This orangy-red cow's-milk cheese was once colored with beet or carrot juice, then with annatto, but coloration was discontinued during World War II and Leicester cheese took on a naturally pale color. When the use of annatto was reinstated after the war, the word "red" was appended to "Leicester" to differentiate the pale style from the dyed version. The name "Red Leicester" stuck, though to distinguish it as such isn't necessary today because all Leicester is the same colora deep reddish orange. This cheese resembles cheddar but has a higher moisture content. It has a crumbly texture that makes slicing difficult but facilitates grating. The flavor is mellow with a tangy aftertaste. farmstead versions develop complex flavors of caramel, nuts and citrus. See also cheese.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.