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According to the US Department of Agriculture, cheddar is the world’s most popular cheese, consumed more than any other. And it’s obvious why. With a range of maturities and flavors, cheddar is extremely versatile and widely enjoyed by people with a variety of tastes. 

So go on and get cheesy because National Cheddar Day is here!

History of National Cheddar Day

Cheddar cheese has a history that dates back several hundred years, to the twelfth century. The legend goes that in the village of Cheddar, in Somerset, England, a young woman placed a pail of milk in a cave to keep it cool on a hot day, as was the practice at the time. She forgot about the pail of milk and when she returned, it had turned into this delicious hardened cheese that everyone loves today.

As monarchs and royals began to enjoy the flavors and tastes that cheddar cheese brought, it became popular around England and then moved over to Europe. Kings and queens alike would enjoy the round wheels of orange-colored cheese that eventually became famous the world over.

Cheddar made its way into the New World with the settlers who started making cheddar in the United States. Eventually, by the year 1790, the colonists were making their own cheddar cheese and exporting it back to their home country of England. By 1851, the world’s first cheese factory was opened in upstate New York where the largest production of cheese was focused on cheddar, of course.

Today, the influence of cheddar cheese reaches far and wide, but the US holds the title as the world’s largest cheddar producer, with Germany coming in second. In fact, in 2020 more than 3.8 billion pounds of cheddar cheese were produced by cheese makers in the United States.

The state of Wisconsin produces the most cheddar cheese in the United States and cheddar is the most commonly used choice for cheeseburgers. 

So it stands to reason that National Cheddar Day would be established to pay honor and respect to this incredible and delightful cheese!

National Cheddar Day Timeline

1100s

Cheddar cheese is born

Created in the appropriately named village of Cheddar in Somerset, England, this cheese becomes popular with royals and nobles. [1]

1170

King Henry II purchases cheddar

Records indicate that this king purchased more than 10,000 pounds of cheddar cheese. [2]

Mid 1800s

Joseph Harding creates modern processes

Sometimes called the “Father of Cheddar” Harding is credited with the production formula for modern cheddar cheese. [3]

19th century

Cheddar migrates around the world

By this time, cheddar is no longer just beloved by the British, but has made its way all over the globe.

1979

Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen first opens

The first Irving, Texas location of this restaurant opens, to be followed by more than 170 more over the coming decades. [4]

How to Celebrate National Cheddar Day

Take some time to celebrate the wonders of this culinary delight by enjoying some special activities related to National Cheddar Day. Get started on the day’s celebrations with some of these cheddar cheese ideas:

Enjoy Some Cheddar Cheese

Get out those favorite cheddar cheese recipes and whip up something delicious. Or, even better, keep it simple and enjoy some slices of delicious cheddar cheese just on their own. In fact, cheddar makes a great snack! Combine cheddars with apple slices, pear slices, grapes or other types of fruit, as well as crackers, pretzels, breadsticks, slices of bread and so much more.

Learn Some Fun Facts About Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese has a long and interesting history that goes back for centuries. With that in mind, perhaps National Cheddar Day would be the perfect time to learn a little bit more about this iconic cheese – and don’t forget to share them to raise awareness for the day!

Get started with some of these unique bits of trivia about cheddar cheese: 

  • Queen Victoria of England was presented with an enormous wheel of cheddar cheese on the occasion of her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840. The wheel weighed more than 1,000 pounds – which means she probably didn’t eat it all herself.

  • Cheddar cheese’s color naturally appears in a range from white to yellow. The orange color in modern cheese is added purposefully by some cheesemakers. 

  • The record for the largest cheese sculpture was made from cheddar in Louisiana in 2018, when a 3100 pound chunk of cheese was carved into the shape of an alligator wearing a chef’s hat and frying a turkey! The cheddar sculpture was then cut up and sold to the public.

  • Not to be outdone by Queen Victoria, US President Andrew Jackson once served a wheel of cheddar cheese at White House party. Remarkably, it weighed more than 1400 pounds.

Host a Cheddar Cheese Tasting Party

Have tons of fun and get super cheesy in honor of National Cheddar Day. Host a cheddar tasting party that allows for different types of cheddar and cheese to be tasted, served along with various fruits, crackers, breads, olives or a full charcuterie board. Go for a sophisticated vibe by offering wines and other cocktails. Or, make it a bit more silly and kid-friendly by serving soft drinks and inviting everyone to dress up wearing their favorite cheese heads, cheesy outfits or even a mouse costume!

Make Some Unique Cheddar Recipes

Food holidays are a delight when it comes to celebrating in the kitchen and National Cheddar Day is no exception! Try out some of these delicious ideas for cooking with cheddar on this special day:

  • Mom’s Mac ‘n Cheese. Cheddar is better when it’s made into delicious comfort food that makes it melty, gooey and delicious! This classic American dish is likely what every little wheel of cheddar dreams of becoming. 
  • Cheddar Potato Soup. Using yummy potatoes as a base and adding tasty chunks of cheese that melt in, a recipe for cheesy potato soup is perfect on a winter day. Add in some chunks of ham or bacon for a meaty flavor, or bits of broccoli for a healthy spin. 
  • Au Gratin Potatoes. Thin slices of potatoes coated in cheese and baked to perfection! An au gratin potato recipe brings comfort food to a whole new level, making a great side for steak, ham, pork chops and more. 
  • The Ultimate Grilled Cheese. When paired with artisan bread, amazing cheddar and unique fillings, grilled cheese sandwiches are anything but boring! Try unique combinations with cheddar cheese, such as pear with avocado, apple slices with apricot jam, or even add a fried egg. 

National Cheddar Day FAQs

Is cheddar healthy?

Cheddar cheese is a good source of calcium as well as Vitamin K.[1]

Can you freeze cheddar cheese?

Cheddar cheese can be frozen, but it might make the texture more crumbly.[2]

Why is cheddar cheese orange?

Cows originally had a beta-carotene rich diet that produced orange cheese. Now, the color is added because of tradition.[3]

Can cheddar cheese be left out?

Generally, hard cheeses like cheddar can be left out, but they will last longer if refrigerated. [4]

What is Cheddar News?

Cheddar News is a live streaming network composed of financial news, business and culture. [5]

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