Shropshire Blue is a cow's milk cheese made in the United Kingdom. The cheese was first made in the 1970s at the Castle Stuart dairy in Inverness, Scotland by Andy Williamson, a cheesemaker who had trained in the making of Stilton cheese in Nottinghamshire. The cheese was first known as 'Inverness-shire Blue' or 'Blue Stuart', but was eventually marketed as 'Shropshire Blue', a name chosen to help increase its popularity, despite it having no link to the county of Shropshire.
After the Castle Stuart dairy was closed down in 1980, the cheese was revived by Elliot Hulme and Harry Hanlin of Cheshire, but once again the manufacture soon ceased. The cheese is now made by the Long Clawson, Leicestershire and the Cropwell Bishop and Colston Bassett dairies in Nottinghamshire. Since 2010, Shropshire Blue has been made by the Shropshire Cheese Company, a Shropshire Dairy Farm on the Welsh Border.
A variant, called Ludlow Blue, is now also being made in the county of Shropshire in a small artisan dairy. Ludlow Blue uses carotene as a colouring agent rather than annatto, which makes the colour more yellow.
Shropshire Blue is a blue cheese made from pasteurised cows' milk and uses vegetable rennet. The orange colour comes from the addition of annatto, a natural food colouring. Penicillium roqueforti produces the veining.
The cheese has a deep orange-brown, natural rind and matures for a period of 10–12 weeks with a fat content of about 48 per cent. Made in a similar way to Stilton, it is a soft cheese with a sharp, strong flavour and a slightly tangy aroma. It is slightly sour but sharper than Stilton and generally creamier.
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