Some cheesey facts to chew over around the cheeseboard this Christmas
Cheshire is Britain’s oldest named cheese, mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086. It was almost wiped out by post-war industrialisation. Only one (Shropshire-based) English producer of unpasteurised farmhouse Cheshire survives (applebyscheese.co.uk).
The biggest cheese ever made in the UK is believed to have been the 567kg Cheddar offered to Queen Victoria as a wedding gift in 1840. Two villages pooled all their milk to produce the three-metre wide whopper.
The annual cheese-rolling competition in Gloucestershire attracts crowds from all over the world to hurl themselves down Cooper’s Hill in pursuit of a wheel of Double Gloucester. The 4.1kg cheese can reach speeds of 70mph: in 2013 a fake foam cheese was introduced to avoid injury to spectators.
Despite what Ebenezer Scrooge believed, there is no scientific reason why cheese should give you nightmares. It might even help soothe you to sleep: like turkey, eggs and milk, cheese contains the amino acid tryptophan, which boosts levels of the happy hormone serotonin that plays a role in healthy sleep.
These cheese facts were taken from our feature, Know A Thing Or Two… Cheese, in our December issue.