WHAT IS STILTON?
For quite a while, England really only had one great blue cheese to call its’ own. It is made from pasteurized cow’s milk and mixed with Penicillium roqueforti blue mold (merci France). Stilton was and still is an English cultural icon. The classic marble veining inside the blue cheese is distinctive, whereas the white has no mold but other additives (apricot, blueberry, wasabi, etc).
WHERE IS STILTON MADE?
This U.K. treasure can only be made in the Counties of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. If you’re not familiar with these names, basically they’re English places where Robin Hood would’ve mugged you. Part of the irony here is that while the cheese is named after the village of Stilton, it cannot legally be made there and still be called such.
IS STILTON REALLY THE KING OF CHEESE?
Like with any sovereign nation, each has their own rule and dairy is no different. How can there be just one ring to rule them all? Chronologically Stilton was invented in the 1720s, However the 200 lb wheels of Swiss Emmental easily date back to the 1300s. Parmesan Reggiano was made in the 1200’s. Heck, Manchego cheese is made on the plains of La Mancha before the birth of Jesus Christ. So what determines if one is worthy of being called the King of Kings? The Swiss would win on sheer size. The Spanish would win on age, and the Italians on frequency (if the often counterfeit grated Parmesan is included). At the end of the day, as long as there is more then one home town, there can never be only one King of Cheese.
WHAT CAN I PAIR WITH STILTON?
This strong blue cheese needs a sweet wine or port to balance out its’ bite. For cheese flights look to either a fun filled regional tour of blue cheese with a nice, crumbly Wensleydale or Cheddar cheese. For the more internationally inclined, try some of the other royalty like a nice Manchego and cave aged Emmental.