Paul Broughton is the owner and cheesemonger at C’est Cheese, New Zealand cheese specialists located in Featherston. Paul is also the owner and cheesemaker at Remutaka Pass Creamery.
What’s in a name? Plenty, if you happen to be a blue cheese and you come from Katikati. My current favourite and one of C’est Cheese’s most popular blues is the Blue Monkey. Three years in development, Blue Monkey is produced by Chris and Jill Whalley of Mt Eliza Cheese Company, Katikati. Blue Monkey is one of those rare cheeses that immediately demands attention; once it hits the taste buds you’re done for. Visually, the Monkey has intense blue-green marbling that sets it apart from other NZ blues. Lacking typical piercing that encourages blue mould growth, the blue in this cheese has a mind of its own, like a cheeky monkey going wherever it so chooses. Maybe that’s where the name comes from. Creamy, savoury, Marmitey and peppery, this is one blue that really likes to monkey with your taste buds.
And maybe that’s also where the name comes from; although I suspect it was more to do with the difficult, unpredictable nature of the cheese during the development phase. Blue Monkey’s textural qualities lend versatility when it comes to being enjoyed. Time-honoured matches such as pear, walnut and oat cake all go handsomely with a generous spread of Blue Monkey. One of my favourite dishes, sautéed mushrooms with blue cheese is also a great pairing of this noble NZ blue.