Blur Star Teams Up With Scots Cheesemaker


 Blue Monday Cheese

By Alexander Lawrie

BLUR star Alex James has teamed up with a Scottish cheese maker to producer the world’s first ever square blue cheese.

The former Britpop star has even named the cheese Blue Monday in honour of his favourite rock band, New Order.

It has been described as tasting like “a hint of dark chocolate and a sea breeze finish” and will be on sale in Scottish deli’s from next month.

Highland Fine Cheeses have decided to add the Blue Monday cheese to their repertoire after a request from the ex-bass player, who is currently a farmer based in the Cotswolds.

James, whose new neighbours include superstars Kate Moss, Elizabeth Hurley and Kate Winslet, is already producing the award-winning Little Wallop soft goat cheese at his farm.

Earlier this year he travelled to the tiny village of Tain in northern Scotland to meet up with cheese maker Ruaraidh Stone to discuss the marketing of Blue Monday.

After ending his relationship with Blur in 2006, James retired to the country to set up the food company Evenlode Partnership which sells British artisan produce which only uses local ingredients.

He said; “I’ve always wondered why nobody made a square blue cheese, so we decided to make one ourselves.”

“It’s creamy, salty and named after my favourite song. In the Alsace, you can’t take the smelliest cheeses in taxis.

“The top ten cheeses have been stale too long. It’s like the album charts in the 70s when it was all Pink Floyd.”

James first met Mr Stone while judging at the 2007 British Blue Cheese Awards where he gave the Scot’s Strathdon Blue a gold medal.

He then commissioned his company, Highland Fine Cheeses, to produce five sample batches of blue cheese, and the one that eventually became Blue Monday was launched in London in October.

The cheese proved so popular with James he named it after the 1980’s hit single by New Order that inspired his music career.

Mr Stone said: “We were really fortunate to win the gold medal last year and it was a complete surprised when Alex got in touch asking about blue cheeses.

“We’ve been trying to garner a reputation for blue cheeses and this tie-up with Evenlode will be a great way of opening doors for us.

“Our expertise in is the making of the cheese, while his name will make it much easier for us when trying to introduce the brand to new markets.

“He came up to Tain in February and was such a lovely fellow. I was surprised how knowledgeable he was about the industry and he blew away my misconceptions about him.”

Blue Monday is similar to the Strathdon Blue cheese Mr Stone already makes, but its unique selling point is the fact it is made in the former 19th century Springfield Brewery in Tain, where the yeast moulds take thousands of years to die out.

Mr Stone said: “That’s what gives it a really unique taste, and makes it a real destination cheese.”

The cheese is already on sale at the fashionable London stores Harvey Nichols and Paxton and Stone, and will soon be available at Harvey’s Scottish stores, Valvona and Crolla and Waitrose.