Country of origin: United Kingdom
Region: Hawes, North Yorkshire
Type: hard, artisan, blue-veined
Fat content: 48%
Rind: cloth wrapped
Colour: pale yellow
Flavour: acidic, buttery, mild, salty, sweet
Aroma: fresh, smokey
Producers: Neal's Yard Dairy, Wensleydale Creamery
Synonyms: Real Yorkshire Wensleydale, Unpasturized Wensleydale, Blended Wensleydale , Hawes Wensleydale
Wensleydale is a historic fresh, mild cheese that has been made in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire since 1150 by Cistercian monks. These monks continued to make the cheese until the dissolution of their monasteries in 1540. Traditionally, sheep's milk was used, but over the time cow's milk was also used. The art of making the cheese was passed by the monks to the farmer's wives who produced a blue variety of Wensleydale at their farmhouses. Today, Wensleydale is produced mainly from pasteurised cow's milk with sheep's milk added to enhance the flavour. Wensleydale Creamery in the town of Hawes is seeking to protect the name Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese under PDO designation. But there are other producers of Wensleydale cheese in parts of the UK, mainly in Shropshire and Cheshire.
Wensleydale Creamery produces five types of Wensleydale cheese depending on the age and flavours - Real Yorkshire Wensleydale, Mature Wensleydale, Extra Mature Wensleydale, Blue Wensleydale and Oak Smoked Wensleydale.
A Real Yorkshire Wensleydale is creamy-white in colour has a supple, crumbly, moist and flaky texture. It appears similar to a young Caerphilly. The flavour is mild, clean, and slightly sweet with hints of wild honey savour and fresh acidity. As it ages the cheese develops a fuller, deeper flavour as well becomes firmer. Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese produced by Wensleydale Creamery is available in truckles/cylinders or block shaped in varying shapes and sizes up to 25kg.
Wensleydale goes well with fruit cake, apple and is a perfect accompaniment during lunchtime or tea time. It also tastes delicious with hot desserts like fruit pies and crumbles. It is the king of cheeseboard where its fresh, milky sweetness and robust flavours rule the roost.
Oak Smoked Wensleydale is produced by naturally smoking the cheese for 18 hours using oak chips, to create a subtle, smoked flavour. It is the same as Real Yorkshire Wensleydale except for the striking golden beech colour and the robust flavour imparted by the smokiness.
Mature Wensleydale is a harder, flavoured variant of Wensleydale.
Extra Mature Wensleydale is the strongest Wensleydale aged for nine months.
Blue Wensleydale is a blue-veined cheese that has been the supreme champion winner at the British Cheese Awards 2012.
Unpasteurized Wensleydale handcrafted from a single dairy herd is also available. It has a complex lemony flavour with a buttery and creamy texture.
Blended Wensleydale, flavoured with delicate fruits like cranberries, apricots, pineapples, ginger, garlic and chives is one of the favourites buys at the creamery.
Wensleydale cheeses complement fruity white wine such as Pinot Grigio.