Sunday, May 9, 2010

Strathdon: A Blue for the Beach

If ever there was a blue cheese destined for ocean-side enjoyment, it’s Strathdon. It even sounds like the name of a beach – much better than Stichelton Shores or Roquefort Cove. Yes, Strathdon Beach. I think I’d like to have my ashes scattered there.

I picked up this wedge as an accompaniment to a bottle of oyster stout I had cooling in the fridge. Lucky me, my cheesemonger knew the beer and said, “I have just the thing.” He disappeared behind the counter and rose again with this salty blue, assuring me it had a hint of the seaside.

“It’s from Scotland,” he added, and this clinched it, because as you know, I have a dotty Scottish friend who I adoringly call the Blue Cheese Brit, and he was coming to dinner. I darted home, called together my cheese hounds, and soon we were glugging stout and gorging on cheese, and it was like a beach party without the sandy legs and the smell of Coppertone.

Strathdon Blue is a pasteurized cow’s milk cheese from the tippy-top of Scotland, by the North Sea. It’s made by cheesemaker Ruaraidh (pronounced “Rory”) Stone in an old brewery, then aged by the brilliant affineurs at Neal’s Yard Dairy in London. Wrapped in blue foil, Strathdon has a craggy look with furry blue pockets that suggest it will be a bitey beast, but no, it’s much milder than stilton and marvelously creamy with notes of seaweed and shell.

“That blue told me it was taking me home tonight the minute I walked in the door,” the Blue Cheese Brit bellowed as soon as he carved off a bite. Then he moaned, turned flustered, and whispered, “Silk on my bare skin.”

The Blue Cheese Goddess, a.k.a. Future Federal Defender Tracy Tripp, had to translate as the Brit fell onto the cheeseboard, scratching for more. “I taste Scottish sea cave," she said, "with slate on the front end.” 

The monger was right. Strathdon was glorious with Flying Fish’s Bayshore Oyster Stout. The malty and salty, it just doesn’t get any better.


  1. wants to be a cheese party friend!

  2. Hola, schmola. I think I'm finally able to post comments here! Weeeeee!!!

  3. Good Lord, it certainly isn't that good but many, many thanks for your kind words. It is an enormous pain in the arse to make and we've been putting more in land fill recently than we are selling which makes your ebulliance both humbling and delightful. it's almost 6pm, time to draw a cork. Kind regards Ruaraidh (in Tain)

  4. Ruaraidh, your pain in the arse is my that inappropriate? Thanks for making a great ol' blue and for popping by to leave a comment. I'm humbled, frankly, which makes us a pair of humble bums. Cheers from over here in Philly, where I'm sipping tea.

  5. I think perhaps I'll bag all attempts at securing any sort of public defender gig and become a traveling cheese groupie, ala Phishmongers and Dead Heads. I can barter doc review for cremes and blues. And 3 words to you, Madame: Scottish Field Trip.

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