9 Most Popular Types of Blue Cheese in UK
Blue Cheese Table of Contents
What Is Blue Cheese?
Blue Cheese is a type of cheese that contains cultures of Penicillium mould added. This mould gives the cheese its distinctive smell as well as the blue, or blue-grey veins. These cheeses are usually aged in a temperature-controlled area such as a cave. These cheeses can be eaten by themselves, however, the distinctive sharp and salty flavour makes these cheeses ideal for cooking.
9 Most Popular Blue Cheeses
- Mrs Temples Binham Blue
- Blacksticks Blue
- Bleu des Causses AOC
- Blue Monday (Alex James)
- Colston Bassett Stilton PDO
- Cote Hill Blue
- Montagnole Affine
- Gorgonzola Dolce DOP
Colston Bassett Stilton PDO
This is an English cheese, that’s made in two varieties – blue (with penicillium roqueforti) and white (with none). Stilton is made from pasteurized milk and was first sold in the village of Stilton (UK). However there are no records confirming it was made there. Colston Bassett Stilton has been granted the status of a protected designation of origin (PDO) by the EEC. This means only cheeses produced in Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire may be called Stilton. So not even a cheese produced in the village of Stilton (Cambridgeshire) may use the distinctive name. Since September 2016 there are now just 6 dairies licensed to make Stilton. The Colston Bassett PDO is made at one of these.
Characteristics of Stilton
To be called "Blue Stilton", a cheese must:
- be made in one of the three countries of Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire from local milk, which is pasteurised before use, although at peak times the milk may be drawn from elsewhere in England and Wales),
- form its own crust or coat,
- have the traditional cylindrical shape,
- contain delicate blue veins radiating from the centre,
- be unpressed,
- have a "taste profile typical of Stilton",
- and have a minimum of 48 per cent milk fat in the dry matter.
The typical fat content of Stilton is about 36% and it has a protein content of about 22%.
What is the best way to eat Stilton?
Blue Stilton is often eaten accompanied by pears or even celery. Alternatively, it can be eaten together with bread, crackers or biscuits. For cooking Stilton is great added to vegetable soup, most often to the cream of celery (or broccoli). Another great use for Stilton is to make a cheese sauce and drizzle this over a steak. For vegetarians Stilton works beautifully when crumbled over a salad and to my mind far more interesting than feta cheese.
What is Stilton Paired with?
The popular pairing is a blue Stilton with either a barley wine or a port. However, to my mind, it also goes very well with a sweet sherry or a Madeira wine (also sweet).
Cote Hill Blue
COTE HILL BLUE cheese is hand-made on the farm by Michael & Mary and their sons Joe & Ross, with milk from of their 80 pedigree Friesian cows. MICHAEL & MARY DAVENPORT have been farming at Cote Hill Farm, Osgodby, in the heart of the Lincolnshire Wolds for over 30 years. COTE HILL BLUE cheese is made from unpasteurised COWS milk cheese taken directly from the cows to the cheese-making rooms on the farm. Cote Hill Blue is a blue cheese that has a fine balance between rich creaminess and a peppery taste. Similar in style to a soft textured blue brie, creamy with a definite sharpness and complex flavours. The cheese matures from a lightly chalky centre to a soft runny texture. The moulds found on the natural rind help to develop the flavour of the cheese. This is one of the best examples of LINCOLNSHIRE produce available.
Stichelton is a cheese similar to Stilton that differs in that it is made from raw milk and does not use factory-produced rennet. Interestingly the name comes from the Doomsday book of 1086 that refers to the village of Stilton as Stichiltone/Sticiltone as this cheese cannot legally use the name Stilton. ForbesLife magazine described Stichelton as “a sumptuous cheese that sets a full-flavoured, succulent, complex chain of sensations going in your mouth: fruity and salty, buttery, and earthy, sharp and creamy.”
