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Le Grand Fromage
Cheddar Gorge in General
Member Name: moistoist
Cheddar Gorge in General
Date: 15/05/01, updated on 18/05/01 (121 review reads)
Advantages: Beautiful doesn't describe the place
Disadvantages: scrumpy is strong stuff!
This is a subject I'm excessively passionate about. And if you think that's cheesy, read on gentle reader...
I HATE THEME PARKS, just the same way I hate those 'theme pubs'. In a pub I care about the people I'm with, not whether there are 5 girls doing a Coyote Ugly impression on the bar.
Though having said that...hmmm...
Anyway, returning to more mundane thoughts, I returned to Cheddar Gorge with some Russian friends of mine about two weeks ago, just for a holiday. Having lived there, I never bothered going to the tourist attractions...so often the case. I lived in Cambridge and never once went on the tour bus around all the colleges.
THE CHEESY PLACE
Cheddar. Yes it IS where the cheese comes from. If you taste the real article though, you'll never buy the supermarket stuff again...!!!
Cheddar cheese was first made there in the 12c and was aged in the nearby caves. Traditionally the firm curd is cut into small bits to drain away the whey and then pressed firmly into cylinders of 12-15 inches wide, wrapped in muslin, coated with wax and aged for a year or so, as far as I can remember.
Many exquisite varieties of the famous cheese can be sampled and bought in the town. The free samples are in the fridge at the little shop just opposite the entrance to the caves - more about them in a bit)
However Cheddar is famous not only for cheese; it lies at the mouth of a spectacular gorge in the Mendip Hills with panoramic views from the cliff-top walk (not for the faint-hearted)
Within the gorge are the equally spectacular caves. Yes, you can see stalagmites and stalagtites in every caves, but there is something hauntingly beautiful about Cheddar caves. If you can, go early in the day, and you might get it nearly to yourself, before the hoards arrive. And one other thing...TAKE A COAT even if it's 30 degrees outside. It's still COLD in the caves.
Artifacts have bee
n found in the caves dating back to stone age times, and the caves date back many millions of years themselves. The caves are now fully illuminated and are mostly open to the public - but some bits are closed off for safety reasons.
When you've had a good bit of Scrumpy (the third pint will have you legless, believe me!), and bought some of the mouthfuls of pure gold that is the cheddar (buy loads! you'll eat a fair bit in the car on the way back home...!), you must also visit Glastonbury. The annual festival is the best time to visit although tickets for it are pricey.
If you want the best place to stay, go to Canon Grange bed and breakfast in Wells, which overlooks the Cathedral. The food and hospitality there are second to none, believe me.
CONCLUSION - maybe I'm biased, but give it a try...if you want something peaceful, something that will relax you, go to Cheddar for the weekend. Well worth it.
And your tastebuds will love you for the rest of your life...
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