Brits are officially cheddar fanatics: 03/10/2008

 

Brits are officially cheddar fanatics

It's official. Cheddar is the nation's favourite cheese according to research released today by the British Cheese Board (BCB).

1 in 3 who voted for their favourite cheese opted for Cheddar which is one of Britain 's oldest cheeses and is bought by around 90% of all households. Whether it is mild, medium, mature, vintage, smoked or West Country Farmhouse, the majority of respondents felt that Cheddar worked for them due to its versatility.

Cheese experts across the country and the world are constantly voting and presenting awards for the best cheese, but to date there has been a distinct lack of opportunities for the nation to decide and choose their favourite cheese. In response, The BCB launched ‘The People's Cheese' award in August.

Despite producing over 700 named cheeses in the UK including Camembert, Brie, Mozzarella and Gruyere, the majority of Brits are choosing traditional Ploughman's lunches or the much loved Cheddar cheese and pickle sandwich as their favourite way of consuming the top British cheese. Cheddar is the most purchased and consumed cheese in the world, with all modern variations originating from a recipe developed around the Cheddar Gorge in Somerset hundreds of years ago.

Blue cheese, and in particular Blue Stilton, proved to be the second most popular cheese (17%). Rightly known as the ‘King of English Cheese', Stilton is an acquired taste - you either love it or you hate it - you can't be ambivalent about it!

Regionally consumers were particularly loyal to their locally produced cheese; third and fourth places went to two of England's oldest cheeses: Cheshire, whose roots can be traced back to the Roman occupation of Chester, and Wensleydale whose recipe was developed by Cistercian Monks in North Yorkshire in the 11th Century. Both are loved for their crumbly, creamy texture and are firm favourites in their respective historical heartlands. Red Leicester came in at number five, followed in sixth place by another crumbly cheese - Lancashire.

Some unusual cheeses were nominated including Lancashire Christmas Pudding, Chocolate Cheese and even Cheddar with Mint Choc Chips and Cherries. More conventional blended cheeses such as White Stilton with Apricots and Wensleydale with Cranberries did well, but not well enough to get into the top 10. Relative British newcomers to the cheese world that did, included our wonderful British Brie (from Cornwall and Somerset ), Cornish Yarg, and various Goats milk cheeses.

Nigel White, Secretary of the British Cheese Board says: "The People's Cheese campaign has been a fantastic opportunity for the general public to have their say and recognise the outstanding range and quality of cheese being produced in our country. I am not surprised that Cheddar has come out on top due to its versatility and heritage. These findings reflect the fact that provenance is becoming increasingly important to consumers. British Cheese Week is an opportunity for people to be more daring and creative with their cheese choices, breaking out of their usual moulds."

Philip Crawford, Chairman of the West Country Farmhouse Cheesemakers commented: "We are delighted to see Cheddar voted number one. It's also encouraging to see Great British regional cheeses take pride of place in the hearts of UK cheese lovers. Of course, the future of our nation's cheesemakers depends on the continued support of British consumers and their appreciation of the importance of provenance - Cheddar is made all over the world but nothing beats the flavour of the real thing, made in Britain."

For recipe ideas and more background on British Cheese visit www.britishcheese.com .

Notes to the editors;-

The top ten cheeses

1.

 Cheddar

2.

 Blue Cheese inc Stilton

3.

 Cheshire

4.

 Wensleydale

5.

 Red Leicester

6.

 Lancashire

7.

 Brie

8.

 Double Gloucester

9.

 Cornish Yarg

10.

 Goats Cheese

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NOTES (updated February 2011)

The British Cheese Board is an educational and promotional body for cheese. It aims to raise the awareness of the incredible range of cheeses now made in the UK, to provide ideas how these cheeses can be used in everyday meal and snacks and to educate users about the promotes the health and lifestyle benefits of cheese, which include the following:

· one of nature's most complete foods

· a natural food source

· hard cheeses like Cheddar are a source of protein, vitamins, calcium and other minerals

· versatility - suitable for any time of the day in hot or cold dishes

There are over 700 named cheeses available in Britain , with a British Cheese for every occasion. The British Cheese Board's members account for a large proportion of cheese produced in the UK . The work of the BCB is supported by associate members who are involved in the cheese supply chain ( www.britishcheese.com ).

The research above was conducted by the British Cheese Board between August - September 2008. There were over 650 respondents.

Cheddar Facts

· Despite imitation in many other countries, Cheddar will always be explicitly associated with England and more particularly, the West Country.

· West Country Farmhouse Cheddar is honoured with an EU Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) which means that it can only be made on farms in the four counties of Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall from locally produced milk using traditional production methods. The cheese must be matured for at least 9 months and graded before it is able to carry the PDO logo.

· In the fifteenth century it was stored in Somerset 's Cheddar Gorge to mature and the Gorge gave its name not only to the cheese itself but also to a key part of the Cheddar cheese making process - Cheddaring.

· Cheddaring is the process of cutting, stacking and turning the curd in a controlled way to help drain the whey. It also stretches the curd . The process helps to create a harder cheese with firm body and is unique to Cheddar making.

· There are just 14 farms making West Country Farmhouse Cheddar who are accredited to use the PDO logo.

· Cheddar is made in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in creameries and on farm. Many supermarkets are now showing the geographical origin of the Cheddar they sell.

· Around 330,000 tonnes of Cheddar are consumed in the UK each year.

Please note - some of these figures in this final section have been updated from those given in the original release.

Feb 2011