|Red Leicester "Sparkenhoe" http://bit.ly/1lsg1bD|
By the way, the place name Cheddar is thought to come from Old English ceodor "ravine," referring to
the eponymous gorge near the village, Cheddar Gorge. Thus, Cheddar Gorge is one of those names that repeats itself, etymologically, for it means "gorge gorge". Such place names are characterized as being tautological, and there is even a list of tautological place names available from Wikipedia. (Cheddar Gorge is currently absent from the list - feel free to add it!)
|Montgomery Cheddar - http://bit.ly/1nr2vV2|
Let's get back to that Red Leicester. (I was torn between capitalizing or not capitalizing red here. Since Leicester is capitalized as it is a place name, I am capitalizing red, as well.). It used to be known as Leicestershire cheese. However, once people noticed that high-quality cheeses made with rich summer milk with added cream tended to be orange in color, due to the high carotene content from the grass (Double Gloucester cheese is an example), that color became desirable in cheese. When annatto coloring became available in the 15th century, makers of Leicestershire cheese began adding annatto to their cheese to achieve that orange shade without having to use as much of the rich milk and cream (the Day-Glo orange color of many American Cheddars is a vestige of that). By the mid-18th century, the production of this cheese became regulated, and it came to be known as Leicester cheese. During World War II rationing, cheese production was standardized across the country and colors were no longer added, so cheese made in the Leicester area was known as White Leicester. Once the cheese industry recovered from the war, and annatto was again added to Leicester cheese, it came to be known as Red Leicester to distinguish it from the run-of-the-mill White Leicester.
Leicester contains the familiar -cester element which derives from Old English ceaster and means, etymologically, "walled town". Lei- comes ultimately, per the Oxford Names Companion, from Ligore, which is thought to refer to a specific tribe or group of people, but beyond that the word's origin is not known. While we're at it, how about annatto? The dye comes from the pulp that surrounds the seeds of the achiote tree, Bixa orellana. No one seems to know where the word annatto comes from, though the OED guesses that it is from a native Central American language, as the plant is indigenous to that region.
|Read more about perry: http://bit.ly/1od7H1S|
Even though the word perry used above is not a cheese name, it is an interesting word, nonetheless. It is not heard much in the U.S. in the sense "pear cider" - we often say "pear cider." However, it is a relatively old word, dating back to Middle English (14th century) and derives ultimately from Latin pirum "pear". Now, how about a glass of perry and some nice Blue Stilton? (Stilton is named after the town in Cambridgeshire in which it was first sold.)