Double Gloucester is a mild cheddar-like English farmhouse cheese that has been produced since the 16th century. It is made from the morning and evening milkings then the whole milk and cream from these two milkings are poured and mixed together, rennet is then added to create the curd. The curd is lightly cooked, drained and then pressed in moulds to remove any excess water and whey, the resulting cheeses are set to age for about six months. There are two versions of Double Gloucester, one is white and the other light orange, the orange colour comes from the addition of annatto during the mixing stage. A hard natural rind is formed that can look unsightly but it is often covered by a cloth outer layer to help keep it dry. Farmhouse made Double Gloucesters almost always come clothbound and are usually more expensive than the plain rind cheeses made by large dairies.
The flavour of Double Gloucester depends on its age therefore the older it is the more flavour it will have. The inner paste is dense and hard but not overly dry. The outer rind may have spots of mould on it but this is normal and should not be looked at as a cheese gone bad. It has a buttery rich taste with hints of citrus and onion, as it ages it with have a sharper flavour and a decidedly nutty finish. This cheese should be stored in a ziplock bag in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator, this way it should last about 2 – 3 weeks, any mould that might form on it can simply be scraped away. When buying this cheese avoid any that look overly dry or cracked.
Serve Double Gloucester as a snack with fruit and crackers, try grating into salads or over baked potatoes and pasta, it also makes great grilled cheese sandwiches and paninis.
There is an innovative cheesemaker in England who has taken the Double Gloucester and combined it with Stilton – two for the price of one??
Huntsman is a pasteurized cow’s milk cheese made by the Long Clawson Dairy in England. Huntsman is relatively new to the retail cheese world but it has acquired a large and devoted following. It is made by starting with a wheel of 36 month aged Double Gloucester and cutting out sections in the split wheel by hand. The cut out sections are then filled in by hand with 3 month aged Stilton blue cheese. This time consuming process yields a wonderful cheese that is quite unique. It presents a combination of the soft, assertive Stilton with the mild flavoured, hard textured Double Gloucester. At first thought this combination really should not work, however one taste will quickly prove this line of thinking wrong.
Wine Pairing: Try it with a good Rioja or Reisling. It also goes well with hearty beers and ales.
Keep being Ewenique!