This traditional recipe for Gloucester Cheese and Ale (Welsh Rabbit) from 1808 is so simple we will leave it at only a few lines to speak for itself … cut some Gloucester cheese into thin flakes, without any rind. Put the flakes in a baking dish, and spread over some English mustard then cover with a good ale. Cook in a hot oven until tender and the cheese has dissolved. Get ready some thick slices of brown toast, pour over the toast some hot ale you have heated in a saucepan then tip over the melted cheese. The hotter it is served the better.
‘A New System Of Domestic Cookery’, By Maria Rundell, Published 1808
Welch Rabbit [sic] (with Gloucester Cheese)
Toast a slice of bread on both sides, and butter it; toast a slice of Gloucester cheese on one side, and lay that next the bread, and toast the other with a salamander; rub mustard over, and serve very hot, and covered.
‘100 Gloucestershire Recipes: Old And New’, Published 1979
Collected and compiled by the Gloucestershire Federation of Women’s Institutes. This is a very old and simple recipe going back hundreds of years in this region.
Gloucestershire Cheese And Ale
Recipe: Cut some good Gloucestershire cheese into thin flakes, first removing any rind. Put in fire-proof dish, spread some mustard over and cover with strong ale. Cook until tender and cheese dissolved. Have ready some slices of thick brown toast, pour over hot ale over toast sufficiently to moisten it, then the cheese. Serve very hot.
Choosing your cheese: Gloucester cheese is a traditional, unpasteurised, semi-hard cheese which has been made in Gloucestershire since the 16th century, it was at one time made only with the milk of Gloucester cattle. There are two types of Gloucester cheese: Single and Double.
Both types have a natural rind and a hard texture, but Single Gloucester is more crumbly, lighter in texture and lower in fat. Double Gloucester is allowed to age for longer periods than Single, and therefore it has a stronger and more savoury flavour. It is also slightly firmer. Both types are produced in round shapes, but Double Gloucester rounds are larger.
Gloucester Cheese And Ale Recipe
Enough for two people
- 100ml of a good ale (drink the rest with the dish when made)
- 200g of a Gloucester Cheese (Double or Single) sliced thin
- 50g of a Gloucester Cheese (Double or Single) grated – reserved for garnish
- 2 tsp of the best English mustard
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 4 large slices of fresh bread, toasted (home-made if possible)
- butter for the toast
Slice long, thin flakes off your Gloucester Cheese and spread each one with a little English Mustard. Put each flake into the bottom of a pan. Cover the flakes in the ale and either put into a hot oven or on to the stove to melt the cheese and mustard into the ale.
Toast thick slices of fresh bread on both sides, butter one side, then pour the melted Gloucester Cheese mixture over the toast, season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the reserved grated cheese then serve the Gloucester Cheese and Ale with the rest of the ale to drink.