Stichelton

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Stichelton is a raw-milk, full-cream blue cheese from England, first produced in 2006. Its name is derived from the Old English name for the village of Stilton, where traditional raw-milk cheese production methods are still employed.

Origins and Production

Located at Collingthwaite Farm on the Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire, Stichelton Dairy was established by Randolph Hodgson and cheesemaker Joe Schneider. Drawing on the traditional methods of making Stilton cheese, they use raw milk from their herd of Holstein-Friesian cows. Due to PDO regulations for Stilton, which require pasteurized milk, their cheese is called Stichelton.

Cheese-Making Process

The cheese is crafted using a traditional Stilton recipe. The raw milk is pumped directly from the milking parlor into the dairy, where traditional animal rennet and the liquid starter MT36 are added. The curds are hand-ladled to preserve their shape and fat content. The cheeses are then matured for around twelve weeks, with piercing at six and seven weeks, before being individually judged for readiness.

Characteristics

Stichelton has a complex flavor profile and a rich, creamy texture that varies with the seasons. The cheese is semi-soft, with delicate veins of blue-green mold beneath a rustic orange-brown rind. The flavors include notes of caramel, apples, and a slightly spicy, savory element.

Distribution and Recognition

Approximately fifty-five tons of Stichelton are produced annually and sold internationally, with Neal’s Yard Dairy being the largest distributor. The cheese is particularly popular during the autumn and Christmas period.

Regulatory and Historical Context

Although Stichelton closely follows the traditional methods used for Stilton, it cannot be labeled as such due to the PDO requirements for pasteurized milk. Efforts have been made to amend the PDO to include raw-milk Stilton, with the latest request pending as of 2013.

Culinary Uses

Stichelton is enjoyed for its rich and creamy texture and is often paired with sweet and rich accompaniments like Port or Belgian quad. It is versatile, suitable for spreading on figs, pairing with chocolate, or enhancing the flavor of various dishes.

Important Facts

Country of Origin United Kingdom
Specific Origin Collingthwaite Farm, Nottinghamshire
Milk Type Raw milk
Milk Treatment None
Fat Content Full cream
Rind Blue
Texture Semi-Soft
Flavor Complex
Forms Matured around 12 weeks
Age Around 12 weeks
Rennet Type Traditional animal rennet
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