World Cheese Encyclopaedia - Each Sunday learn all about a cheese in season.
This week Beenleigh Blue cheese from the UK.
Country: England 🇬🇧
Made from: Ewe’s milk
Texture: crumbly, creamy
Taste: salty, sweet and tangy
Aging: 5 to 7 months
Beenleigh Blue is a thin-rinded, unpressed soft blue cheese made from pasteurised ewe's milk produced in Ashprington, Devon County, England from January to July. Crumbly in texture, it is pale yellow with greenish-blue veins.
The sheep’s milk is curdled with vegetarian rennet. The curd is then cut, let stand for 15 minutes, packed in moulds for 2 days, then unmoulded. The surface is salted, and after a few days holes are poked in it to allow air into the cheese. When blue mould has started, the cheese is wrapped in foil to stop the rind developing any further. Beenleigh Blue Cheese is aged for at least 5, and up to 7 months. Shaped into a cylinder, the cheese has a rough, crusty, natural rind which is slightly sticky with some patches of blue, gray and white moulds. It is moist, yet crumbly, with the blue appearing as bold blue-green streaks through the white interior. The flavour is steely blue, with the burnt caramel sweetness, characteristic of fine sheep's milk. It melts on the palate, disclosing its strong, spicy character.
The cheese has a fat content of 45 - 50 per cent and will be 5 1/2 inches (14 cm) wide by 4 3/4 inches (12 cm) tall, and weigh 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 pounds (2.5 to 3 kg.)
The nature of the cheese varies greatly over the season. The first cheeses for sale in June are very light, fresh, and quite crumbly whereas the older cheeses develop significantly greater depth of flavour and become richer and creamier.
The taste starts out tangy and sometimes salty, opening out to a full, rich, sweet flavour.
Beenleigh Blue Cheese is based on a Roquefort recipe invented by Robin Congdon. It was the first sheep’s milk blue cheese made in Devon in a long time. It began with limited production in the 1980s by Robin and Sari Congdon, and as production increased it became available to consumers throughout the year. It has been produced since 2006 by Ben Harris of Ticklemore Cheese Company. Beenleigh Blue is one of the few blue sheep’s milk cheeses produced in Britain. It is made using the milk of Dorset-Friesland cross sheep from the farm of Terry Perkins, located in Cornwall.
How to enjoy it
A wonderful companion to Mead, Port, Cabernet Merlot or Sweet Cider, an outstanding pairing is with a Domaine de Grangeneuve Monbazillac which is a Sauternes-style wine from near Bergerac just outside the Bordeaux region.
Source: cheese.com, cooksinfo.com, Wikipedia, The Cotswold Cheese Co Fiona Beckett – Matching Food & Wine,