A cheese made at a Mid Sussex dairy has been recognised as one of the best cheeses in the world.
Brighton Blue - produced at Sussex High Weald Dairy in Horsted Keynes - faced competition from more than 3,000 cheeses from 35 different countries at the 30th annual World Cheese Awards.
But Brighton Blue came away with a prestigious super gold award after being recognised as one of the world’s best.
Dairy owner Mark Hardy said: “It’s one of our favourite cheeses to make at the dairy and perhaps the reason the judges rated it so highly can be traced to the most important ingredient – the care and attention that we put into it.”
Brighton Blue requires an in-depth hands-on approach. “At least two of us spend about three hours with our hands in the curds and whey, gently stirring it to expel surplus moisture from the curd, before draining the soft curd and adding to the cheese molds,” said Mark.
“The cheese makers’ skill is in knowing, by touch, when the curds are at the right consistency to make the perfect cheese.
“The cheese is only lightly pressed because a more open texture, than for example a firm hard cheese like our cheddar-style Tremains Organic, lends itself to good veins in a blue cheese.
“Each cheese wheel, or truckle, is pierced with stainless steel spikes so air can enter the cheese which allows the blue mould, added at the start, to wake up and create the magic mellow blue.
“It is then placed on the wooden slatted shelves of our cheese maturing room where it remains for up to three months.
“It is this maturating process that puts the blue in to Brighton Blue.
“During this time, the cheeses get more attention as we turn them three times a week to ensure an even distribution of moisture through the cheese and brush them down to keep the mould rind to a manageable level.”
It’s been a good year for Brighton Blue as in addition to winning super gold at the world cheese awards, it was also selected to be served as part of a British cheese board to passengers flying in Virgin Atlantic’s upper-class cabin.
Brighton Blue is available from farm shops and delicatessens across Sussex and beyond or can be bought direct at the dairy or online www.highwealddairy.co.uk.