Taste Stichelton alongside Stilton and you will notice a difference although it looks very similar.
It is moist and buttery, patterned with lacy blue veins but not dominated by blue. It has long lasting, complex flavours which develop while you eat. There is a broad variation in taste over the seasons from a subtle nutty sweetness to intensely salty and meaty.
What is special about Stichelton?
Stichelton is a blue cheese made with unpasteurised (raw) milk from cows at Collingthwaite Farm on the Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire. It's creator, Joe Schneider, has been making the cheese since 2006. He is prevented from calling it Stilton, or even saying it is made following a traditional Stilton recipe, because since 1989 Stilton must be made with pasteurised milk.
Traditionally Stilton, which has been made since the early 18th century, was made with raw milk. However, protection by a certification trademark (PDO, or Protected Designation of Origin) means that since 1989 it can only be made to a specific recipe using pasteurised milk
Stichelton came about as a result of conversation and partnership between Joe Schneider and Ralph Hodgson, the founder of Neal’s Yard Dairy, who wanted to recreate the sweetness and depth of flavour of pre-1989 unpasteurised Stilton.
While the raw milk is certainly a factor in the flavour, it is also the slow, hand-made cheese-making process that sets Stichelton apart. First the gentle acidification of the milk, followed by hand-ladling to drain the curd, give a delicate texture. The cheese is not pressed but left to sit in hoops in a warm room to settle and encourage the yeasts to grow. After five days the outside of the cheese is smoothed by hand and left to mature for 8-10 weeks before piercing to allow the mould in to form over the next 4-6 weeks. The result is a dense creamy paste with a definite richness.
Try the rind, or a bit of cheese close to the rind, to see how diverse and complex the flavours are.
Watch this short film to learn more about Stichelton and how it's made.
- Like Stilton, Stichelton pairs well with sweet, fruity flavours.
- Try it with Port or a dessert wine like Sauternes; it is also excellent with a sweet fruity beer or cider like a stout of Suffolk’s own cider Aspall Imperial.
- On a cheese board serve it with a sweet, fruity, tangy chutney or dried fruit.
- It is also delicious crumbled into salads or soups or topping a bake.
Stichelton is our March Cheese of the Month - do call in to the shop to taste it and we'll happy to tell you more about it.