Skagit Food Co-op blog:

the Cheese Whisperer

Cheese Bites: Cranberry Wensleydale

Wensleydale with Cranberries is a relatively uncommon cheese in America. This regional cheese is popular in Britain, where it has quite a legacy in its traditional home of North Yorkshire. Wensleydale cheese has a slightly tangy, milky flavor and a moist crumbly texture. Encased in a red wax rind, this cheese compliments sweetness and is often combined with fruit and served with spiced nuts and desserts such as fruitcake, apple pie, and other holiday cakes. Welcome Wensleydale with Cranberries to the Co-op’s Specialty Cheese Island, on sale for $14.99/lb.

According to several sources, including The Great British Cheese Book, the first Wensleydale cheese was made from ewe’s (sheep) milk by French Cisterian Monks from Roquefort, who settled England in the 14th century. Originally, the cheese was limestone cave-aged to culture tangy blue mold, similar to that found in blue Roquefort cheese. Today most types of Wensleydale are rarely “blue” and are made with farm-fresh cow’s milk instead of sheep milk. Still this creamy, crumbly delight remains a favorite of cheese fans, including the fictional animated character Wallace, of Wallace & Gromit, and renown author George Orwell, who listed it as the second best British cheese (1st was Stilton) in his essay “In Defence of English Cooking.”

Serve Wensleydale with Cranberries at your next gathering or use it in the kitchen to add a savory sweet note to green salads, squash soup, or entrees.

Recipe for Cranberry Wensleydale Chicken

wensleyrecipeA simple, yet satisfying recipe to create a protein-rich meal with a melted, sweet-salty filling. The result can be compared to a Chicken Kiev, only with the earthy, tangy flavors of cranberries. Serve chicken with a green salad, roasted potatoes, or hearty vegetable soup.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts, try local Draper Valley Organic
  • 2 oz. Wensleydale with Cranberries cheese, crumbled

Directions: Heat oven to 350°F. Cut a pocket in the chicken breast and stuff with  cheese crumbles. Place chicken in a glass baking dish. Bake for 30-40 minutes until chicken is done.

By: Claire

ClaireClaire Harlock Garber loves to eat and drink and write about it. She has worked in the food industry for nearly a decade and was on staff at the Skagit Valley Co-op from 2010-2018, writing the regular columns Skagit Brew Corner, The Cheese Whisperer, The Bounty of Bulk, and What's Dippin' in the Well for the Co-op's blog, as well as articles for the Natural Enquirer newsletter.