I thought I would write an article about the wonderful cheese that is Blue Stilton PDO. I have such fond memories of enjoying a lump of Stilton every Christmas with my dad. Ali and I also had a ring of Stilton as part of our wedding cake – it is a firm favourite!
To be called Blue Stilton PDO, a cheese must:
- Be made only in the three counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire from local milk, which is pasteurised before use (at peak times the milk may also be drawn from the whole of England and Wales).
- Have the traditional cylindrical shape.
- Form its own crust or coat.
- Be unpressed.
- Contain delicate blue veins radiating from the centre.
- Have a “taste profile typical of Stilton”.
- Minimum 48% milk fat in the dry matter
There are only 6 dairies that are licensed to produce Blue Stilton:
- Colston Bassett – Since 1913 the Colston Bassett and District Dairy has been making the finest quality Blue Stilton or the King of Cheeses as it is also known! A highly skilled, dedicated and experienced team use the same time-honoured recipe and methods which has been passed down by generations to make this unique, award winning cheese, every day taking the milk from the same pastures and the same farms that founded the dairy as a co-operative in 1913.
- Cropwell Bishop – The Cropwell Bishop Creamery is a small independent family run business with origins dating back to 1847. Based on the border of Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire (two of the three counties where Stilton may be made) Cropwell Bishop Creamery has recently been completely modernised. Easier handling, improved hygiene and better maturing conditions have been combined with traditional cheesemaking methods proven by time.
- Long Clawson – Founded in 1911, Clawson is one of the oldest and most successful farmers’ co-operatives in the UK. Based in Leicestershire’s beautiful Vale of Belvoir, the company’s state-of-the-art cheesemaking plants benefit from a program of on-going innovation, investment in people and technology, hygiene control, training and efficiency. All are dedicated to bringing the best quality cheeses and specialities to a discerning public.
- Tuxford & Tebbutt – Tuxford & Tebbutt Creamery, dating back to 1780, is located in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. The name originates from the two original owners, Mr Tuxford the Stilton man and Mr Tebbutt the pork pie man. Up until 1965, both cheese and pork pies were made on the same site. However, since 1966, Tuxford & Tebbutt has focused solely on cheesemaking.
- Hartington – Thomas Nuttall first produced Blue Stilton at Hartington on the 1st April 1900 and helped start the legacy that made Nuttall’s cheese famous throughout the world. Hartington was one of many cheese factories in the Peak District but as the twentieth century progressed it became far more profitable for farmers to supply milk to the fast-growing urban townships than to local cheese factories, and one by one the other cheese factories in Derbyshire gradually closed until only the Hartington factory was left to keep the Derbyshire cheese-making tradition alive up until 2009 when the factory closed. This tradition was reinstated on the 17th October 2012 when the new Hartington Creamery Limited made its first cheese. The first products produced at the creamery were Peakland Blue and Peakland White which are unique to Hartington Creamery. These have been supplemented in 2014 with the return of Stilton manufacture with the first blue versions made in Derbyshire for 5 years in July 2014.
- Websters – Webster’s dairy was originally started over 150 years ago by the Webster sisters. The dairy itself is nestled in the idyllic hamlet of Saxelbye, Leicestershire, in a row of 17th century cottages. It is here that the small team lovingly produce the finest quality blue stilton cheese, which has been hand-picked by one of the team to ensure the highest quality of production.