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Sunday, 5 June 2016

Ted gets the blues



… and is saved by a stitch in time … well a Stichelton in time actually … but we’ll get back to that.

Blue cheese – yeah love it or hate it, irrespective, every country that considers itself to have a cheese making history lays claim to having “invented” blue cheese. In reality like so many things that us clever humans lay claim to, it’s really down to nature (umm fermentation, bread etc) and we just learnt how to exploit it and produce it in quantity. Blue cheese, like most things was discovered by accident, when cheeses stored in naturally temperate and moisture-controlled caves developed blue mould, because many varieties of harmless mould find these environments très favourable for habitation.

Typically, all blue cheeses start life like any other cheese (curds and whey) with cultures of the mould Penicillium added during the process so that the final product is spotted or veined throughout with blue or blue-grey mould.

Once upon a time of course all cheeses were made with unpasteurised milk, but over time, aided and abetted by the (totally incorrect) belief of successive government officials that all microbes were bad and must be eradicated it became a dictate that the milk must be pasteurised. Statistics of course do not support this myopic view, and in fact almost all milk related food poisoning occurs from pasteurised milk as it’s down to the storage and handling, not the source …

Here in the UK the big boss blue cheese has always been Stilton – it’s a quintessential British interpretation of a blue cheese. However, it has been made from pasteurised milk since 1996. Now it’s time to introduce Randolph Hodgson, who was probably once considered a very hippy dude with a food technology degree. He had a passion which led him to establish Neal’s Yard Dairy, which pretty much saved the fast disappearing world of UK artisan and farmhouse unpasteurised cheeses.

Stichelton has been resurrected by Randolph in collaboration with cheese-maker Joe Schneider and is in effect a Stilton but can’t be called that because it is made from unpasteurised milk, which is bureaucracy gone mad if you ask me. For my money (and my friend Stefano’s money as well) it’s King of the British Blues. It starts with a mild and mellow flavour and then builds to strong, sharp yet creamy, rich lingering ending. Large wedges of it go back to Italy with Stefano each time he visits London.


Besides eating it in its natural form, blue cheese when added to dishes gives them that certain "je ne sais quoi" … like the duck confit, cavalo nero, mushroom, caramelised onion, and toasted almond warm salad that the Doll whipped up recently. 

7 comments:

Angie said...

Loved it years ago, not so much now.

jabblog said...

Mouth-watering!

Sharon Anck said...

I do learn new things when Ted is on the job. I also love crumbles of blue cheese on my salad and my steaks and even an occasional burger. Yum.

Babzy B said...

Yummy 😊

William Kendall said...

I can't recall ever trying blue cheeses. I tend to go for gouda, Swiss, mozzarella, or cheddar.

Jack said...

Ah, Ted, we learn so much from you. Don't you wonder who was the first person brave enough to bite into a nasty, mouldy cheese?

Lowcarb team member said...

Love blue cheese ...

All the best Jan

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