Best British Blue Cheeses That Aren't Stilton

There is so much more to UK blue cheese than just Stilton.

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There is so much more to UK blue cheese than just Stilton.

© shutterstock

Bluebell, Scotland

A creamy, semi-soft blue pasteurised cows’ milk cheese from the Ethical Dairy in Scotland. The Finlay family have farmed their land in Galloway, in the Scottish lowlands since the 1920s, using organic methods since 1999. They have converted their entire dairy herd to cow-plus-calf farming, which means that the calves are not taken away from their mothers. Modern commercial dairy herds usually remove calves from their mothers within 24 hours of birth, a process that causes enormous stress. 

Tasting Note: Bluebell is a rich yet mild, creamy blue cheese with a grassy edge to the aroma, its soft rind has a delicate pungency.

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Leeds Blue, Yorkshire

Crafted by Mario Olianas, a chef by trade who settled in Yorkshire 20 years ago. Mario is a true European; his father was Italian, his mother, Austrian – he was born in Vienna but grew up by the sea in Sardinia. Now he produces ewes’ milk cheeses from his base in Otley, Yorkshire. His ewes’ milk is sourced milk from a local farm just outside the famous spa town of Harrogate.

Tasting Note: The ewes’ milk gives a much whiter colour than cows’ milk cheeses and ageing for 30 days results in a rich, mild blue cheese with savoury notes and a slightly piquant overtone.

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Mon Las Blue, Wales

Mon Las is a medium firm, blue veined cheese from the Isle of Anglesey off the north western tip of Wales. The farm and dairy business keeps a pedigree herd of Holstein Friesian cows which graze on lush pasture throughout spring and summer. Their milk travels just 30 metres from the milking parlour to the small modern dairy. Caws Rhyd y Delyn's cheeses are made from entirely natural ingredients and in addition they use vegetarian rennet, making their cheese suitable for vegetarians.

Tasting Note: A Welsh take on Gorgonzola; intensely creamy, the light salty note comes from Halen Môn sea salt which is also produced on Anglesey.

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Barkham Blue, Berkshire

Made in the Home Counties from milk from a herd of Guernsey cows that graze the Chiltern hills. Sandy and Andy Rose only started cheesemaking as a hobby, their first ever cheese, a goats cheese, was made in a bucket in the kitchen and then hung up in a muslin in the shower. Sandy’s father had worked with Channel Island cows, so naturally she wanted to turn her hand to making cheese from their extraordinary creamy milk.

Tasting Note: Crafted in a distinctive ammonite shape this is a rich cream coloured cheese with blue-green veins. The Guernsey milk gives it an incredibly buttery, melt in the mouth texture. Less assertive than other blues, its rustic rind comes from a salt brine wash.

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Beacon Blue, Lancashire

As silver as the moon, Beacon Blue is a blue goat cheese made by the fourth generation at Butler’s Cheesemakers based in Lancashire. Their herd of goats is bred and milked on the family farm by Nicola Butler and is just down the lane from their dairy. The goats’ milk is pasteurised and contains vegetarian rennet. 

Tasting Note: Like all the best goats’ cheeses, Beacon Blue has a light tang and fresh creaminess that makes one crave more!

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