Two Hoots Cheese is a small family business owned by Sandy and Andy Rose, that's nestled in the English countryside near Wokingham. Two Hoots' first foray into cheesemaking was a bloomy rind cheese called Barkham Brie—but it's blue cheeses that have become their focus, calling to mind Sandy's upbringing on her parents' dairy farm. There, her dad milked Channel Island milk from Jersey and Guernsey cows.
Now, Two Hoots uses that Channel Island milk for their blue cheeses like Barkham Blue. To make Barkham Blue, the Roses heat the milk and add starter cultures and blue mold. When it reaches the correct temperature, they add rennet, let the cut set, and cut the curd into small cubes before draining off the whey. After they drain off the whey, they place the curds in molds that give Barkham Blue its striated exterior and let them drain further.
When the cheeses are fully formed, the cheesemakers place them into a brine bath. Finally, they pierce the wheels to allow oxygen into the cheese and give the blue mold space to grow. The wheels are then aged in a maturing room, where they're turned regularly as a rustic rind forms.
Following Barkham Blue's success, Two Hoots has since introduced a petite version called Baby Barkham, as well as another blue called Rosethorn Blue.
Barkham Blue develops a moist, deep yellow interior that’s punctuated with dark blue-green veins. The texture is smooth with a melt-in-the-mouth flavor. Buttery and mild, Barkham Blue’s flavor lacks the harsh metallic taste sometimes associated with blue cheese, but still retains a bit of spiciness.
Pair it with a Malbec, Sauternes, or an Aszu Tokaji.