Colston Bassett Shropshire Blue (SHROP-sheer) is a semi hard natural rinded blue cheese from the UK. 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 is interspersed with 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
A little history about 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, and 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 then re-named Shropshire Blue, despite not having any association with the English county of Shropshire. Colston Bassett & District Dairy was formed in 1912 and is one of the smallest dairies in the Stilton Makers’ Association that is still making cheese today. They have been buying milk from the same five surrounding farms since the 1920’s, and have only 4 head cheesemakers during that time.