Gloucester is a traditional, full fat, hard cheese made from pasteurised or unpasteurised cows’ milk. The cheese, made from the milk of once nearly extinct Old Gloucester cows, traces its origins to 1498 in the City of Gloucester.
Gloucester comes in both single and double varieties. While Single Gloucester is made from skimmed milk, Double Gloucester uses full-fat milk. In addition, Double Gloucester is twice the height of Single Gloucester and more flavourful. It is also said that Double Gloucester uses the whole milk taken from two milkings or a mixture of milk and cream. On the other hand, Single Gloucester uses full cream milk from the morning milking and skimmed milk from the evening milking.
Single Gloucester has a P.D.O designation, meaning it can be produced only in Gloucestershire. There are only four cheesemakers in Gloucestershire who make Single Gloucester. It is matured for a less amount of time and thus develops a fresh, somewhat nutty taste but slightly more acidic than Double. Also, it is lighter in texture, crumbly and low on fat.
The double variety has a smooth and buttery texture, rich and nutty yet mellow flavour and apricot colour thanks to the addition of annatto plant extract. Vegetarian rennet is used and the cheese is aged for at least 4 months. If the cheese is allowed to age further, it will develop more complex and nutty flavours. Moreover, the texture tends to become very hard and flaky.
Double Gloucester participates every year in the Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake where buyers jump on the cheese to evaluate its quality and sustainability. A traditional British Ale or red like Syrah will perfectly complement a Double Gloucester.