Originally based on a Roquefort recipe, Beenleigh Blue cheese turned out quite different: with a delicate sweetness and minerally, floral flavour to balance the blue undertones.
Robin Congdon started farming in the 1970s with 30 sheep. With time he diversified into making cheese (“cheese making is like farming bacteria”) and set-up Ticklemore Cheese, creating classics such as Devon Blue, Harbourne Blue and Ticklemore Goat (now made by the nearby Sharpham Dairy).
Ben Harris joined the team in 2001 and now runs Ticklemore Cheese; they have long-since sold the sheep and now source the milk from a nearby farm in Somerset where small farmer Tom Garland keeps 250 Friesland sheep. They are grazed outside Spring - Summer and Ben only takes their milk January to July to make Beenleigh Blue, which sees seasonal variations - form being flinty and minerally early season to more rich and robust later in the year.
The original recipe for Beenleigh Blue was developed by the founder, Robin Congdon and based on Roquefort. He went over to visit the caves but they would tell him nothing, so he brought back a scraping of mould and started from there. Robin then built a maturing cellar to mimic the conditions of the Roquefort caves.
After being moulded and pierced to allow the blue mould to form, Beenleigh Blue is wrapped in foil to prevent rind development.
The cheese Ben produces today is very different from Roquefort – it has the richness and sweetness of sheep’s milk but is flinty, minerally and light, being aged for four months. (As it gets older throughout the year it gets stronger and more mature in flavour.)
This product will have two weeks shelf life from the date of delivery.