Cow's cheese • Semi-hard, Blue • British
£8.25 – £33.00
The ‘un-conformist’s’ Stilton. Unpasteurised and therefore not allowed in the Stilton club, this is a riper! The name? Recorded in the twelfth century Lincoln Rolls, an early record of villages rather like the earlier Domesday Book which was carried out by Lincoln Cathedral. Derived for the old English ‘Stichl’ meaning a style and ‘Tun’ meaning village or hamlet.” The cheese; creamy, rich and nutty, with a gentle blue tang. Unpasteurised milk, slow acidification and hand-ladling make this cheese a revelation.
A good cheese will vary with the seasons and also as it matures. The cheese that you eat today will taste different from the one you ate last week but Stichelton, whatever the time of year, is always good
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the more blue there is, the better the cheese is. The producers of Stichelton strive to make a cheese with subtle mellow blueing rather than large deep caverns of blue. It is the effect of the blue on the cheese around it that is the most important thing. Stichelton begins white and crumbly and as it matures the blue softens this white, crumbly paste into a smooth rich cream colour. It is the effect of the blue that is the thing to eat rather than the blue itself, of course that is not to say don’t eat the blue!!!
One of the unusual things about Stichelton is the crust which should be of a deep glowing orange-red with an occasional light sprinkling of white. It looks wonderful but it also imparts huge flavour on the cheese, particularly if you taste the creamy part just under the rind. In fact the flavour is familiar if you are used to eating ‘washed-rind’ cheese because the rind has a similar flora to washed-rind cheese.
It is really interesting to taste the different parts of the Stichelton separately: the plain white part, the creamy part just next to the blue, the blue itself, the creamy part just under the rind (and if you can find them, the little amber beads of ‘nectar’ that can reside there).