- Sadly, most people struggle to name more than three British blues. Juliet Harbutt shares three more to tempt you to widen your range
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Drunken Burt (cow)
Weight: 180g and 750g
This is a small, deliciously creamy cheese with a serious identity crisis. I don’t know if it is a barely blue cheese with a rind that tastes more like icing or a washed rind cheese with intermittent blueing, or even a Camembert with a very thick, soft pink rind that tastes almost better than the interior. Whatever its meant to be, I like it just the way it is.
Made by Claire Burt using local pasteurised cow’s milk, Drunken Burt is like their Burt’s Blue but instead of piercing the cheese they wash it in cider. This seeps into the rind giving it a sweet yeasty taste, speeds up the ripening process and, when almost runny throughout, makes it taste like vanilla ice cream.
Worcester Blue (cow)
Weight: 1.8 kg
Shape: flat round
Hayden Roberts has come a long way since the ‘80s when he started making cheese in his London flat. At Neal’s Yard Creamery he worked alongside Charlie Westhead, playing with recipes and ideas until in March 2015 he bought Lightwood Cheese. He is now making superb, mostly soft cow, goat and ewes’ milk cheeses plus Worcester Blue which is new this year, tastes great, looks interesting so I thought it deserved a mention.
Made with pasteurised Shorthorn milk, it is between the continental style – softer, higher moisture – and the dense, buttery style of Stilton. A wide, flat round with a rustic rind covered with a thin layer of grey mould, its thick streaks and pockets of blue are well spread and give the dense interior a spicy, buttery mellow tang and nutty aromas with savoury notes not unlike mature Cheddar. Becomes softer and creamier with age. Nice one, Hayden!
Simon Weaver Blue Brie (cow)
Region: The Cotswolds
All modern British cheeses, from Lincolnshire Poacher to Stinking Bishop, are made by just one person, so Simon Weaver’s Blue Brie is only made by Simon Weaver! For longer than anyone can remember, milk has been produced on the family farm in the heart of the Cotswolds, and the lush organic meadows and grasslands are perfect for producing flavoursome milk.
The milk travels just five metres from the milking shed to the purpose built creamery, where it is turned into a range of soft white rind cheeses of which the Blue Brie is for me by far the best. A small, elegant soft white-rinded blue with a thin, slightly crunchy and deliciously mushroomy taste, alongside a smooth brie-like interior with a rich, creamy taste that hints of mushrooms and finishes on a mild, spicy note from the streaks and splodges of mild, crunchy, spicy blue through the centre. Just the right size for Christmas.
Illustrations courtesy of Louise Abbott Illustration
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