Maturing our Wensleydale Blue for Christmas
Our artisan cheesemakers have been busy over the past couple of weeks making the Wensleydale Blue that you’ll be eating this festive season. Our award-winning cheese matures for 10 weeks, to be perfectly aged in time for Christmas.
Wensleydale Blue is steeped in heritage & provenance; it represents the original, matured Wensleydale cheese that was made throughout Wensleydale by the Cistercian monks when they first settled in the dale in 1150. Due to the conditions under which it was made and stored, the cheese would have naturally ‘blued’. Things have changed a little since then, read how we do it below!
Wensleydale Blue is made by our artisan cheesemakers, using the finest milk from our local farms. Blue mould spores (Penicillium roqueforti) are added to the milk during the cheesemaking process. The cheese is lightly pressed before being bound in a muslin bandage, and transferred to a special maturing room akin to a farmhouse or monastery cellar; dark, cool & moist, to age and mature on open shelves. Careful control of the temperature and humidity of this room is crucial to the correct development, ageing and blue mould development of the cheese.
The cheese is turned regularly and after 1-2 weeks the cheese is pierced to facilitate the blue mould development. Piercing the cheese allows air to come into contact with the blue mould spores that were added at the start of the cheesemaking process, and so the maturation and blue veining of the cheese begins to develop. This activity also changes the texture of the cheese too – it develops from being chalky and crumbly to a beautifully creamy texture. Our skilled Cheesemakers and Cheese Grader keep a careful eye on the cheese throughout the entire cheese-making & maturing process.
At around 10 weeks the cheese is usually perfect for sale and to eat. Time for delivery to our Cheese Shop, Independent Retailers and Delicatessens. The finished cheese is delicately flavoured, creamy and blue cheese! It has a mellow, yet full flavour, which will appeal to newcomers to blue cheese & connoisseurs alike. Perfect for gifting in a Christmas Hamper or enjoying on a cheese board!