Bellingham Blue is a semi-hard, blue cheese. It is probably the strongest of the Irish Blue cheeses, far outstripping the likes of Cashel and Crozier for sheer power. The mottled brown rind encloses a semi-hard yellow-white paste containing cavernous, mould-lined holes from which the cheese derives its strength. In style it is similar to the strong blues of Northern Spain than the sweet, fruity blues preferred elsewhere. What it lacks in finesse it more than makes up for in robust rusticity. Bellingham is increasingly popular in cooking where it is often paired with classic blue cheese ingredients such as pears, honey and nuts. The cheese is quite firm for a blue but the paste holds moisture so it does not feel dry in the mouth. The large, well spread openings in the paste allow a strong growth of blue through the cheese.
Peter Thomas and his wife Anita have been making Bellingham Blue on Anita’s family farm in County Louth since 2000. Bellingham Blue is a semi-hard, blue cheese made using raw cow’s milk from the family Fresians. The cheese came about as a result of Peter’s long search for a niche dairy product which was not then available on the Irish market. To this end he set up Glyde Farm in 1996, and, after several years of research, Bellingham Blue was released commercially in 2000. The cheese was a success from the outset winning ‘Best New Dairy Product’ at the International Nantwich Show in England just a few months after coming on the market. In 2001 the cheese won a Gold medal at the British Cheese Awards. It has since been selected as an ambassador cheese for the Slow Food Presidium for Irish Raw Cow’s Milk cheese since and was one of several cheeses to represent CAIS (the Irish Cheesemakers Association) at the British Awards in 2004.