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Stilton cheese

About Stilton cheese Edit

Wikipedia Article About Stilton cheese on Wikipedia

Stilton is a cheese of England. It is produced in two varieties: the well-known blue and the lesser-known white. Hailed by some as "the king of cheese", both have been granted the status of a protected designation of origin by the European Commission. Only cheese produced in the three counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Nottinghamshire – and made according to a strict code – may be called "Stilton".

Ironically, this means that Stilton cheese cannot legally be made in the village that — because it was sold there — gave the cheese its name. Stilton village is now in Cambridgeshire, in the former county of Huntingdonshire. There are currently just six dairies licensed to make Stilton, each being subject to regular audit by an independent inspection agency accredited to European Standard EN 45011. At present, all but one of the licenced dairies are based in the Vale of Belvoir, which straddles the Nottinghamshire-Leicestershire border. This area is commonly regarded as the heartland of stilton production, and the only current dairy producing stilton elsewhere owes this fact to a native of the Vale who bought the dairy over a century ago.

The pioneer of blue Stilton was Cooper Thornhill, owner of the Bell Inn on the Great North Road, in the village of Stilton. In 1730, Thornhill discovered a distinctive blue cheese while visiting a small farm in rural Leicestershire. He fell in love with the cheese and forged a business arrangement that granted the Bell Inn exclusive marketing rights to blue Stilton. Soon thereafter, wagon loads of cheese were being delivered to the inn. Since the main stagecoach routes from London to Northern England passed through the village of Stilton he was able to promote the sale of this cheese and the legend of Stilton rapidly spread.

This marvelous blue cheese is the English contender for King of Cheeses. Although it is made in parts of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, it received its name in the 18th century because it was first sold in the small village of Stilton in Huntingdonshire. Stilton is made from whole cow's milk and allowed to ripen for 4 to 6 months, during which time it is skewered numerous times to encourage the growth of Pencillium roqueforti mold (also present in Roquefort Cheese). This process creates a pale yellow interior with blue-green veins. The texture is rich and creamy (45 percent fat) but slightly crumbly. The flavor has a mellow Cheddar-like quality with the pungency of blue cheese. Stilton is sold in tall cylinders with a crusty brownish rind. In addition to this better known mature version, there is also a young white Stilton that is marketed before the colored veins develop. It has a mild and slightly sour flavor. Stilton is at its best eaten by itself with a glass of Port or a full-bodied dry red wine.

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