Shropshire Blue is an eye-catching cheese with its distinctive orange colour, delicate veining and mellow blue taste. Ours is handmade by family-run Cropwell Bishop Creamery in Nottinghamshire. With a recipe similar to their classic Stilton, its deep orange colour comes from addition of the natural vegetable dye annatto. Aged for twelve weeks, Shropshire Blue has a buttery flavour with hints of burnt caramel, nuttiness and tangy blue. Read more
To enjoy at its best, make sure Shropshire Blue is well warmed to room temperature. It tastes beautiful with water biscuits, crunchy walnuts and refreshing pears.
Country of Origin
Cropwell Bishop Creamery is home to the Skailes family who have been making cheese for three generations, sourcing milk from local farms whose cows graze on the green swards of the Peak District National Park. Best known for their classic Stilton, Shropshire Blue is handcrafted to a similar recipe using traditional methods that have changed little since the 17th Century.
The vibrant colour of Shropshire Blue comes from the addition of annatto to the milk at the start of cheese making. This is a natural vegetable dye used widely in both artisanal and industrial food production including the making of other cheeses such as Appleby's Cheshire and Sparkenhoe Red Leicester. Annatto is derived from the seeds of the Achiote tree (Bixa orellana) native to tropical areas of the Americas. The reddish waxy coating of these seeds is ground to a fine powder or paste for use as an orange colouring. It has a delicate nutmeg aroma and a slightly nutty, peppery flavour but these are only detectable in large quantities.
Aged for twelve weeks, Shropshire Blue has a buttery flavour with hints of burnt caramel, nuttiness and tangy blue. The addition of annatto is said to soften its texture slightly in comparison to classic Stilton, and its taste may be slightly sharper. Its orangey-brown natural rind is edible and although a little chewy, is particularly rich in flavour.
Cropwell Bishop Shropshire Blue is multi-award winning having been crowned Supreme Champion at the British Cheese Awards in 2016 and more recently receiving two stars in the Great Taste Awards 2019 and a Silver medal at the World Cheese Awards 2019.
Despite its name, Shropshire Blue has no historical link to the county of Shropshire. The cheese originated in the 1970s at Castle Stuart Dairy in Inverness - a Scottish attempt to replicate Stilton with a twist. It was first known as 'Inverness-shire Blue' or 'Blue Stuart' but eventually marketed as 'Shropshire Blue' to increase its popularity. Castle Stuart Dairy closed in the 1980s and for a short period the cheese was made in Cheshire. Now it is made by a small number of producers including the Shropshire Cheese Company where, since 2010, the Eyres family has been making Shropshire Blue in its namesake county for the first time.
Shropshire Blue is best enjoyed well warmed to room temperature. It tastes good with water biscuits, crunchy walnuts and refreshing pears. It is also well matched by figs and dried fruit. Like Stilton, a wedge of Shropshire Blue should be cut in a fan shape from the thin edge. From the way in which these cheeses are pierced, the 'nose' of each wedge has the highest density of blue veining and is particularly special to taste.
Our wine expert, Katie Goodchild from Heritage Wines recommends Stopham Estate Pinot Gris 2018 -
“The veining in Shropshire Blue has a touch of bitterness that can be deliciously offset by a sweeter wine, and its flavours of caramel and butter can also be a great match to similar flavours found in a wine. It is enjoyable with Stopham Estate Pinot Gris 2018, a wine that is off-dry rather than sweet and has been lees aged resulting in a textual mouthfeel."
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