Produced near Totnes in Devon, England, Beenleigh Blue is made from sheep's milk by Ben Harris.
Based on a Roquefort recipe, Beenleigh was created by Robin Congden, the founder of Ticklemore Cheese, who has been farming in the Sharpham area for the past 30 years.
Beenleigh is one of only a handful of blue sheep's milk cheeses produced in Britain. It is made between January and July, using milk sourced from a herd of Dorset-Friesland cross sheep owned by Terry Perkins, located near Launceston in Cornwall.
Milk is heat treated prior to the addition of starter cultures and rennet. Once the milk has reached the correct acidity, the curd is cut, stirred and, after being allowed to rest, broken by hand and packed into molds.
After draining, the surface of the cheese is salted and pierced with needles that allows the air to enter the cheese where it reacts with the natural enzymes and causes the development of blue veins.
The interior paste of Beenleigh Blue is ivory-white in color, puctuated by delicate and widely spaced veins of blue-green mold. The texture is dense, smooth and moist. The rind of Beenleigh is sticky with patches of blue, grey and white mold.
Flavors of Beenleigh are slightly sweet with hints of butterscotch and salt overlaid with spicy notes from the blue mold around the veins.
A perfect companion for Beenleigh is cider or dessert wine.