It is estimated that England produces more than 700 types of cheese, more than any other country in the world. The most famous English cheese is cheddar, but it is also well known for several other varieties. We’ll talk about cheddar in another post, but here is an overview of some of the other delicious English cheeses.
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Caerphilly is a crumbly cheese similiar to Cheshire, young Lancashire, and Wensleydale. It originated in a South Wales mining town of the same name. It became popular among the mine workers because its tough coat made it easy to eat with dirty hands and the salty flavor helped replace the minerals lost sweating away in the mine.
Cheshire is one of England’s oldest cheeses, dating back to the Roman era. It is said that the Roman soldiers would stick a block of Cheshire cheese on their swords and melt it over the fire. Most Cheshire cheeses are made in factories now and have a mild flavor, but the Cheshire cheeses that are made on the farms of Chesire, Shropshire, and Staffordshire have a nice, slightly marine taste because of the salt in the soil there. It is a firm, crumbly cheese that pairs well with fruit and wine. It also melts well, lending itself well to cooking.
Derby cheese was traditionally made directly on the dairy farms where the cows lived who produced the milk, but has the distinction of being made in the first creamery in the United Kingdom when a group of farmers pooled their milk to make the cheese on a large scale. It was generally sold at a younger age than cheddar and Cheshire and as a result is softer and more moist. As a young cheese, it is springy and mild, but develops a subtle sweet flavor and a firmer texture as it ages.