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Stilton Cheeses

Stilton cheese Pot Stilton cheeses 

Quick Facts:

•    Stilton cheese is unique among blue cheeses as it has a really long, slow set.
•    Stilton cheese is pierced at 4 weeks before maturing for a further 8 weeks to develop its blue and break down the curd.
•    Today only 5 producers of Stilton remain: Cropwell Bishop, Colston Bassett, Long Clawson, Tuxford and Tebbutt and Webster’s.
•    Only two continue to make the cheese to traditional recipes that specify ‘hand ladling’ of the curds. The Fine Cheese Co. stocks both these cheeses:
- Cropwell Bishop ‘Traditional’ (differs from their standard cheese) and Colston Bassett.
- Stilton cheese should have a crinkled, light drab crust and an ivory paste with even blue veining radiating from its centre. The texture should be a creamy and smooth and the taste mellow but complex.
•    Stilton cheese has its own trademark and protected status. Only cheeses that come from the vale of Belvoir (an area Nottinghamshire/Leicestershire/ Derbyshire) and are made with pasteurised local milk to the Stilton specification can carry the name.
(Hence Stichelton which is made with raw milk is excluded)
•    Stilton cheese made with Spring and Summer milk produce the best cheeses (June - December cheeses).

History of Stilton

Daniel Defoe famously mentions Stilton in his travels in 1724 as a town “famous for cheese”. Yet it is contested whether it was ever made here, but it was certainly made famous by ‘The Bell Inn’ in Stilton which sold it to passers by.
In 1910 the Stilton cheese-makers organised themselves together to define, improve production methods and protect the origins of the cheese. They later founded ‘The Stilton Cheesemakers Association’, gaining a trademark and the PDO it holds today.
Although its name, locality and and broad specification are specified, quality
does vary. The 1910 definitions aren’t specific enough to prevent production of some poor quality Stilton- dry, acidic, overly spicy, bitter and claggy.
Around the turn of the century production started to move to village dairies, with the last farm stopping production in 1935.
Consolidation has meant that today only five producers remain: Cropwell Bishop, Colston Bassett, Long Clawson, Tuxford and Tebbutt and Webster’s.
After World War II, growing industri- alisation meant a change to automated methods of production. As time passed only Colston Bassett persevered with the traditional recipe and continued to hand-ladle the curds which produces a creamier and smoother texture
and taste. Only in 2010, did Cropwell Bishop join them to make a traditional, artisan cheese to sell alongside their standard cheese.

Wine Pairing

Stilton cheese looks for its opposite in wine, something that counterbalances its saline richness. A wine that is both sweet and with weight is why Port is the ideal partner for Stilton cheese.
Noval 10 year old Port is particularly delicious, its elegance coupled with notes of dried fruits and nuts and spices adds warmth to the cheese.
For a British alternative try Slow Motion Sloe Gin its hedgerow-picked sloes  are steeped in gin and have a delicate sweetness.
For the beer lover, Bath Ales Dark Side Is a superbly smooth stout. It has a roasted barley aroma, a deep, dark colour and is extraordinary with Stilton cheese.

Crackers to Partner Stilton
The British have long enjoyed celery with Stilton, so a celery cracker from The Fine Cheese Co is the perfect partner.
If you prefer your cracker to be neutral, we recommend either our Fine Cheese Co Wholemeal Crackers which are wheaty and crunchy,
a Classic Fine English Bath Oval. If you prefer a touch of sweetness, our Fine English Wheat Fingers are all-butter sweet digestives that are contrast with the saline richness of Stilton Cheese.

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