Cheddar empire: Rise of a cheese superpower

Upper- advanced
2020/08/04 21:30

Today's Vocabulary

1. farmstead (n)
the house belonging to a farm  and the building around it


2. gorges (n)
a deep, narrow valley with steep sides, usually formed by a river or stream cutting through hard rock


3.eschewing (v) 
to avoid something intentionally, or to give something up



4. herds (n)
a large group of animals of the same type that live and feed  together



5. recalls (v)
to bring the memory of a past event into your mind, and often to give a description of what you remember

6. nudge ( v)
to move slowly and almost reach a higher point or level

7. leveraged (adj)
used to describe a company or organization that owes a large amount of money in relation to its value

Cheddar empire: Rise of a cheese superpower

Green-carpeted hills roll away from Maryland Farm in Somerset, England, where a man named Daniel Barber began making farmstead cheese in 1833. Nearly 200 years later, his family’s Barber’s Farmhouse business is still going strong, now the oldest cheddar-maker in the world.

“The valley we’re in here is one of the most fertile and densely used dairy areas in the UK,” says Barber’s Farmhouse managing director Giles Barber, who is Daniel Barber’s great-great-great-grandson.

Fifteen miles away is the village of Cheddar itself, where early cheesemakers used limestone caves and gorges as natural refrigerators. (While the village gave cheddar cheese a name, historians say the cheese style developed regionally.)

Today, Barber’s Farmhouse is one of a small handful of producers allowed to sell cheese labeled West Country Farmhouse Cheddar, a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) with strict requirements. When making their Barber’s 1833 cheddar cheese, a cheese that’s included in the PDO, Barber’s producers use many techniques that the 19th-century founder would have recognized.

Milk comes from nearby dairy herds. Cheese curds are still turned over by hand. Eschewing the convenience of freeze-dried cultures, Barber’s Farmhouse maintains a collection of traditional cultures, strains of bacteria that convert milk’s natural lactose into flavorful lactic acid.

In an era of industrially produced, globalized food, Barber’s Farmhouse recalls a time when flavors and traditions were more regional.

But even when Daniel Barber first sold cheese in 1833, he was helping to nudge Britain’s food system towards the modern day. He couldn’t have known it, but his tangy, mellow cheddar was poised for a global expansion that leveraged immigration, technology and tradition.




  1. Why might the smelliest cheese taste the best?
  2. What do you know about cheese?
  3. How do you make cheese?



“Dessert without cheese is like a beauty with only one eye”

Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

“Age is of no importance unless you’re a cheese.”

Billie Burke