(Matured for around 12 months in Gough’s Cave)
Our award-winning Cave Matured Cheddar has been matured within Cheddar Gorge’s natural caves. The influence of the cave environment has been remarkable in terms of texture and taste – our natural cave matured cheddar is smooth and well rounded. It has a soft but complex, rounded flavour.
The creaminess in comparison with Extra Mature and Vintage is notable and this cheese is unique in its complexity and character. While some of our customers love the cheese for its association with the caves and our heritage, just as many nominate it as their favourite cheddar on taste alone, making it an extremely popular choice. A natural cave is a unique and incredible environment. The constant temperature and humidity provide perfect conditions in which to mature traditional cheddar cheese. For hundreds of years, these conditions provided Nature’s own larder.
Seeing our cheeses maturing in Gough’s Cave is a sight you never really forget. It’s an impressive sight and feat. We are the first cheesemakers in living memory, to once more mature cheddar cheese within the Natural Cheddar Gorge Caves, and have been delighted by the success. The taste is indeed extraordinary!
These cheddars dry-out less; the moisture content is a critical component that defines the chemistry within the cheese. The cave allows the cultures and enzymes within the body of cheese to ‘move on’ more quickly, producing a unique, more complex cheddar flavour which is also influenced by the natural yeasts and moulds present within the caves.
Enjoying your Natural Cave Matured Cheddar…
The delicate and softer notes in this cheddar will benefit from not being overwhelmed by flavours that are too bold. Lighter style reds such as Bordeaux make a good pairing, but equally a white wine with character such as a Sauvignon Blanc would go very well. Lighter ales and even a crisp cider make good bedfellows.
Cheese lovers taste the first authentic Cheddar for over 100 years
Published in the Daily Mail on 24 May 2007
Cheese lovers tasted the first authentic hand-made cave-matured Cheddar cheese for over 100 years today. However, the tradition of cave maturing – which gives the cheese a unique flavour according to the air in each darkened cavern – fell from favour at the beginning of last century due to cost constraints.
But Britain’s new-found appetite for quality food has boosted the cottage industry and now the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company has begun cave maturing once more.
Yesterday a three-month old “medium” cheddar, matured deep in the quarter-mile long Gough’s Cave and made using original methods, was unveiled. Bob Smart, of Cheddar Caves & Gorge, said it was a proud moment for everyone involved in putting the historical jigsaw together.
He said: “This is the first time in over 100 years we have been able to produce authentic cheddar, using milk from cheddar cows, hand-made at the Gorge and then matured in the caves.
“In an age of plastic-wrapped and water-filled supermarket cheddars, it’s a real pleasure to see such well-loved classically British cheese being produced as it was always intended to be.”
The term “cheddaring” relates to a crucial stage in the cheese-making process where 18 inch by 6 inch blocks are cut, turned over and stacked up to four high to help drain off whey.
This authentic Cheddar is also pressed three times, where most mass-produced cheese is pressed just once.
John Spencer, manager of the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company, has already won international awards for his Somerset dairy, which he took over in 2003. He said: “This is the culmination of something we’ve always planned to do – it is the final stage in completing a historical process. It really is a special day.
“Cheddar is now hugely popular all over the world and hopefully now more people will be able to taste it as our ancestors would have.
“Cave maturing makes an incredible difference to the flavour. When cheddar began to grow in popularity the economics of production kicked in and the hand-made approach was lost.
“This may not be produced in massive volume but it is, for the first time, truly authentic.”
Currently (2019), The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company has three talented cheesemakers, producing just 60 tonnes of authentic cheddar cheese a year, a fraction of the 150 to 200,000 tonne UK cheddar market! This artisanal product has won many awards including a Silver Medal for Cave Matured in the 2019 Global Cheese Awards! Husband and wife team John and Katherine Spencer are on a mission; to preserve and protect traditional Cheddar Cheese made in the village of Cheddar – the true home of the namesake.
