Irish Blue Cheeses – Cashel Blue, Crozier Blue and Bellingham Blue
“Even if you hate blue cheese because it’s mold, or love it, also because it’s mold, this sucker [Cashel Blue] unites everyone. Unlike other blues that can be “too salty and spicy” or “mild and buttermilky”, this one “balances tangy buttermilk richness with spicy blue veins — a decadent salty-sweet cream treat”. It’s killer when eaten alongside strawberry preserves, though we don’t recommend doing so in a bathtub. Respect yourself.”Rachel Freeman, writing on Thrillist blog
The best known Irish blue cheese is Cashel Blue, named after a medieval castle, the Rock of Cashel, and first made by the Grubb family in 1984 from cows’ milk at their farm in southern Ireland, not far from Tipperary. It’s good for all the same things that its English and Italian counterparts are: crumbled into salads, melted on steak, or in broccoli or celery soup. It’s mellower and usually less expensive. Diana Henry (in Roast Figs, Sugar Snow) serves hers as part of a salad of pears and hazelnuts.
Crozier Blue is also made by the Grubbs, but from ewe’s milk. It’s similar to Roquefort in taste, creamy/crumbly… a little peppery. It’s good in quiches or stirred into a risotto (with mushrooms or broccoli or bacon… or all three), or on a pizza, or just simply, with a pear.
Bellingham Blue is made further north, near Louth, from a herd of Friesan cows. It’s a wonderful cheese which has deservedly won a battery of awards including:
- Silver Medal at the Blas na hEireann Awards 2012
- Gold Medal British Cheese Awards 2011
- Supreme Irish Champion 2010 – Irish Cheese Awards
- World Cheese Awards 2008 – Silver Medal
It’s good for all the uses listed above, and also for stuffing chicken breasts, in soufflés, or in salads with pecans. You can get it at Tesco, or online at Sheridan’s cheesemongers.
Fortnum and Mason recommends serving blue cheese with walnut wafers.