Britain is known worldwide for its traditional hard cheeses, the most famous of which are Cheddar and Blue Stilton. While many are widely available pre-packaged in the supermarket, they are much better when brought fresh from a deli counter.
Taste before you buy and only buy small amounts at a time. Hard cheeses keep well for short periods in a cool larder or fridge, wrapped in foil. Savour each cheese on its own or with plain biscuits or crackers. Several of these cheeses can also be used as flavoursome ingredients in many cooked dishes.
A popular smooth creamy-white cheese with a prominent network of blue veins. It has a strong rich, tangy flavour, making it an excellent desert cheese. A pure white Stilton is also available.
Blue Stilton and White Stilton both have a "Protected Designation of Origin" and can only be made in certain towns from locally produced milk. However, they are not actually produced in the village of Stilton but more towards the west, around the Leicestershire area. Stilton is just the place in Cambridgeshire where they were once sold.
A distant relative of Cheddar. It is matured more quickly and has a milder fresher flavour and a soft, crumbly texture.
Originating in the Welsh village of Caerphilly, it was once known as the 'miners cheese', being a favourite snack of coal miners.
Ideal in a sandwich, with a salad, or eaten on its own as a tasty after dinner cheese.
The king of English cheeses. Cheddar is a classic hard cheese originating from the Somerset vales.
Ripened to full maturity, is has a full, sweet, sharp flavour. Milder when young and strong and nutty when mature.A very popular cheese with crackers, sliced in sandwiches or served with a ploughman's. It melts well when heated, making it ideal for cheese-on-toast or as a topping for jacket potatoes.
Cheshire is a traditional English cheese dating back to the 11th century or earlier. A rich crumbly hard cheese with a mellow, salty, nutty, flavour.
Available in red and white varieties. There is also a veined form for those who prefer a stronger creamy flavour.
Cheshire is an excellent cooking cheese, often used in rarebits and soufflés.
Derby & Sage Derby
A good plain hard cheese that is often sold young but is much better when left to mature.
Plain Derby has a distinctive strong, ripe, pungent flavour.
Sage Derby is traditionally made by placing fresh sage leaves between the layers of curd before it is pressed.
A splendid golden cheese that is rather dry but with a full rich, sharp flavour.
A good eating and cooking cheese. Useful for rarebit and cheese straws.
Single Gloucester is a quicker maturing version with a milder flavour.
A yellow fatty type cheese with an excellent sharp flavour. Crumbly when young, becomming more creamy and mellow as it matures.
A flaky, semi-hard cheese, with a grainy texture and clean strong flavour.
Similar to Cheddar, it melts well when heated, making it ideal for cheese-on-toast or as a topping for jacket potatoes or Cottage Pie.
A relatively new cheese to the market.
A moist Cheddar like cheese, traditionally infused with elderberry wine, which gives it its red marbling.
A modern Stilton-like cheese that has no actual link to the county of Shropshire. Although a variant, called Ludlow Blue, is made in the county in a small artisan dairy.It is a semi-hard cheese with a sharp, strong rounded flavour, that is a little sharper and creamier than Stilton.
A mild, moist, flaky cheese with a delicate subtle flavour. Traditionally eaten with apples and apple pie.There is a blue version that is similar to Stilton, which has a moist creamy texture and nutty flavour.