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10 Most Popular Cheeses Originated in England

Top 10 Most Popular England Cheeses - Cheese Origin

Today, we’re setting off on a culinary adventure that will take us through rolling dairy farms, bustling creameries, and ancient cheese-making traditions. England, with its rich pastoral landscapes and centuries-old dairy farming practices, is home to some of the world’s most renowned and beloved cheeses.

From the crumbly goodness of Cheshire to the bold flavors of Shropshire Blue, every cheese tells a story of its region, its makers, and its unique aging process.

CheeseDescriptionTasting Profile
CheddarOriginates from the village of Cheddar in Somerset. Known for its strong flavor and firm texture.Strong, sharp, and slightly earthy with a firm and crumbly texture
StiltonOften referred to as the “King of English Cheeses”. It’s a blue cheese with a rich texture.Rich and tangy with a spicy finish, and a semi-soft, crumbly, and creamy texture
CotswoldA double Gloucester cheese with onions and chives. Known for its creamy and buttery taste.Creamy and buttery with a tang from the added onions and chives, and a semi-soft and smooth texture
Stinking BishopKnown for its pungent aroma. It’s a washed-rind cheese with a fruity flavor.Mild and fruity with a distinctive pungent aroma, and a soft and creamy texture
Red LeicesterRecognized by its vibrant orange color and mildly sweet, nutty flavor.Nutty and sweet, with a slightly sharp finish, and a firm and slightly crumbly texture
Double GloucesterA traditional, semi-hard cheese made from the milk of Gloucester cows.Mild, nutty, and buttery with a firm and creamy texture
WensleydaleOriginates from North Yorkshire. Known for its crumbly yet moist texture and slightly sweet flavor.Slightly sweet with a hint of honey, and a crumbly yet moist texture
Shropshire BlueA blue cheese with a deep orange hue, offering a sharp, tangy flavor.Sharp and tangy with a hint of caramel sweetness and a semi-soft texture with blue veins
CheshireOne of the oldest known English cheeses, with a clean, zesty flavor.Clean, zesty, and slightly salty with a crumbly and dense texture
LancashireKnown for its creamy and mild taste when young but develops a sharper flavor as it ages.Creamy and mild when young, sharper and more complex as it ages, with a soft and crumbly texture

1. Cheddar

Cheddar
  • Milk Type: Cow’s milk
  • Taste: Strong, sharp and slightly earthy
  • Texture: Firm and crumbly with some versions having a creamy consistency
  • Food Pairing: Cheddar is versatile – it goes well with apples, pears, grapes, nuts, and is excellent in sandwiches and burgers
  • Wine Pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, or a dry Rose
  • Read in-depth guide

Cheddar, hailing from the charming village of Cheddar in Somerset, England, is a name synonymous with cheese around the world. This quintessential English cheese is celebrated for its strong, sharp, and slightly earthy flavor, which intensifies as it ages. Its firm and crumbly texture makes it versatile for a variety of culinary uses.

From gracing the top of a burger to being the star of a classic ploughman’s lunch, Cheddar’s robust flavor profile has earned it a place of honor in the world of cheese. Whether enjoyed on its own or paired with a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, Cheddar offers a delightful taste adventure that cheese enthusiasts cherish.

2. Stilton

Stilton
  • Milk Type: Cow’s milk
  • Taste: Rich and tangy with a spicy finish
  • Texture: Semi-soft, crumbly and creamy
  • Food Pairing: Fruits such as pears and apples, honey, and walnuts. Also ideal with crackers or on salads
  • Wine Pairing: Port wine or sweet sherry
  • Read in-depth guide

Stilton, often dubbed the “King of English Cheeses,” is a cheese lover’s delight. This blue cheese, with its rich and distinctive marbled appearance, hails from the counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Nottinghamshire. Its flavor is an intriguing blend of rich and tangy with a spicy finish that lingers on the palate.

The texture is semi-soft, crumbly yet creamy, making it perfect for crumbling over salads or melting into a luxurious sauce. Stilton’s unique taste journey makes it a must-try for all who appreciate the finer things in life, and it’s particularly enjoyable when paired with a glass of Port wine or a crisp apple. This celebrated cheese truly embodies the essence of English gastronomy.

