Stichelton is an unpasteurised blue cheese made at Stichelton Dairy on Collingthwaite Farm in Nottinghamshire.
It’s such a tasty cheese that it brought me on board with blues. Previously, I used to pussy out at veins of blue mank running through a cheese. But now I’ll give anything a go, even this here Stichelton which looks not unlike a gangrenous elephant foot in the shot above.
The story behind Stichelton is that it’s essentially unpasteurised Stilton. But a cheese can only call itself Stilton if it’s made in the counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, or Nottinghamshire, and to the exact recipe as protected by the EU’s Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).
Stichelton fails the test as it’s made with raw cow’s milk, and the recipe calls for pasteurised. This seems like folly to me, since the original Stilton, made back in the olden days, would surely have been raw. But perhaps it suits Stichelton and its maker, Joe Schneider, as its name (the original name for the village of Stilton) proudly proclaims both its kinship and difference.
Admittedly, I haven’t tried any Stilton since having Stichelton, so I can’t draw a comparison. But it has that powerful blue taste that you’d expect, which is then drawn into this buttery riptide that just goes on and on. The blueness of blue is still quite overwhelming to me, so I’ll leave it to others to define its flavours. According to Great British Cheeses the flavour is “savoury and lingering”. Accurate, but a bit vague. The World Cheese Book is slightly more specific: “moves from a fruitiness to a spicy sweetness, all carried within a creamy texture”.
I wouldn’t call it a gateway blue, by any stretch. It’s a punchy cheese, a ‘deep blue’ (like the computer, but worse at chess). But it’s so delicious, so creamy, that it demands fealty. Add some butter to your cracker to take the edge off if you’re unused to blues.
Embrace the rot.
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