Funded by a group of local milk producers and local cheese lovers, Colston Bassett and District Dairy was built in 1913 specifically to make Stilton in the Vale of Belvoir, Nottinghamshire, England.
Colston Bassett are also one of the smallest Shopshire Blue dairies in the country. They buy milk from five farms surrounding the dairy and have been buying from the same farms since the 1920s.
Since that time, there have only been four head cheesemakers at Colston Bassett: Tom Coy, Ernie Wagstaff, Richard Rowlett and now Billy Kevan. Their Shropshire Blue is more traditional than any other. The curd is hand-ladled before draining, which treats the curd more gently and preserves its structure, resulting in a luscious, creamy texture when the cheeses are mature.
By British standards, Shropshire Blue is a comparatively recent invention, , created in the 1930's by a Cheshire Cheese factor (dealer) called Dennis Biggins.
The only major difference between Stilton and Shropshire Blue is the addition of natural annato coloring (annato is derived from a South American shrub) that gives the cheese a very mildly spicy flavor and a slightly softer texture than Stilton.
Shropshire Blue has all the qualities of a good, creamy Stilton. Flavors are rich and slightly spicy, with a lingering finish and a savory sweetness.