Historically referred to as “The King of Cheeses” Stilton is a blue-mould cheese with a rich and mellow flavour and a piquant aftertaste. It has narrow, blue-green veins and a wrinkled rind which is not edible.
In England, Stilton is not just a cheese–it’s an institution, displayed with pride on sideboards in pubs and restaurants throughout Britain. The history of Stilton can be traced back to the early 18th century and although it is clear that the recipe used has changed quite dramatically over the years it remains one of the world’s best known and much loved cheeses. First made in the 1700s in Leicestershire, this cheese gained its fame (and its name) when it was served at a popular inn in the nearby town of Stilton.
Quintessentially English, Stilton has its own Certification Trade Mark and is an EU Protected Food Name. In 1936, The Stilton Cheese Makers’ Association was formed to maintain the quality standards and protect the name and legacy of Stilton cheese. Stilton is a trademark and has been certified by the European Commission as a PDO or protected designation of origin cheese. This certification means that Stilton can only be made in the counties of Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. Today, there are six creameries which are authorized to make Stilton.
To be called “The King of Cheeses” a Stilton must be made only in three counties from local milk which is pasteurized before use, be made only in the traditional cylindrical shape, be allowed to form its own crust or coat, be unpressed, have delicate blue veins radiating from the center and have a taste profile typical of Stilton.
Stilton is a creamy cheese marbled with rich blue veins, and it has a rich flavour which will mellow with additional aging. It has a strong flavour similar to that of other blue cheeses and yet has a velvety texture on the tongue. Cheese lovers know Stilton by the strong aroma it gives off which is a combination of aged cheese and a full dairy sensation. The white colour tends not to be quite as bright as other blue cheeses and has many more blue veins than Roquefort or Scandinavian blue cheeses. Stilton usually also has a sharp after taste, which complements many foods well. The traditionally wrinkled crust of the cheese is not edible and should be cut away before eating.
Because Stilton is not pressed, the cheese remains crumbly and flaky, ideal for salads, pastas, and pizza. Older Stiltons sometimes appear on dessert platters, lending a distinguished creamy flavour to the table.
Stilton is milder than Roquefort or Gorgonzola, and is equally excellent for crumbling over salads or as a dessert cheese, traditionally served at room temperature with walnuts and a good port.With its piquant taste and soft, crumbly texture, it’s the perfect ending to a meal.