Their 25kg cheese “rounds” are dressed cotton muslin cloth carried carefully to mature in Gough’s Cave deep within the splendid natural carboniferous limestone caverns in Cheddar Gorge. They are inspected and turned until they are 12 months old before being graded and selected for customers.
John, Katherine, the staff from Cheddar Caves & Gorge joined landowner, Lord Alexander Marquess of Bath’s at the grand first tasting of this special cheese in 2007 and all were delighted and impressed by the result.
This Cave Matured authentic cheddar has a strong, complex taste yet is creamy in texture due to the high humidity of the caves. The environmental conditions significantly influence flavour too which can be directly compared to their ‘siblings’ matured at Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company’s Dairy Maturing Stores – just 500m down the road.
Starting off as a curiosity experiment back in 2006, this Cave Matured Cheddar has been a resounding success. John and Katherine were the first in living memory to once more, return cheddar to the famous natural caves and are delighted by the resulting cheese qualities. Both a science and an art, traditional cheddar has welcomed a revival in popularity – for all the producers. Thanks in part to The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company’s step into the unknown.
Cheese: Made with raw cow’s MILK
"I am really glad that we visited this shop and learned all about the cheese making process. The tickets costs £2.50 each and covers the whole day which is perfect as I now know that the cheese making process is not a quick one! You can watch each stage as it happens......no fast forwarding here! You can dip in and out, leave the area and pop back later to watch the next stage of the process. I found it very interesting and good value for money. There are interesting signs to read which explain each step in detail. The only annoying thing is the video in your ear playing on a loop. I wish I could have stayed longer to see the whole thing from start to finish. The cheese maker interacted with us through a window but popped his head out for a chat when we found communication difficult through the glass. The shop was very clean and offered tasters of the various cheeses. The staff here were very friendly and professional and are willing to describe the cheeses available. I really enjoyed my visit here"
"A fantastic experience here. The staff are super helpful and the way that they let you taste a variety of cheese and when we were tasting we were told what order it would be best to try the cheese so that the aftertastes and the overpowering tastes came last".
"The best cheese you can get, all sizes and strengths super tasty, good service and friendly staff, always make sure we stop here when we visit cheddar gorge"
Before going to the shop we opted to take the cheesemaking tour which was very interesting and definitely worth the £2.50 it cost. We had never seen cheese being made before and it was fascinating. We were able to watch the process, saw a video and had a guide too. Afterwards we went to the shop where we were able to try the various cheeses and of course buy some! Everyone was very friendly and helpful.
"Hello lovely people. I just wanted to say a very big thank you for my recent order and getting it to me so quickly. I ordered Thursday morning and it arrived the next day, very impressed. I am a very big cheese lover and to be able to buy cheese online from the Gorge is brilliant, it's so good you can keep going despite the current restrictions. It has been a struggle this week; who would have thought a few pieces of cheese would be able to lift my mood and bring a smile to my face. Hopefully one day soon I'll be able to pay you a proper visit although this may be dangerous as would probably buy a lot more without thinking! Thank you again, stay safe, Angela"
"Drawn to this shop due to the provenance of the cheese. You can buy cheddar pretty much everywhere but Cheddar made in Cheddar, enough said. Great shopping experience, lovely staff and amazing cheese. For me the cave aged and extra mature are the front runners and I genuinely munched through most they had to offer. If you a visiting then go here. If you are staying in Cheddar, go here often. Highly recommend"
“I have been meaning to drop you a few lines for a while now and finally am getting to it! I wanted to say how wonderful your hampers are! I have to be honest, in that I came upon you by chance and in desperation just before Christmas. I live in Spain, I have one brother in Germany and another brother in UK. Generally we dont send gifts to each other though there is a great love between us. We talk all the time via It media. But this year was different… with everything that has been happening in our lives and even though we are all adjusting it is sometimes very hard and especially for those of us who live away from “home” (UK). So this is where you guys came in and wow! did you deliver in every way! My brother in Germany was completely blown away by his hamper and has never stopped talking about it and how well it was packed and just how great it was to have a taste of “home”. He cant praise you enough! Ditto my other brother in Poole, Dorset, also very surprised and delighted with his truckle! So this has made me a very happy sister to have helped bring a smile and some joy to them both (and hopefully helped you too!). As a family we hailed from Bournemouth and my father was from Somerset… every weekend in our youth we would take a trip down your way to explore… great part of the world. Gods Country indeed.. I do miss it. I was so pleased and very pleasantly surprised by your very efficicient and A+++++ service and quality… quite a rarity these days! Many sincere Thanks and well done, you truly deserve to succeed.. you got it right!!! Kindest Regards and thank you… ( will definitely be in touch again!)”
