Though the cave aged cheddar soon to be arriving in Dorset looks bright, and beautiful, only those who have been lucky enough to undertake a tour of the Wookey Hole Caves in Somerset will be aware of the adventurous journey these cheddars have undertaken on route to our festive cheeseboards.
It was nearly a year ago that the 2014 Christmas batch of cheddars were first conceived in Dorset. After being pressed into a 27kg wheels and bandaged in traditional cheese cloth last December, they were then transported to the Wookey Hole Caves where they were carried by hand, 200 feet underground into the caves.
Here the cheddars have been left for several months maturing naturally in the constant temperature and humidity of the caves. They are lovingly nurtured, brushed and turned daily and graded by master graders regularly to ensure that the flavours are developing and progressing.
Now reaching optimum maturity, the cheddars will be taken back to the Farm in Dorset, the bandages will be removed, the cheddars will be brushed to remove any remaining flecks of mould and rind and then they will be cut and packed into wedges, ready to grace the stores.
Of course for those who want to experience Wookey Hole Cave Aged Cheddar in its original form, supermarket delis and specialist cheese shops will cut a piece to your specification from the wheel.
Wookey Hole Cave Aged Cheddar is said to have a rich, tangy and mature flavour, further enhanced with the deliciously distinctive, earthy and nutty aroma of the caves. When you next buy it, you will have an unusual story to tell to your guests about its journey to your cheeseboard.