Longhorn cheddar cheese is a supermarket staple. It may look a lot like its orange namesake, and often it is the same thing. In fact, the word longhorn refers to shape, not style or flavor.
Cheddar is the most popular cheese in the United States. It takes its name from the village of Cheddar in England, where it has been made for centuries. It's a firm cheese, traditionally made from cow’s milk. The flavor ranges from bland to extra sharp. The color can be white, yellow or bright orange. The orange color common in mass-produced versions is due to annatto, a natural dye. Aged cheddars can develop a strong, sharp, nutty taste.
Although longhorn cheese usually refers to a mild-flavored form of processed, orange-colored cheddar in America, the name actually denotes a shape. Cut from a long, oblong cylinder of cheese, longhorn typically sells in half-moon sections. In addition to cheddar, this longhorn shape is found in Monterey Jack, Colby and Colby Jack versions.
The Difference Between Longhorn and Cheddar
Longhorn is a shape of cheese. Cheddar is a subcategory of cheese. However, the term longhorn commonly refers to mild, processed American cheddar cheese.
- “The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink”; John Mariani; 1999
- “The Guide to Ridiculously Easy Entertaining”; Mike Riccetti & Michael Wells; 2005
Mike Riccetti began writing professionally in 2001 with the guidebook "Houston Dining on the Cheap." He writes for various publications, is an editor for the Zagat Survey and is working on a book about Italian food in the United States. Riccetti has degrees from the University of Texas and Cornell University.