If you think that British cuisine is just cold, insipid bleh served with tea, well, you’re mostly right, but it has much to offer in the way of cheese. In fact, when we realized that this column had yet to feature a U.K.-sourced cheese, we ran over to Eddie’s Market of Charles Village, whose mountain of wide-ranging wedges and wheels we can always rely on to satisfy our emotional and snacking needs.
Not only have we failed to share our love for British cheese, but we haven’t included cheddar—the most popular cheese in the United Kingdom and the second-most popular cheese in the United States behind mozzarella—of any kind. So we found a wedge hailing from Somerset, where cheddar originated as early as the 12th century. Red Dragon ($15.99 per pound) is an English cheddar intensely flavored with whole-grain mustard and brown ale—a variety of Y Fenni, a Welsh cheese. The cheese’s name refers to the red wax that the cheese is typically encased in—although the wedges sold at Eddie’s are bare naked. Red dragons also grace the emblems of Wales and Somerset.
Now, this ain’t your grandma’s cheddar, unless your grandma is English (ours was; rest in peace, Marjorie). The firm-but-buttery yellow paste is dotted with whole mustard seeds and laced with a nearly overwhelming booziness. Too often, cheeses are flavored to compensate for the blandness of the cheese itself, but that is not the case here, and there is no better match for cheddar than mustard and ale, especially. The crunchy seeds complement the creamy velvet texture of the cheddar. It’s a three-hit wonder—tangy, boozy, spicy—with the power to dominate your mouth, possibly nations; the kind of cheese that pairs well with imperialism or a sprightly beheading. “Game of Thrones” won’t return for another year, so in the meantime, light a fire and curl up with this Mother of Dragons.