Gloucester is a traditional, semi-hard cheese which has been made in Gloucestershire, since the 16th century.
There are two types of Gloucester cheese: Single and Double; both are traditionally made from milk from Gloucestershire breed cows farmed within Gloucestershire.
Both types have a natural rind (outer layer) and a hard texture, but Single Gloucester is more crumbly, lighter in texture and lower in fat. Double Gloucester is allowed to age for longer periods than Single, and it has a stronger and more savoury flavour. It is also slightly firmer. The flower known as Lady’s Bedstraw (Galium verum), was responsible for the distinctively yellow colour of Double Gloucester Cheese. In the United Kingdom today, of these two types of cheese, it is the "Double Gloucester" which is more likely to be sold in supermarkets. Both types are produced in round shapes, but Double Gloucester rounds are larger. Traditionally whereas the Double Gloucester was a prized cheese comparable in quality to the best Cheddar or Cheshire, and was exported out of the County, Single Gloucester tended to be consumed within Gloucestershire.
Single Gloucester has a Protected Designated Origin (P.D.O.) and can only be made in Gloucestershire using the milk from a dairy herd containing Gloucester cattle.
Most Double Gloucester sold in UK supermarkets is slab cheese, made in large creameries operated by major dairy companies such as Dairy Crest. It is normally sold as a supermarket own brand. This version of the cheese is pasteurised.
Origin of double and single names
The reason is not actually known! The main theories are:
because the creamy milk had to be skimmed twice to make the double variety, or
because cream from the morning milk was added to the evening milk, or
because a Double Gloucester cheese is typically twice the height
Rounds of Double Gloucester cheese feature in the Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake, a risky sport due to the length (200 yards), and 50% gradient of the steep Gloucestershire hillside.
The event attracts media attention from all over the world .... and paramedics