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BLUE CHEESE

bluecheese

Whether partial to the continental flavours of Roquefort, Gorgonzola, or Danablu, or simply an unadulterated British Stilton takes your fancy, a bold blue is an essential component of any classic cheeseboard.

With its beautiful blue-veined appearance, definable odour and creamy yet fruity flavour, blue cheese, can you believe, is said to have been created purely by chance.  Stored at natural temperatures in damp caves meant the conditions encouraged the growth of harmless mould we now know to be penicillium roqueforti – this is how many blue cheeses are aged to this day.

As the number one British variety, Blue Stilton has been granted the status of Protected Designation of Origin.  Under strict European law, only blue cheese produced in Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire can officially be termed ‘Stilton’.  That is not to say our nation’s love-affair with this stinking cheese stops there however!

Here are some of GrowEatGather’s favourite British blues;

Borough Blue

A rich soft creamy textured blue cheese with a distinct character, Borough Blue is produced by one of our favourite local cheese duos, the lovely Sarah and Chris from The Shebbear Cheese Co.

Their farm (aka the cheese factory) is set in the beautiful Devon countryside in a little village called Higher Forda. Initially they pursued their respective careers, Chris travelling to far flung places with the UN and Sarah managing Garden Centres However it wasn’t long before they decided to give this up and start a poultry business producing eggs and rearing table birds, only giving this up when Sarah discovered cheesemaking!

Sarah and Chris will be teaching the art of making blue cheese using traditional methods at Clavelshay Barn next Saturday 21st February. Find out more here »

Dorset Blue Vinney

Produced just outside the Dorset town of Sturminster Newton, this beautifully creamy, yet punchy blue carries a hard, crumbly texture, perfect for sprinkling over salads, topping toast or paired with a crispy Dorset Knob or two!

Made from unpasteurised cow’s milk, this cheese is fairly young in maturity aged for a period of 6 weeks to allow the culture to establish yet not overpower the delicate cheese.

Easy on the palate, yet distinct in flavour, blue vinney loves the sweet contrast of apple and the bite of wine and port.  Its the perfect base to a steak sauce, or why not try this Dorset blue vinney scone bread!

Isle of Wight Blue 

Soft, creamy and relatively mild, this is a great cheese to convert dubious people to the delights of blue cheese.  Made from pasteurised Guernsey cow’s milk on the quaint Isle of Wight, this blue looks stunning on a cheeseboard.  With its definable silver rind, this blue is aged for 3 – 5 weeks, maturing further – and at speed – once at home.

This is a fantastic cheese to use in indulgent soups and sauces, as well as being matched with cured meats.  Try this recipe for savoury bread and butter pudding that pairs it with leeks and Serrano ham.

Oxford Blue 

Semi-soft in texture, this is a cheese to rival the classic Gorgonzola.  Wanting to achieve a British blue brie, Oxford blue was first produced only in 1994, firstly by established Stilton makers, Hartington Creamery, but production was later transferred to just outside Oxford.

With maturation period of 8 – 16 weeks, this cheese develops aromatic and spicy flavours making it particularly good in cooking.  It is the perfect match to creamy, sweet vegetables such as squashes and parsnips – try it yourself with this Butternut squash recipe with pecans and blue cheese.

RECIPES
Dorset Blue Vinney Scone Bread
Savoury Bread and Butter Pudding
Butternut Squash with Pecans and Blue Cheese

Words by Helen Upshall

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