History of Double Gloucester
A relative of Single Gloucester from Gloucestershire in South West of England. Other lesser known ‘Gloucester’ cheeses are also produced, such as Cotswold Gloucester & Sage Gloucester despite the name are not from the county of Gloucester!
It is an area with lush countryside and perfect for the old gloucestershire cows due to the local river Severn running through the county.
The cheese was first mentioned in the 1700s and the recipe was written down passed from Mother to daughter, small variations were common from farm to farm.
Double Gloucester was seen as a wealthy persons cheese and the single version was more for the everyday man. The single version was quicker to produce as it required less maturing time. It was also able to be produced during the winter months when the milk was deemed less desirable as it is less creamy.
Not officially a Cheddar due to it being made in Gloucestershire, it is however common to hear people regarding it as such.
Double Gloucester is richer and higher in fat content than single Gloucester, and goes through a higher temperature during production.
The practise of adding Annatto to the cheese came about due to the dairymaids once skimming the fat off of the milk intended for cheese making so they could make butter. Unfortunately the cheese was much paler in colour and so Annatto was added to hide their deception. And since then it has become common practise to enhance the colour profile in this way.
To check for quality the cheeses were stood on and if inferior they would crumble under the weight and deemed ‘hoven’ diseased. Fortunately this is no longer the case and the quality is checked in a more meticulous manor such as tasting and listening to the cheese.
These days Double Gloucester is made in minute quantities compared to previous decades, and many factories mass produce this cheese with minimal guidelines in block styles. However a few dairies do still produce this cheese with much love and care. Mary Quicke of Quickes dairy is one producer bringing this quality cheese back into our memories. If you can, track some down.
With its distingtive orange colour and a buttery mouth feel it has a little tang on the palate and a taste that stays with you long after the cheese has been eaten willing you to buy more.