Mrs Temples Binham Blue
Mrs Temples Binham Blue is hand-produced on Copys Green Farm, at Wighton, on the Holkham Estate by Catherine Temple. The milk comes from her own herd of Brown Swiss and Holstein Friesian cattle that graze near Wells-next-the-Sea, in north Norfolk. Catherine Temple is a cheesemaker who prides herself on high standards of animal welfare. Copy’s Green Farm is so conscious of their animals and environment that they are a leading cheesemaker in responsible and sustainable farming, ensuring that their cattle food is mostly produced on the farm and is fully traceable from grass meadows through to the customer. Not only that but their cheese production is fuelled by the energy created on the farm using biomass technology. The farm’s waste is utilised back into fertilising the land, and they try to use minimal packaging for their goods. Mrs Temples Binham Blue is a vegetarian cheese made using pasteurised milk. The cheese is soft with a pale yellow interior, a creamy texture and a tangy taste. The cheese produces a natural crust and is full flavoured – though not overpowering, with a good bite on the finish. Not as strong as a stilton, this blue sits comfortably in the mild to medium range and is a great crowd-pleaser. Delicious paired with tangy accompaniments like pickles and marmalade. An award-winning cheese that is famous across East Anglia.
Blacksticks Blue is suitable for vegetarians The award winning Blacksticks® Blue is the original farmhouse blue veined cheese. It is made from pasteurised milk of the Butlers family herd of pedigree cows Blacksticks® Blue is crafted in open vats, then poured into individual moulds, turned by hand and matured. The cheese is aged for about 2 months during which it develops a distinctive amber hue along with a delicious smooth creamy & tangy taste. This is a cheese loved even by people who normally don’t like blue cheeses and adored by those who do. It is soft enough to spread onto a slice of bread or cracker as well as used in cooking.
Bleu Des Causses AOC
Bleu des Causses AOC is a full-flavoured, creamy blue cheese, with a lingering finish and a rich, salty tang. Often called the cow’s milk version of Roquefort, the cheeses are allowed to mature in Gorges du Tarn’s natural limestone caves for 3 – 6 months to promote good blueing, aroma, and flavour and develop a thin grey natural rind. Bleu des Causses AOC is similar to Blue d’Auvergne, but is firmer, creamier in texture and has a spicier flavour. Depending on the time of the year it is made the colour, texture and flavours can vary. Cheeses made in winter tend to be light in colour and drier than cheeses made in the summer months. The cheese is made north of Mauriac in the volcanic Auvergne region of France. Moist and creamy, with not too much sharpness – it is delicious spread on crusty bread, baked in a savoury tart, and enjoyed with a young, fruity red wine.
ALEX JAMES After his musical success with Blur, Alex James has made his mark in the production of high-quality cheeses. He produces a range of artisan cheeses of which Blue Monday is one. Blue Monday is one of Alex James’s award-winning cheeses produced on his 200-acre cheese farm in the Cotswolds. Blue Monday is a sharp-tasting creamy Shropshire Blue that has a very slight sweetness. This is cheese made from rich pasteurized cow's milk and aged for 12 weeks. It has a soft creamy texture with an intensely savoury and spicy flavour.
Crowned “World Champion” at the 2013 World Cheese Awards of the Guild of Fine Food. Montagnolo Affine is a German blue cheese that is surface-ripened and made with triple cream cheese with a soft, smooth natural rind. The cheese is aged at low temperatures that allow it to develop its aromatic and spicy flavours. Similar in taste to a triple crème brie this is a cheese that pairs well with full-bodied red wines. It is also a great blue even for those who may not be the biggest fans of blue cheese.
Gorgonzola Dolce Gorgonzola originates from Italy and it is claimed that the cheese was first made in the village of Gorgonzola near Milan. This cheese is made from unskimmed cows’ milk to which starter bacteria are added with spores of the mold Penicillium glaucum. The cheese is then aged at low temperatures. As the length of this ageing process also determines the consistency of the resulting cheese there are 2 main types of Gorgonzola and these are: Two Varieties of Gorgonzola Gorgonzola Dolce – which translates as sweet Gorgonzola. This variety is aged less and so also more crumbly than the Gorgonzola Piccante . It is a full flavoured cheese with a thin natural rind. Interestingly the Gorgonzola Dolce DOP was the 2014 “World Champion” of The Cheese Awards just a year after Montagnolo Affine. Gorgonzola Piccante which is also called Gorgonzola Naturale. This is firmer and as the name suggests a spicy-tasting cheese. This has a thicker rind than the Dolce variety.
Our thanks to Hanna at The Cheese Society for her help compiling this post. To see a truly splendid collection of cheeses go here