Mainland Special Reserve has launched Eltham Blue, a new blue cheese from the heart of blue cheese in NZ, Eltham in Taranaki.

New Zealanders are turning to the taste of Blue – a cheese that has long been appreciated by discerning cheese lovers but often shied away from by everyday Kiwis.

Now, after two years of extensive research, development and factory trials, Mainland Special Reserve has launched Eltham Blue – a delicious new addition to the New Zealand specialty cheese market. Perfectly balancing creamy, soft cheese with traces of subtle blue mould, Eltham Blue has been developed in Eltham, Taranaki – home of New Zealand’s first blue cheese. 

New Zealand has a long legacy of creating superb blue cheeses and Eltham Blue is a serious competitor for both local and imported blue cheeses currently available in New Zealand. Leading Fonterra cheese technologists Jean-Luc Danquigny and Vicky Johnson, were inspired to create a blue cheese that both everyday New Zealanders and blue cheese aficionados would enjoy.

“New Zealanders are becoming more adventurous regarding their speciality cheese selections” says Johnson. “Eltham Blue is a cheese we believe even more New Zealanders will enjoy. It’s’ a blue cheese that is handcrafted using a new recipe that creates a cheese with less mould and a creamier, mild flavour.”

Eltham Blue’s unique cheese grading process ensures maximum creaminess and delicate blue flavours. 

“The most challenging part in the creation of Eltham Blue is the timing,” says Kris Noiseux, Innovation Manager for Fonterra Brands Speciality Cheese. “As soon as Eltham Blue is out of its moulds, it’s put into our aging cellar or ‘caves’.  Our cheese graders check it every single day. 

“As soon as the blue mould starts to grow – anywhere from three to five weeks – we hand-wrap the cheese immediately to hit our flavour targets.  If we leave it, it becomes too blue and too pungent.  This is generally a good thing and how we produce most of our other blue cheeses, but with Eltham Blue our aim was to create a really mild flavour.”

While New Zealanders have been somewhat slow to embrace blue cheese, the market continues to grow steadily.  Blue cheese is now the fastest growing segment within the speciality cheese market with a 15.7% moving annual total volume growth.

Eltham, located in Taranaki, is the home of blue cheese in New Zealand; the first non-cheddar cheese variant produced in the country was a blue vein manufactured in 1951. The original blue mould is still cultured at Eltham on bread crumbs in a traditional manner. The blue cheeses are still after all these years crafted by hand, taking up to eight weeks to fully mature.

Versatile and tasty Eltham Blue is the perfect partner for fresh figs, delicious spread across dense walnut bread and is a wonderful addition to spinach, pear and pancetta salad. It’s also a stand out on a cheeseboard and divine with a glass of wine.

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