3. Cotswold

Cotswold
  • Milk Type: Cow’s milk
  • Taste: Creamy and buttery with a tang from the added onions and chives
  • Texture: Semi-soft and smooth
  • Food Pairing: Ideal in sandwiches, and pairs well with fruits and nuts
  • Wine Pairing: A crisp white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or a light-bodied red like Pinot Noir
  • Read in-depth guide

Cotswold cheese, a delightful variation of Double Gloucester, is a culinary gem from the picturesque Leicestershire region of England. Known for its creamy texture and mellow taste, Cotswold stands out with the unique addition of spring onions and chives that lend it an extra layer of flavor.

This whole milk cheese is a modern rendition of traditional English cheese-making techniques, offering a smooth, cheddar-like experience that’s both hearty and satisfying. Whether it’s enjoyed in a sandwich, melted over potatoes, or savored on its own, Cotswold cheese offers a deliciously distinctive taste journey that will leave you craving for more.

4. Stinking Bishop

Stinking-Bishop-tasting-notes
  • Milk Type: Cow’s milk
  • Taste: Mild and fruity with a distinctive pungent aroma
  • Texture: Soft and creamy
  • Food Pairing: Pairs well with rustic bread, fruits, and cold cuts
  • Wine Pairing: A full-bodied red like Shiraz or a sweet dessert wine
  • Read in-depth guide

Stinking Bishop, a cheese with a reputation as aromatic as its name suggests, is a soft, washed-rind cheese that’s been delighting taste buds since 1972. Produced by Charles Martell and Son at Hunts Court Farm in Gloucestershire, England, this cheese has an unmistakable smell that belies its subtle, nutty flavor.

Made from full-fat pasteurized cow’s milk and vegetarian rennet, Stinking Bishop is renowned for its creamy texture. But what sets it apart is the unique process of washing the cheese in perry (fermented pear juice) during aging, lending it an exceptional profile. While some may find its smell daunting, those who dare to try are rewarded with an award-winning artisanal cheese experience that’s truly one-of-a-kind.

5. Red Leicester

Red Leicester
  • Milk Type: Cow’s milk
  • Taste: Nutty and sweet, with a slightly sharp finish
  • Texture: Firm and slightly crumbly
  • Food Pairing: Great in sandwiches, with a ploughman’s lunch, or melted over potatoes
  • Wine Pairing: A full-bodied red like Merlot or a crisp Chardonnay

Red Leicester, a traditional English cheese, is a vibrant addition to any cheese board with its distinctive deep red-orange color. Often compared to Cheddar, it’s crumblier in texture and offers a unique flavor profile that is slightly sweet, almost caramel-like, and builds up to a more robust taste as it ages.

Made from unpasteurized cow’s milk, this cheese is typically aged for 6 to 12 months, resulting in a delightful taste experience. The cheese owes its unique color to the annatto extract used during its production. Whether enjoyed on its own or as part of a recipe, Red Leicester offers a tantalizing taste journey that is both familiar and surprisingly different.

6. Double Gloucester

Double Gloucester
  • Milk Type: Cow’s milk
  • Taste: Mild, nutty, and buttery
  • Texture: Firm and creamy
  • Food Pairing: Excellent in sandwiches, with bread and chutney, or melted in traditional British dishes like ‘cheese and onion pie’
  • Wine Pairing: A full-bodied red like Cabernet Sauvignon or a traditional English ale
  • Read in-depth guide

Double Gloucester, a traditional British cheese that hails from the county of Gloucestershire, is a full-bodied, semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk. Known for its bright orange hue, it offers a close and creamy texture that falls somewhere between Cheshire and aged Cheddar in flavor.

With a history dating back to the 16th century, this cheese has become an integral part of the English cheese tradition. Double Gloucester offers a pronounced yet mellow taste, with a hint of nuttiness that adds to its charm. Whether enjoyed on its own or paired with onion and chive as in the popular Cotswold variant, Double Gloucester promises a zestful and satisfying cheese experience.

