BEYOND STIL­TON AND PORT

Five new-wave Bri­tish blues (with al­ter­na­tive drink matches)

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - The Sunday Cook -

BEAU­VALE AND ENGLISH SPARKLING WINE

Beau­vale ( be­low) has a lus­cious, silky tex­ture and milky flavour that coats the tongue. A crisp sparkling wine cuts through the cream and re­freshes the palate, says cheese­maker Robin Skailes. He rec­om­mends a flute of Chapel Down Brut, which has bready aro­mas and a quince fin­ish. £20/kg, Waitrose

DRUNKEN BURT AND CIDER

Drunken Burt ( above) is tum­bled in Gwatkins Golden Val­ley cider as it ma­tures to give the rind a tangy flavour (in­stead of be­ing pierced to de­velop blue veins). A medium sweet cider is the best match, com­ple­ment­ing the rind and bring­ing sweet­ness to the salti­ness of the cheese. Or try Or­chard Pig Charmer. £4.95/180g, thecheese­ham­let.co.uk

HARBOURNE BLUE AND SLOE GIN

Made by Devon-based Tick­le­more Dairy, Harbourne Blue is one of

LA­NARK BLUE AND PE­DRO XIMÉNEZ SHERRY

Scot­land’s an­swer to Ro­que­fort, Er­ring­ton’s La­nark Blue is a fiery sheep’s milk cheese (once de­scribed as a “kilt-lifter”) that bucks the trend for sweet creamy blues. It’s spicy, salty flavour is tem­pered by the rich Christ­mas cake notes of Pe­dro Ximénez sherry. Very Rare PX Sherry from M&S is a win­ner. £34.32/kg, george­mewescheese.co.uk

COR­NISH BLUE AND STOUT

Cor­nish Blue ( above) was named the best cheese on the planet at the 2010 World Cheese Awards thanks to its sweet, hazel­nut flavour. It’s a cheese cry­ing out for some­thing dark and se­duc­tive. Step for­ward Bris­tol Beer Fac­tory’s Milk Stout, which has a rich, choco­latey body that cud­dles up to the cheese. £16-18/kg, Tesco, Sains­bury’s, Waitrose year for cus­tomers such as Booths and The Wine So­ci­ety, so has worked to dif­fer­en­ti­ate it­self by push­ing the boundaries of blue cheese even fur­ther. As well as its sig­na­ture Burt’s Blue, it also makes Drunken Burt, which is washed in cider, and Di­Vine, which is wrapped in vine leaves.

“The ben­e­fit of these softer blues is they are ready at about six weeks [com­pared with 12 weeks for Stil­ton],” she says. “That’s a lot less money tied up in the ma­tur­ing room, which is good for cash-flow.”

Back at Crop­well Bishop, Skailes is quick to re­as­sure con­cerned Stil­ton lovers that Bri­tain’s most fa­mous blue can hold its own against the new pre­tenders.

“We’re see­ing ex­ports grow­ing to the US and Aus­tralia, where Stil­ton is seen as a re­ally good-qual­ity Bri­tish prod­uct,” he says. “It’s also still a main­stay on ev­ery cheese counter in Bri­tain. These new blues com­ple­ment Stil­ton. They get peo­ple talk­ing about Bri­tish blue cheese, which ben­e­fits ev­ery­one.”

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