During olden days, England was the only place where Cheddar cheeses were made. However, many countries all over the world manufacture Cheddar today.
Any cheese producing company or any of the artisan manufacturers in any corner of the world can label the cheese produced by them as ‘Cheddar’ since it is not protected like other cheese names or brands.
Cheddar cheese, the most widely purchased and eaten cheese in the world is always made from cow’s milk. It is a hard and natural cheese that has a slightly crumbly texture if properly cured and if it is too young, the texture is smooth. It gets a sharper taste as it matures, over a period of time between 9 to 24 months. Shaped like a drum, 15 inches in diameter, Cheddar cheese is natural rind bound in cloth while its colour generally ranges from white to pale yellow. However, some Cheddars may have a manually added yellow-orange colour.
Joseph Harding, the “father of Cheddar cheese” who invented modern cheese making techniques described the ideal quality of original Somerset Cheddar as “close and firm in texture, mellow in character or quality, rich with a tendency to melt in the mouth and has full and fine flavour somewhat like hazelnut!”
The Edam cheese was first produced in Netherlands after the town in which is made. The Edam has a pale yellow interior and a crust of red paraffin wax. Its flavour is mild, salty and nutty at the early stage and gets sharper with ageing. Also, it is comparatively low in fat content as compared to other cheeses and has 28% fat in dry matter. The Edam cheese at early stage goes very well with fruits like peaches, apricots, cherries, melons, while the aged Edam cheese is often consumed with pears and apples. Besides this, it is also eaten along with crackers, biscuits and drinks like Pinot Gris, Dry Riesling, Semidry Riesling, Champagne, Chardonnay and Shiraz.
Feta is undoubtedly one of the most famous Greek cheeses. In fact, Feta occupies 70% stake in Greek cheese consumption. The cheese is protected by EU legislations and only those cheeses manufactured in Macedonia, Thrace, Thessaly, Central Mainland Greece, the Peloponnese and Lesvos can be called ‘feta’. Similar cheeses produced elsewhere in the eastern Mediterranean and around the Black Sea, outside the EU, are often called ‘white cheese’.
To create traditional feta, 30 percent goat’s milk is mixed with sheep’s milk of animals grazing on pastures in the specific appellation of origin regions. Now-a-days, many stores sell goat and cow’s milk feta as well. The firmness, texture and flavour differ from region to region, but in general, cheese from Macedonia and Thrace is mild, softer and creamier, less salty with fewer holes. Feta made in Thessaly and Central Greece has a more intense, robust flavour. Peloponnese feta is dryer in texture, full flavoured and more open. Local environment, animal breeds, cultures all have an impact on the texture, flavour and aroma of feta.