If I was forced to choose just one food to eat for the rest of my life, it would have been cheese. Not a day goes by when I don’t sneak a nibble from the fridge, not a week I don’t make a cheese-based recipe. There’s a such incredible variety of different cheeses- more than 1,000 in France alone, for example, while the British Cheese Board states that “there are over 700 named British cheeses produced in the UK”– that I don’t think I could ever become bored with it or fail to find an interesting new one to try. In my opinion, the best one ever ate is the Blue Stilton cheese.
And that’s the problem for most people. So much choice, so much to learn. What on earth do you buy and how do you serve it, let alone find a wine to drink with it? These days, one’s simply spoilt for choice.
This post is all about introducing you to Blue Stilton cheese, a style of cheese you might not be familiar with, and helping you to enjoy it more.
There are many variations in the way that milk is handled that will result in different cheeses. Cheese makers may use different starter cultures to kick off the cheesemaking process or introduce bacteria that will create a certain type of rind, texture or flavour, as with bloomy rinded cheese , such as Brie, cheese with holes, such as Emmental, and blues, such as Blue Stilton cheese.
After I ate it, I can say that the outstanding cheese in this style is undoubtedly Blue Stilton cheese, not only the most famous English blue arguably the most famous cheese after Cheddar.
Stilton is produced in two varieties: Blue known for its characteristic strong smell and taste, and the lesser-known White. Both Blue Stilton and White Stilton have been granted the status of a protected designation of origin by the European Commission, two of only ten British cheeses currently produced to have such protection. The PDO (Protected Designed of Origin) status requires that only cheese produced in the three counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Nottinghamshire and made according to a strict code may be called “Stilton“.
Some “extra matured” Stiltons pack quite a punch but in general this is a mellow, rich- testing blue protected by its characteristic crumbly grey rind.
I discovered that good producers are Colston Bassett and Cropwell Bishop. Since all Stilltons are now made from pasteurized milk, a new unpasteurized blue has come on the market called Stichelton, which is said it tastes like Blue Stilton used to taste.
Blue Stilton cheese is often eaten with celery or pears. It is also commonly added as a flavouring to vegetable soup, most notably to cream of celery or broccoli. Alternatively it is eaten with various crackers, biscuits and bread. It can also be used to make a blue cheese sauce to be served drizzled over a steak, or can be crumbled over a salad. Traditionally, a barley wine or port are paired with Blue Stilton, but it also goes well with sweet sherry or Madeira wine. This cheese is traditionally eaten at Christmas.
- Bread and Cheese
Isn’t this the best ever combination- a simple pairing of artisanal ingredients that makes a perfect meal without a slightest effort? But there are so many cheeses as I said and also so many breads.
The most flexible type of bread in my view is rustic country loaf, which could be an unbleached white, a mixture of flours or sourdough. As general rule, crusty bread like baguette works better with softer cheeses, while firmer breads seems a better complement to harder cheeses.
Here are some combinations that works well:
- Dense fruit breads pair well with creamy blues, such as Blue Stilton cheese.
- High-Fibre Multi Seed Loaf and Spanish Serrano Ham slices taste well with Stilton cheese. Tip: I bought both the bread, Serrano ham and Blue Stilton cheese in Lidl (Dublin) before Christmas.
- Also choosing a specific biscuit or cracker to go with your cheese has really taken off in recent years and can turn a simple snack into a gourmet offering.
In this case, I suggest celery crackers with Stilton and other creamy blue cheeses.
It’s almost 2014 and time to drink Champagne and dance on the table… I wish you a prosperous and wonderful happy New Year.
Alessandra Neri by alesimplerecipes