Blackstick’s Velvet Cheese is a creamy, smooth textured sheep’s-milk blue cheese with a nutty, mild, slightly sweet taste. It has a light grey powder in patches on the surface.
It is made by Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses in Longridge, Lancashire, England.
The milk comes from a flock of 400 Friesland ewes owned by Simon Stott at Beacon Fell, Lancashire. The cheese is generally not available during December and January, as sheep can’t be milked year round.
To make the cheese, the sheep’s milk is first pasteurised.
A blue mould starter is added, then rennet and lactic acid are added to curdle the milk.
After curdling, the whey is drained away from the curds. The curds are packed into moulds to form tall rounds, which are let stand several hours to set.
The cheese is then taken out of the moulds, given a brine bath, and pierced in several places to let air in for the mould to grow.
The cheeses are let mature several months, being turned every few weeks.
Blackstick’s Velvet Cheese was introduced commercially in February 2009.
Shepard, Anna. British cheeses that are a real shepherd’s delight: Roll over Roquefort, there’s new sheep’s cheese on the block — and sales are rising. London: The Times. 1 April 2010.
Three lines broaden Blacksticks appeal. Grocer Magazine: William Reed Ltd. 28 February 2009.