What Is Buxton Blue?

H. Bliss

Buxton blue is an English blue cheese that is hard and yellow-orange to red with blue streaks. It is made from cow's milk. This cheese is similar in many ways to the popular Stilton cheese, which is white with blue veins, but the body of Buxton blue cheese can come in many shades of reddish orange. It is commonly served in salads, as an appetizer, or on a cheese plate alongside fruits to accompany a sweet dessert wine.

Buxton blue is made from cow's milk.
Buxton blue is made from cow's milk.

A hard, cylindrical cheese, this cheese is made by mixing milk and a cheese culture with a specific blue cheese culture, plus annatto and rennet. Blue cheese culture is made up of specific mold spores that develop into the flavorful blue streaks in this kind of cheese. After the mixture is cooked and drained, it is then put through a process in which it is broken, salted, and turned before it is put into molds and pressed into hard cheese. It is then aged for about six weeks.

Annatto seeds, which are used to make Buxton blue.
Annatto seeds, which are used to make Buxton blue.

When local governments wish to preserve the food culture in an area, they often regulate how and where a signature dish or food item is made to prevent the food from changing over time. Buxton blue is a regulated cheese, and it can only be made in or near Buxton with milk from specific parts of England, using traditional methods. Milk that goes into Buxton blue should primarily come from Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, or Staffordshire in England, but it can sometimes come from other nearby counties, like Shropshire and Cheshire, in the event of a shortage of milk from the defined counties. Like Buxton blue, Stilton is a protected cheese that must be made using prescribed materials and techniques.

Blue stilton cheese is similar in many ways to this cheese, mainly because it is made using a similar process, minus one important ingredient. Buxton blue is darker in color in contrast with blue Stilton, which is white with blue streaks and chunks. This cheese takes on a deeper yellow to rust red hue because of the addition of annatto, a coloring agent used in yellow cheddar cheeses. Though Buxton blue cheese was originally made by Hartington Creamery, it is no longer in production there.

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