British cheeses can be quite confusing. Unlike France where cheeses are named after their village of origin, British cheeses take the town names of no association or sometimes a very loose relationship. Let’s face it, in a country where it’s illegal to be in charge of a cow if you are drunk, would you expect Cheddar to come from Cheddar and Shropshire from Shropshire? Hell no! Cheddar comes from Devon, meanwhile Shropshire Blue comes from Scotland and was created by a Stilton maker. Of course.
PRODUCER: Cropwell Bishop
AGEING: 12 weeks | MILK TYPE: | STRENGTH: 5/10
• Dessert Wines
• Drizzle with Truffled Honey
As confusing as the name can be, the taste is one from heaven. It is clear why this was the Supreme champion beating 910 other cheeses at the 2016 British Cheese Awards. The creamy texture has a sharp and strong flavour with a slightly spicy aroma. The bright orange hue comes from the addition of annatto, a natural food colouring. Although annatto does not change the flavour, the colour has made this cheese distinctive and world famous.
The orange-red colouring of annatto is derived from the seeds of the tropical achiote tree. Native to Mexico and Brazil, annatto made its way across the globe with the great explorers, showcasing the vibrant colours of the new colonies. This flavourless colouring was exclusive to high-class English society as the spoils of funding expeditions. To create a “different” Stilton, annatto was added to it by a Scottish cheesemaker and called it Shropshire Blue purely as a marketing ploy. And it worked, having firmly entrenched itself as a staple of the British cheese landscape.