Cheddar cheese is a relatively hard, off-white (or orange if colourings such as annatto are added), sometimes sharp-tasting, natural cheese. Originating in the English village of Cheddar in Somerset, cheeses of this style are now produced beyond the region and in several countries around the world. Cheddar is the most popular type of cheese in the Uk, accounting
for 51% of the country's £1.9 billion annual cheese market. It is the second-most popular cheese in the US (behind mozzarella), with an average annual consumption of 10 lb (4.5 kg) per capita.The US produced approximately 3,000,000,000 lb (1,300,000 long tons; 1,400,000 tonnes) in 2014 and the UK 258,000 long tons (262,000 tonnes) in 2008. The term cheddar cheese is widely used, but has no protected designation of origin within the European Union. However, in 2007 a Protected Designation of Origin, "West Country Farmhouse Cheddar", was created and only Cheddar produced from local milk
within Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall and manufactured using traditional methods may use the name. Outside of Europe, the style and quality of cheeses labelled as cheddar may vary greatly, with some processed cheeses being packaged as "cheddar" while bearing little resemblance. Furthermore, certain cheeses that are more similar in taste and appearance to Red Leicester are sometimes popularly marketed as "red Cheddar". Central to the modernisation and standardisation of Cheddar cheese was the 19th-century Somerset dairyman Joseph Harding. For his technical innovations, promotion of dairy hygiene, and volunteer dissemination of modern cheese-making techniques, he has been dubbed "the father of Cheddar cheese". Harding introduced new equipment to the process of cheese-making, including his "revolving breaker" for curd cutting, saving much manual effort .The "Joseph Harding method" was the first modern system for Cheddar production based upon scientific principles. Harding stated that Cheddar cheese is "not made in the field, nor in the byre, nor even in the cow, it is made in the dairy". His wife and he were behind the introduction of the cheese into Scotland and North America. His sons, Henry and William Harding, were responsible for introducing Cheddar cheese production to Australia and facilitating the establishment of the cheese industry in New Zealand, respectively.
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