"I bought some of your cheese straws recently - they are exquisite! There's not one improvement that can be made! Absolutely delicious"
"I bought some of your cheese straws yesterday for the first time. In 53 years of eating, I can honestly say I have never tasted anything as sublime . They are off the Richter Scale! Thank you"
"Sent as a gift. Very speedy dispatch and excellent delivery, well packaged with a cool pack, recipients were very pleased"
"Lucky enough to have been given behind the scenes access of how they make their very own cheddar cheese. Very helpful and dedicated people who are passionate about what they do!"
'First off....May I say Thank You for kindly taking the time to talk to me on the phone this morning, I would just like to say how very impressed I was with my parcel which was delivered as promised today, contents as follows: The four cheese hamper, an extra box of cheese straws, and an extra jar of Harvest chutney which are all fabulous, what also impressed me was the ice pack placed inside to keep everything cool and fresh (a very nice touch), as I said to you on the phone we visited your shop in August and were so delighted with the layout of all your beautiful products we had no hesitation in buying some cheese and cheese straws which were most definitely enjoyed by all. Keep up the good work guys, One very happy customer😊'
"CHEESE LOVERS DREAM! Paid for the tour, due to covid was limited numbers of places, was given a detailed history of the cheese company and shown the process, thoroughly enjoyable then in to the shop for some tasting. The cheese was delicious a little pricy but worth the money."
'Hello, my cheese order has just turned up and we're already tucking into the cheese straws. These are the best I've ever tasted!' Thanks very much, I feel sure we'll be back for more!
'Cheese and Cheese Straws arrived on time and in excellent packaging. Great service and advice from Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company. I had a small problem with AMEX card and I was contacted quickly to find out more about the issue and to resolve the problem. Highly recommend the products and the people 😀'
'Hello Wonderful Cheese Company, my order has just been delivered. It was a surprise for my husband as we are O.A.P.'s and staying at home during the current crisis. I wish you could've seen Richard's face when he opened the big box of delicious goodies! Last June we made a trip from Windsor to visit you on his 70th birthday and came home with car loaded. Sadly won't be doing that this year so I'll just have to order some more when he's finished this lot. Do hope you are all staying safe and well during this strange and challenging time. Delighted that you are still able to carry on with orders which I'm sure must be very difficult for you all. Look after yourselves and a very big THANK YOU'
'I love this shop and the museum/factory behind it. Even though I've been before, the information is great and the video is really informative. We arrived a bit late in the day, so missed watching the cheese being made but we did get in for free! The cheese tasting is well organised even when it's busy and the staff are so polite and friendly'.
'What a fab little place keeping their tradition alive! We enjoyed watching the video. and also managed to see them in action, separating the curd. The shop is filled with so many different things to sample. We of course purchased cheese, plus cheese straws which were so moreish! Overall a wonderful experience and they do online orders, so as we aren’t local we will be using this!'
A real Cheese lovers delight- well worth a look, and a taste!
Pretty sure they offer online sales also, so if you find a favourite you don’t ever have to be without!’