Of course, I’ve eaten Shropshire Blue before. I knew I had because I grew up in Staffordshire, the neighbouring county. We used to shop over county lines in Market Drayton and Shrewsbury so obviously I’ve eaten Shropshire Blue.
Oh dear, oh dear.
So, this is one of those moments when I’m reminded that I know bugger all about cheese. Probably more than your average Joe, I’ll give me that, but really, bugger all. Now, I don’t feel too bad about knowing flip about flocculation or being an affinage amateur. And I’d never heard of Norwegian Brown Cheese or Idiazabal or even Perl Las until the last couple of months. And I’m fine with that. But recently I found out that…pauses to put on the big cap with ‘CD for Cheese Dunce’ on it and retires to the corner in a puddle of shame…Shropshire Blue has nothing to do with Shropshire.
Back in May, when I sat huddled in my thermal slanket, the hail battering against the windows, booking a place on a Cheese Walk in the City of London seemed like a good idea. Hopefully it would be a typical English day in July: overcast, fairly chilly and with a middling to high chance of a freezing downpour. So I admit that when the day dawned with the kind of heat that melts pigeon’s feet into the tarmac, it suddenly seemed less appealing. And throw in a tube journey and consuming large quantities of cheese and wine in the sun and the prospect started to feel more like appalling. But I take my role as intrepid cheese correspondent seriously (coupled with the fact I’d already shelled out for it upfront) and so I donned the Factor 30 and set forth valiantly.
The sun is finally out, the back doors are flung wide open and it’s time to dust off and light up the barbeque, ready to spend an afternoon trying to stop the baby bum-shuffling into the hot coals and listening to the Other Half swearing in confusion at his raw meat/cooked meat utensils. Yay, summer fun!
Now, I love a sausage as well as the next girl but you can get a bit ‘meated out’ at barbeques sometimes and, as for veggies, there’s surely only so many slabs of burnt halloumi they can face. So I pondered the cheese options for a while and below, for your delectation and delight, bring you some fromage-for-the-flames.