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STILTON vs SHROPSHIRE BLUE

STILTON vs SHROPSHIRE BLUE

We love all things blue cheese here at Harper & Blohm. We particularly love traditional blue cheese from Nottinghamshire, UK. Two of our favourites are Stilton and Shropshire Blue. Both are from premier UK dairy Colston Bassett who have been buying milk from the same five surrounding farms since the 1920’s, and have only 4 head cheesemakers during that time.

Stilton (left)
This iconic cows milk blue cheese selected for Neal's Yard Dairy (UK) brings the ideal balance of fruity blue veins and creamy paste. Keep reading below to find out more.

Shropshire Blue (right)
This cows milk blue cheese is similar to Stilton but with added annatto for colouring and a hint of spice. We delve into the confusing family tree of this cheese below.

COLSTON BASSETT STILTON PDO - NEAL'S YARD DAIRY

Who is Neal's Yard Dairy you ask? It is considered to be London's foremost cheese store, speacialising in selecting & maturing traditional, farmhouse and artisan cheeses from around the United Kingdom & Ireland.

What's a PDO and why is it special? Stilton was the first English cheese to be granted legal name protection under the PDO* system (Protected Designation of Origin.) It is made by just six producers in the counties of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. Of these six producers, the cooperative in the village of Colston Bassett is one of the smallest. 

Stilton has been made at Colston Bassett & District Dairy since 1913, apart from a brief pause during World War II (when the dairy was obliged to make “national cheese” – a hard, industrial cheese similar to Colby – due to war-time food rationing).

Colston Bassett Dairy takes its milk from just five farms that are very close to the dairy. Billy Kevan is the Head Cheesemaker, one of only four in the past one hundred years. Go Billy! 

And how does it taste?
Colston Bassett Stilton is one of the world’s great blue cheeses, along with French Roquefort and Italian Gorgonzola. It has a rich, buttery texture with a minerally tang. It’s full bodied without being sharp or overpowering, and has a mellow, fruity, savoury complexity. 
Unlike most other Stilton, this particular one utilises traditional animal rennet, resulting in a milder blue character but with a richer, more complex, cheese flavour and a longer finish. If you try this Colston Bassett Stilton alongside the regular version (made with non-animal rennet), you will certainly notice the difference.

Goes well with:
We love to make a little plate making Stilton the star with backup singers like fig & pistachio 'salami', Singing Magpie Sun-dried Fruit or muscatel clusters and Sheridans Irish Brown Bread Crackers. 

Some drink suggestions:
Port, fortified wines, Single Malt Whisky, Porter/Stout 

COLSTON BASSETT SHROPSHIRE BLUE

Cheesemaker Andy Williamson, who had trained as a Stilton cheesemaker, first made Shropshire Blue in the 1970’s at Castle Stuart Dairy in Inverness, Scotland. He originally named the cheese Inverness-shire Blue, though it was also known as Blue Stuart.

After that business was sold, cheesemaking moved to Cheshire; this facility also closed and the cheese headed further south to Nottinghamshire, the home of Stilton. It was here that the cheese was re-named Shropshire Blue, despite having no association with the English county of Shropshire.

Recognisable due to its distinctive orange colour, which comes from the addition of annatto (a natural food colouring derived from a South American berry) – it features fine, well-dispersed blue veins. Shropshire Blue is slightly milder than Stilton but a little richer, with a buttery, creamy texture and minerally tang. It is full bodied and fruity without being sharp or overpowering, but is still distinctly 'blue' in character.

Goes well with
Similarly to Stilton, Shropshire Blue plays well with fig & pistachio 'salami', Singing Magpie Sun-dried Fruit or muscatel clusters and Sheridans Irish Brown Bread Crackers.

Some drink suggestions:
Port, fortified wines, Single Malt Whisky, Porter/Stout 

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