During warmer weather, a cheese plate is the perfect cooling way to end a meal, and nothing is more satisfying than a summer blue paired with seasonal fruit.
Below we’ve put together a list of our favourite blues for summer – any one of these would pair well with our dark, sweet cherries from Brogdale Collection in Kent, or with juicy Mirabelle plums. Alternatively, Patricia recommends making a stone fruit compote using Verjuice instead of a harsher wine vinegar. For a classic drink pairing, serve Roquefort and Regalis with a chilled Sauternes or Barsac. Likewise, the English blues could be served with a chilled Viognier or Condrieu from Rhone.
MEET THE CHEESES
PASTURISED EWE MILK
Dominique Bouchait's daughter worked with us for a while and introduced us to her father's cheeses – first Napoleon, and then Regalis. This blue is somewhat like Roquefort, but the distinction is the wax coating, which allows the sweet milky whey to remain in the cheese, softening the sharp minerality into a richer, sweeter, and floral taste.
This Roquefort is balanced and elegant with the refined sweet and earthy taste of sheep's milk specially selected for its quality, matured for nine months – three times the usual period of affinage. The cheese is characterised by its creamy white, buttery curd, scattered with large blue craters. Its texture is melting & silky on the palate.
PASTEURISED GOAT MILK
Made by Ben Harris on the Ticklemore farm, the milk for this blue comes from a farm at Buckfast. Because the goats are allowed to roam free and half the herd is kidded annually, the variability of flavours is vast – wheel-to-wheel as well as season-to-season. From firm, crumbly and aggressive to mellow and moist with a sweet nutty fruitiness, the strength of this cheese lies in its continual defiance of expectation.
PASTEURISED COW MILK
Rich and loose-textured and slightly crumbly, this blue is made from Friesian milk collected not far from the dairy. Although the cheese is seasonal – insofar as the flavours vary throughout the year – the differences are less apparent when compared to the dairy's other blues, Beenleigh & Harbourne. The nutty, tangy blue veins bleed gently into the pate, which is rather moist, with a full flinty and earthy aroma and a dense buttery lively taste.
PASTEURISED EWE MILK
While this cheese is produced year-round it is distinctly seasonal (it is in peak shape August - January), due to the changing pasture conditions for the sheep. Initially intended as Britain's answer to Roquefort, this blue – in a roundabout and ultimately accidental way – perfectly showcases the concept of terroir. The pate, which is solid, rich, and slightly crumbling, has a soft tanginess, bordering on yoghurt and fresh nuts, that balances well with the pale blue veining.
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