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Cheese of the month: Lanark Blue

Lanark Blue Cheese of the monthAs someone who has eaten a lot of cheeses in my lifetime, it's unusual for me to find a new one, but this weekend I tried Lanark Blue for the first time.

It is so good I had to make it my cheese of the month. Lanark Blue is made from ewes milk and matured for varying amounts of time depending on the season. My wedge was a salty, metallic, oozing piece of cheese. Strong, but not Roquefort, which is a rather more famous ewes milk blue. One of the things about small production cheese is it will vary from batch to batch so it can be quite difficult to pair consistently. In addition, ewe's milk cheeses are higher in butterfat than cow's milk cheeses, which means they tend to be richer and smoother. An example of a really high butterfat cows cheese is the triple cream Delice de Bourgogne, but that is created by adding double cream! Lanark blue isn't buttery on that scale, but is spreadable on crackers at room temperature. A flavoured style like fig crackers would be perfect here. What to drink alongside it? Well if you treat Lanark Chateau Filhot 2005Blue like Roquefort then Sauternes are the classic match and the Chateau Filhot, Sauternes, 2005 would be delicious gently sipped alongside. The flavours of pineapple cutting through the salt and the sweet counterbalancing the acidity in the cheese and bringing out the milky flavour. Cabernet Sauvignon Les Templiers, Vin de Pays des Côtes de Thonge, 2010 If like me, you like the salty flavours  of blue cheese, but prefer them rounded out with food, then you could do a lot worse than crumbling some Lanark Blue on a really decent (preferably home made) beef burger. The sweetness of the beef will balance the tang of the cheese and a cabernet sauvignon is the perfect accompainment to this, something like the Les Templiers, Vin de Pays des Côtes de Thonge, 2010, with its blackcurrent flavour and vanilla oak in the background it won't appear thin and watery alongside the cheese (as long as it is served with the beef). However you pair it, you should try it soon! It gets aged for more time towards the end of the year so if you want a really strong blue cheese then it might be worth thinking about it on a winter dinner party cheeseboard. You could cater for the whole party with wine with our special Dinner Party Case, which is currently on offer at £129, a saving of over £30 and free delivery. Let us know your favourite blue cheese and wine matches in the comments below.

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