World Cheese Encyclopaedia - Each Sunday learn all about a new cheese.
This week Shropshire Blue from the UK.
Country: UK 🇬🇧
Made from: Cow’s milk
Texture: Creamy, smooth
Taste: Tangy, sharp, strong, creamy
Aging: 2 - 4 months
Shropshire Blue is a blue cheese made in the UK from pasteurisedcows' milk. Its name is quite unique as, until recently, the cheese had never been made in Shropshire but rather originated in Scotland and was then produced in Leicestershire. It is a vegetarian cheese, using vegetable rennet in production. Blue Shropshire is rich orange in colour with a distinctive blue veining in the pate and a golden rind.
The orange roqueforti comes from the addition of annatto, a natural vegetable food colour.colouring used in many kinds of cheese. The blue veining is produced by the same mold that makes Roquefort cheese blue: Penicillium
Shropshire Blue is full-flavored and unpressed. It has a smooth texture but a sharp, strong, tangy flavor and aroma. Shropshire Blue is made with a similar production method to Stilton but is a little sharper and creamier than Stilton. The cheese is made into drums about 8-9 inches in diameter, 14 inches high, and weighing about 17 lbs. It ages for a period of 10–12 weeks and has a fat content of about 48 percent.
The history of Shropshire Blue is a little unclear with some saying that it was first created in the 1930s by a fellow named Dennis Biggins. Most accounts, however, date it to the 1970s and credit its creation to Andy Williamson of the Castle Stuart dairy in Inverness, Scotland. The cheese was originally known as 'Inverness-shire Blue' or 'Blue Stuart', but was eventually marketed as 'Shropshire Blue', despite it having nothing to do with the county of Shropshire.
Andy Williamson, who first made Shropshire Blue, had trained in the making of Stilton cheese and Shropshire Blue is a variation on Stilton with the addition of annatto giving it the beautiful orange color. The Castle Stuart dairy closed down in 1980, but the cheese was revived by Elliot Hulme and Harry Hanlin of Cheshire. It is now made by the Long Clawson Dairy, Cropwell Bishop Dairy and other dairies that make Stilton, as the production process is similar.
A variant, called Ludlow Blue, is now also being made in the county of Shropshire. Ludlow Blue differs in that it uses carotene (carrot juice) as a colouring agent rather than annatto, which makes the colour more yellow.
How to Enjoy It
Shropshire Blue goes well served with sliced apples and pears.
The sharp flavor pairs nicely with English brown Ale or a fortified wine such as port. It can also be balanced by a peppery pinot noir from Burgundy or if white wine is preferred a Reisling.
Sources: Wikipedia, cheese.com, Murray’s Cheese, , Long Clawson Dairy, itscheese.com, cheeseboard.co.uk, Beer Infinity