Cheddar cheese is the the most commonly purchased cheese in the world. Originally produced in England, but today cheddar is produced in most cheese-making countries.
This popular cheese originated in the village of Cheddar in the Somerset region of England. It's a firm, cow's-milk cheese that ranges in flavor from mild to sharp, and in color from natural white to pumpkin orange. Orange cheddar is colored with a natural dye called annatto, the same plant based coloring used to color margarine. The best cheddar I've eaten in my life was while visiting a very small town in the English countryside. It is hard to find a cheddar superior to that cheese.
Cheddar pairs with almost anything but try a nice ale or a fruity red wine. Add some crusty bread and fresh fruit and your gathering will be a success.
There is probably hardly a store to be found in the U.S. that does not stock cheddar cheese although most are average at best. For a real treat find a Cheddar from Somerset, England, two examples include Keen's Farm and Montgomery's Farm. From the U.S. try Grafton Village Cheddar. Go to your local good cheese shop and sample a few to find a new favorite. Amazon sellers stock a few of the better brands like: Dorset Drum English Farmhouse Cheddar
Red Leaf Cheddar is an excellent sharp cheddar with a tangy, noticeably nutty flavor with a sweet aftertaste. This cow's milk cheese slices beautifully as a condiment for a salad or sandwich and is also a great melting cheese. Serve it with a good Merlot. This cheese is from Canada.