Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Why chefs love Barkham Blue
You can hardly go into a restaurant these days without spotting Barkham Blue on the menu. Every chef seems to be obsessed with it and I've been wondering why.
It's not that it's not good - it's very tasty. More like a Gorgonzola Dolce with a creamier texture than a Stilton and in the best examples I've tasted, an almost mushroomy flavour like a Brie. Maybe that's the key. Although it's flavourful it's actually quite mild and buttery and doesn't deliver that sucker punch you can get from a Roquefort. I've even drunk red wine with it successfully which is normally pretty difficult with a blue
It's made, rather engagingly, by a Berkshire company called Two Hoots cheeses and has picked up a whole raft of awards including British Cheese Awards Supreme Champion in 2008.
Chefs seem to be mainly putting it into salads and featuring it on their all-British cheeseboards. I personally think Stichelton is a better cheese but it's a confusing concept. People, I imagine, just think that chefs can't spell Stilton (which is perfectly possible ;-)) but Barkham Blue is really easy to remember. And cheese, particularly blue, does seem to be subject to fashion. It was Gorgonzola for a while, then Cashel Blue. This year seems to be Barkham Blue's.
Have you tried Barkham Blue and if so how do you rate it? And what's your favourite blue?