7. Wensleydale

Wensleydale
  • Milk Type: Cow’s milk
  • Taste: Slightly sweet with a hint of honey
  • Texture: Crumbly yet moist
  • Food Pairing: Perfect with fruit cake or apple pie, also pairs well with fresh fruits like pears and apples
  • Wine Pairing: A sweet white wine like Gew├╝rztraminer or a light red like Pinot Noir
  • Read in-depth guide

Wensleydale, a historic cheese hailing from North Yorkshire, England, is celebrated for its unique, slightly sweet yet tart flavor. This firm but creamy cheese features an uneven and crumbly surface that simply adds to its charm.

While traditionally known as a blue-veined cheese, it’s now predominantly sold in its unveined form and typically aged for 3 to 4 months. Wensleydale is versatile too, with variations featuring succulent apricots or tangy cranberries, each offering a

8. Shropshire Blue

Shropshire Blue
  • Milk Type: Cow’s milk
  • Taste: Sharp and tangy with a hint of caramel sweetness
  • Texture: Semi-soft with blue veins
  • Food Pairing: Works well in salads, on rye bread, or with fruits and nuts
  • Wine Pairing: A sweet dessert wine or a robust red like Shiraz

Shropshire Blue, despite its name, originates from Scotland and not Shropshire. This unique cheese is a visual delight with its striking blue veins contrasting against its deep orange body, a color achieved by adding annatto to the milk. Made from pasteurized cow’s milk and vegetarian rennet, this semi-hard cheese is a sibling of Stilton.

It offers a rich, creamy texture and a complex flavor profile that marries a sharp tanginess with a surprising sweetness. Aged for a period of 10-12 weeks, Shropshire Blue delivers a piquant finish that lingers on the palate. Whether enjoyed with a glass of port or as part of a decadent cheese platter, Shropshire Blue is a bold choice for those who appreciate the finer nuances of artisanal cheeses.

9. Cheshire

Cheshire
  • Milk Type: Cow’s milk
  • Taste: Clean, zesty and slightly salty
  • Texture: Crumbly and dense
  • Food Pairing: Pairs well with fresh fruits, celery, or on oatcakes
  • Wine Pairing: A crisp white wine like Chardonnay or a light-bodied red like Beaujolais
  • Read in-depth guide

Cheshire cheese, a product deeply rooted in the English county of Cheshire and neighboring regions, is the oldest known cheese in Britain. With a history that predates even Caesar’s conquest of Britain, it’s a cheese steeped in tradition.

This dense and crumbly delight is often reddish-orange in color and offers a taste that is mild yet slightly tangy. It’s known for its unique texture – much more friable and moist than other firm cheeses.

Aged for two to three months, Cheshire is considered one of England’s finest cheeses, still crafted by a select few traditional farms. Whether enjoyed on

10. Lancashire

Lancashire
  • Milk Type: Cow’s milk
  • Taste: Creamy and mild when young, but develops a sharper, more complex flavor as it ages
  • Texture: Soft and crumbly
  • Food Pairing: Great on toast, in a cheese and onion pie, or with pickles and crusty bread
  • Wine Pairing: A robust red like Merlot or a dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc
  • Read in-depth guide

Lancashire cheese, a creamy delight from the heart of England, is known for its distinct varieties and versatile flavors. Often overshadowed by its more famous counterparts like Cheddar and Cheshire, Lancashire has a charm of its own that is well-loved by those who discover it.

With a crumbly texture and mild yet nuanced flavor profile, it offers three unique versions – Young Creamy Lancashire, often referred to as ‘toastie’, which is aged for 4 to 12 weeks and pairs excellently with Welsh rarebits. The Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese is a farm-made, raw milk variety, celebrated for its mellow tanginess balanced with hints of lemon and yogurt.

Whether enjoyed on a cheese platter or as part of a traditional British recipe, Lancashire cheese offers a taste of England’s rich dairy heritage, making it a must-try for all cheese enthusiasts.

Final Thoughts

As we conclude our flavorful journey through England’s dairy landscape, it’s clear that the country’s cheese-making heritage is as diverse as it is delicious. The crumbly yet rich Red Leicester, the robust Double Gloucester, and the unmistakable Cheddar all testify to the craftsmanship and dedication that go into every wheel.

The world of English cheeses is indeed an endless adventure of taste and texture. So next time you’re in the mood for a cheese platter or looking to enhance your favourite recipes, consider these top 10 most popular English cheeses. Their rich flavors and interesting histories are sure to make your culinary experience all the more exciting and satisfying. Happy cheese tasting!

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