There are two types of Gloucester cheeses, double and single, though the exact reason for the names are under some debate. Single Gloucester was used from milk that had been skimmed once. It is a flat, disc shaped hard cheese. Double Gloucester has a light orange hue that was originally caused by the cows eating summer grass high in carotene, but is now more commonly the result of the addition of annatto. It was made with milk from the evening milking with the addition of cream from the morning’s milking.
Lancashire cheese was traditionally made by farmer’s wives in the county of Lancashire. The small farms often did not produce enough surplus milk to make a whole cheese and there was no refrigeration to preserve the milk, so the surplus was generally made into curd and stored overnight to be mixed with milk and curd from the next day. Lancashire cheese can be produced to be creamy, rich, or crumbly.
What we call Red Leicester today used to be known as Leicestershire Cheese, named (as many other English cheeses) for the county where it originated. It can be traced back to the 1600s when farmers in Leicestershire wanted to make their cheese look and taste different from the cheeses produced in other regions. They began coloring the cheese with annatto to give it its characteristic dark orange, almost red, color. This coloring mimics the natural coloring of milk made from cows that have eaten rich healthy grass.
A cheese unique to England, Stilton is a soft, creamy cheese with distinctive blue lines running through it. It has a nutty flavor and is slightly acidic when young and gets creamier and mellower with age. It pairs well with dessert and Port and is traditionally eaten in England at Christmastime.
Wensleydale cheese was first made by Cistercian monks, but today is mostly made in creameries. It is a young, crumbly cheese with sweet hints of lemon and honey. Like cheddar, it is very versatile and goes well with a slice of bread or on a fancy cheese tray. You can also find a mild Bleu Wensleydale.