. The curd is milled and salted, put into cylindrical moulds and lightly pressed. After 4 days the mould is removed and the surfaces rubbed to form the crust and at 4 weeks skewered to allow air to enter the body of the cheese and so form the blue veins. The cheese will be matured for a further 8 to 16 weeks. The cheese has a uniform colour with irregular blue/green veins and has a peppery, spicy flavour which will vary with age.
Availability - Local outlets plus on-line retailer www.hansonfinefoods.co.uk
Producer: Dorset Blue - e-mail: email@example.com
Web site - www.dorsetblue.com
3 Exmoor Blue Cheese PGI - Made from unpasteurised milk from the Jersey breed of cow this is a semi-soft blue veined cheese. Vegetarian rennet and penicillium roqueforti blue mould are added to the milk to form the curds which are placed in moulds to drain for 24 hours; the cheese is brine salted, left to dry for 36 hours then pierced and sprayed with penicillium candidum (white mould). Turned regularly, the cheeses are matured for 3 to 6 weeks. The cheese can only be made in West Somerset including part of the Exmoor National Park. It is a creamy, yellow coloured cheese with a buttery taste which comes from rich Jersey milk with herbal or slightly spicy undertones. The blue is just strong enough to give a little tang without overwhelming the background flavours.
Producer - Exmoor Blue Cheese -e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site - none
4 Single Gloucester PDO - Can only be made in Gloucestershire at least in part from milk from Gloucester breed cows - either raw or pasteurised. It is a flat disc shaped cheese with a smooth surface. The cheese is kept for at least two months by which time it is hard but slightly crumbly, yellow or dark yellow in colour and has a strong and decidedly salty flavour.
Availability - selected local Budgen and Waitrose stores, local farm shops and wholesalers, Harrods and John Lewis Oxford Street
Producers - Godsells Church Farm Cheese - e-mail: email@example.com
- Charles Martell & Son
- Smart's Traditional Gloucester Cheese
- Wick Court Cheese
Web site - http://godsellscheese.com
5 Staffordshire Cheese PDO -This hard cheese can only be made in the County of Staffordshire from local pasteurised milk. Bertelin Staffordshire cheese is made using their own cow's milk from their farm. The recipe is monastic and is historically linked to the County of Staffordshire. The cheese has been recently revived. Vegetarian rennet is used to form the curds which are then salted and placed in muslin lined stainless steel moulds and pressed overnight. They are left to mature for between 2 and 12 months during which time they are turned regularly and develop a natural rind. At 5 months of age the cheese is creamy and full flavoured with a clean taste.
Availability - local retailers, farm shops
Producer - Bertelin Farmhouse Cheese Company -
Web site - www.bertelinfarmhousecheese.co.uk
6 Swaledale Cheese PDO - A young crumbly cheese which can only be made in the Swaledale area of North Yorkshire from local cows' milk or ewes' milk which is heat-treated before use. Once the curds are formed and the whey drained off, they are cut and placed in moulds lined with cheesecloth and lightly pressed for 18 hours and turned regularly. The cheeses are removed from the moulds and then brine salted for 24 hours before being sold at about 4 weeks of age. The cows' milk version is white in colour and soft and crumbly with a salty flavour. The ewes' milk version is slightly harder with a more pronounced flavour and meadowy notes.
Availability - local Waitrose and Booths plus leading wholesalers
Producer - Swaledale Cheese Company - e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site - www.swaledalecheese.co.uk
7 West Country Farmhouse Cheddar PDO - The cheese takes its name from the village of Cheddar and the Cheddar Gorge where the cheese was originally stored. West Country Farmhouse Cheddar is made using the traditional recipe to produce the real Cheddar flavour and texture. It can only be made on farms in Dorset, Somerset, Cornwall and Devon from milk produced on the farm and where necessary supplemented with locally farmed milk. The cheese can be made in cylindrical or block form from either raw milk or pasteurised milk. An essential part of the Cheddar making process is that of "Cheddaring" which entails stacking and turning slabs of curd to facilitate drainage - this must be done by hand and not mechanically. The curds are milled, salted, put into moulds and pressed. The cheese is put into store and graded at regular intervals being kept for a minimum of 9 months before sale.
It is a hard textured cheese with a creamy background flavour and varying degrees of complexity depending on age and the individual farm.
Availability - Nationally in Waitrose and selected Booths; in most other major supermarkets and specialist cheese shops throughout the UK; locally; and also on line through www.farmhousecheesemakers.com/buy-online/
Producers - Batch Farm Cheesemakers - e-mail: email@example.com
- Brue Valley Farms - production discontinued - but product still available - e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Denhay Farms - production discontinued - but product still available - e-mail: email@example.com
- Keen's Cheddar - e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Parkham Farms - e-mail: email@example.com
- Westcombe Dairy - e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ashley Chase - e-mail: email@example.com
- Alvis Brothers - e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- AJ & RG Barber - e-mail: email@example.com
- Cricketer Farm - e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site - www.farmhousecheesemakers.com
8 Blue Stilton Cheese PDO - Can only be made in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire from locally produced milk which is pasteurised before use. Most Stilton is made with non-animal rennet and is suitable for vegetarians. The cheese can only be made in a cylindrical shape, is never pressed and is allowed to form its own coat or crust. As with many other blue cheeses penicillium roqueforti blue mould is added to the milk which is activated once the cheese has been formed by piercing the cheese with stainless steel needles; this allows oxygen to enter the body of the cheese. The blue veining develops in the tiny cracks and fissures in the cheese which having not been pressed has a slightly open texture. It is characterised by the delicate blue veining radiating from the centre of the cheese and its creamy mellow flavour. The cheese is typically sold at between 9 and 12 weeks of age.
Availability - All major supermarkets and specialist cheese shops
Producers - Colston Bassett Dairy - e-mail: email@example.com
- Cropwell Bishop Creamery - e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Long Clawson Dairy - e-mail: email@example.com
- Tuxford & Tebbutt - e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Websters Dairy - e-mail: email@example.com
Web Site - www.stiltoncheese.com
9 White Stilton Cheese PDO - This relies on the same conditions that pertain for Blue Stilton and is made in a similar way except that no blue mould is added to the milk. The cheese is stored for a few weeks before sale and has a fresh, creamy flavour and a crumbly texture. It is widely used in the UK for blending with sweet or savoury ingredients for such products as White Stilton with Apricots or White Stilton with Ginger.
Availability - Selected Waitrose and deli counters of some of the other major retailers; Blended versions are available in most major supermarkets.
Producers: all the above Blue Stilton dairies plus
10 Dovedale Cheese PDO - Originally produced by the Hartington Creamery of Dairy Crest, production stopped when the creamery closed in 2009. However, production has re-started at the Staffordshire Cheese Company. Dovedale is a shallow cylindrical shaped blue veined cheese with a soft body which is matured for anything from 4 to 6 weeks of age. Unlike most of the blue cheeses made in the UK which are dry salted, Dovedale is brine salted (i.e. is immersed in a salt water bath). It can only be made in the County of Derbyshire from locally produced milk although in times of shortage milk may be sourced from the neighbouring counties of Shropshire or Cheshire.
The following cheeses, are protected names but are not currently in production:
Buxton Blue PDO
Bonchester Cheese PDO
Teviotdale Cheese PGI
For more information on UK Protected Food Names go to www.ukprotectedfoods.com