Shropshire Blue is the bright festive cousin of Stilton, having a rich and creamy russet-colour with blue veining and a natural rind. . It’s essentially produced the same way as Stilton, except that annatto is added to the recipe making the interior orange. Shropshire Blue is even more luscious and creamy than Stilton.
The story of this cheese dates back to Scotland during the 1920s. Dennis Biggins, who actually made his living grading Cheshire cheese, created the first wheels of Shropshire Blue. Today, the cheese is produced in Nottinghamshire, England by Richard Rowlett and Billy Kevan at Colston Bassett Dairy. It is made in exactly the same way as Stilton except that annatto is added to the milk with the starter culture and the mold. This British gourmet cheese has nothing to do with Shropshire.The cheese is aged for a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks.
Shropshire Blue cheese comes in drums with a rough brown rind. The paste is bright orange in colour with vivid blue veining. The texture is firm and creamy, but also slightly crumbly. The flavour is sharper than Stilton and quite distinctive. There is a definite sour or wine-like tang with oranges and lemons but the Shropshire Blue aftertaste is sweet.
This fine gourmet cheese looks really dramatic on a cheese board or on a gourmet buffet but it is also excellent served on its own. Shropshire Blue pairs excellently with sliced pears, apples, and quince paste. If you’re going to snack on this cheese with crackers, I suggest whole wheat crackers to balance out the striking pungency of the cheese. Similar to Stilton, it tastes exquisite with a glass of port.