Mmmm.... Cheddar

Trip Start Dec 17, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Saturday, April 18, 2009

It seems a shame to let a weekend go by without a little exploration of some kind.  So here we go again... to Cheddar!  What could be better than a whole town made of cheese?  My thoughts exactly.  But seriously, folks, Cheddar is in fact home to the famous cheese and the beautiful Cheddar Gorge, the largest gorge in Great Britain.  It was superb, and only a short drive south of Bristol. 

The town is tiny but packed with things to do.  If you fancy cheese, of course they've got that.  If you fancy a rock climb, cave exploration, or a hike, they've got that too. Oh yes, and they have many a tea room serving the indulgent West Country treat, "cream tea."  What is a "cream tea" you ask?  Our friend, Estelle, told us we must try it when we were there.  Taking her advice we sat down at one of the many cafes and awaited the famous cream tea to arrive.  I assumed it was just tea with local cream of some sort mixed in it.  No... The cream tea, in fact, has nothing to do with cream IN the tea.  The "cream" part of the tea is actually a scone or two plopped with a generous dollop of something between the cream and butter stage, called clotted cream, with jam on top.... and then there's the tea.  Wow.... Talk about a decadent tea time.  It was lovely and yummy... and very fattening, but a nice treat.  Here's a more technical description.

The town is set at the base of Cheddar Gorge. We hiked up to the top of the gorge for a lovely view of the Somerset countryside. The gorge isn't the only natural wonder in the area though.  Below the rolling hills there is a whole maze of cathedral-like caves.  We toured one of them, Gough's Cave. Pretty cool. Some of the cheddar is aged in the cave.  We tried some of tasty cave-aged cheddar, but opted to buy the some applewood smoked cheddar and "medium" cheddar instead.  Good stuff.  It's no wonder that cheddar is England's favorite cheese.  The real thing is so much better than our American versions. 

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