A cheese made from the whole milk of cows that may be creamy white or orange in color if the natural additive known as annatto has been added to create the traditional orange colored cheddar. The flavor or cheddar ranges from mild and sweet to sharp and tangy, which is a result of the age of the cheese. Mild cheddar is aged from 2 to 4 months. Medium cheddar is aged from 4 to 6 months. Sharp cheddar is aged from 6 months to a year and extra sharp cheddar for 1 year or longer.
Cheddar cheese originated in the town of Cheddar Gorge, England and is one of the most popular and versatile varieties of cheese available. In addition to varieties that range from mild to sharp in flavor, some of the common types of cheddar that may be available as either a white or orange cheddar include the following: light versions (lower fat content), spicy (chile or horseradish flavored), wine soaked or wine flavored, smoked, vegetable or herb flavored, and cheddars layered with blue cheeses, such as Double Gloucester Stiltons. Cheddar cheese is often served in sandwiches with luncheon meat, in open or closed-faced grilled cheese sandwiches, as an appetizer or snack with meats, fruit and breads, as a dessert cheese with pie, or as an ingredient in a variety of cooked dishes and baked goods. It is a cheese that is also served in soups, pasta dishes and well known versions of macaroni and cheese.