The Origins of Cheddar Cheese

By Samuel Phineas Upham

Cheddar is one of the most popular cheeses in the entire world, used in everything from baking bread to making cheeseburgers. It originated in Somerset, with early records putting the time period somewhere around the end of the 12th Century.

The Cheddar namesake comes from Gorge, which are caves in the town of Cheddar that were used to store cheese in order to increase its shelf life. This was something like an early refrigerator. The caves would have had ideal temperatures, and consistent humidity to help mature the cheese.

Cheddaring also became a verb, referring to the process of making cheese, thanks to the town of Cheddar. This specific process is designed to help curd whey, stretching it to create a harder cheese with a firm body. This is why cheddar is consistently firmer than other cheeses like Brie.

Cheddar cheese was the greatest cheese in Britain, officially, as of 1170. King Henry II had purchased over 10,000 pounds of the stuff at a price of one farthing per pound. His son James, who ruled after his death until 1216, seems to have shared his father’s affinity for the stuff. Cheddar had grown so popular by the time Charles I took the throne in 1625 that cheese was purchased before it was even made. Perhaps one of the world’s earliest concepts of pre-ordering.

Cheddar is available worldwide, and it’s one of the most common cheeses available. It’s used heavily in sandwich making, sharp variants accompany wines and cheddar tasting is a popular pastime in some social circles.

Samuel Phineas Uphamis an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Samual Phineas Upham website or Linkedin page.

The History of Brie

By Phineas Upham

Perhaps the greatest, and best-known, of all French cheeses is “Brie.” It has come to be known as “The Queen of Cheeses,” for good reason. It hails from the French region of Brie, where it gets its namesake, and it is only a few hundred years old. Brie is said to be one of the greatest tributes ever to be paid to French royalty.

The cheese imported in the United States is very different from the real thing back in France. The surface of the cheese is browned in France, which gives the flavor complexity and intensity. The pure-white cheese we get in the states is not mature and fails to properly develop in the eyes of the French. This is done for shelf-life primarily, as the un-stabilized version from France doesn’t keep for long.

Made with whole or semi-skimmed cow’s milk, Brie is considered a soft cheese. Curd is obtained at 37 degrees Celsius once Rennet has been introduced to the raw milk. Once curds form, the cheese is placed into a mold. Several layers are placed atop each other and the mold is stored for 18 hours. The cheese is usually salted once it is removed, and then aged for an additional four weeks at minimum. Brie is also usually served with a thick, white rind around the edges. This rind is not meant to be eaten, although some do, and it helps to preserve the cheese and its flavor in the states. It’s considered a dessert cheese, and is usually served as a small wheel inside of a wood box. It’s best enjoyed at room temperature.

About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or LinkedIn page.