Cheesemaker: Colston Bassett
Region: Nottinghamshire, England
Vegetarian: yes (microbial rennet)
The mysterious sister cheese to Stilton - no one quite knows the truth behind the origin of the name 'Shropshire Blue', though there are plenty of stories around! Having it's origin in Aberdeenshire and now being made by Stilton producers, the link with it's eponymous county is murky at best. That doesn't stop the cheese from being extraordinarily fine.
The addition of annatto (a natural colouring from the seeds of the Achiote tree, native to tropical regions of central and south America, the caribbean and mexico) imparts a sweeter note to the cheese and a beautiful golden hue. Blueing tends to be pronounced but not overpowering and the texture, while slightly crumbly, is smoother and more moist than most Stiltons.
Brilliant on a cheeseboard with stone-fruit chutneys or 'cheeses' (damson, sloe, plum etc) and oaty crackers. Great for cooking too, looking spectacular in a tart - though it can turn broccoli soup a rather odd colour...