Stichelton is a new cheese made from an old recipe, crafted by Joe Schneider on the Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire using unpasteurized, organic cow's milk.
Stichelton is made following the recipe for traditional raw milk Stilton—and, in itself, this is a story with an interesting twist. The name "Stilton" is protected under European Union law and therefore has a number of rules attached to its production. However, in a voluntary move in 1989, the Stilton Makers Association decreed that all Stilton must be made from pasteurized milk. This decision was in response to a food scare, although the actual culprit was never established. As such, the cheese is called Stichelton.
Stichelton's production calls for very small quantities of starter culture and rennet, and the resulting delicate curd is hand-ladled from the vat to drain, and left to acidify overnight.
Stichelton Dairy is a partnership between the owners of the Welbeck estate, William and Alison Parente, the cheesemaker Joe Schneider, and Neal's Yard Dairy's Randolph Hodgson. The idea for the cheese itself came from Randolph Hodgson, whose experience with farmhouse cheese and overwhelming interest in restoring a lost traditional cheese, led him to unite Joe's cheesemaking skills with the estate.
The Parente's estate is home to an organic herd of 150 Friesian-Holstein cows, who provide the high quality of milk needed to make great cheese.
Stichelton has a rusty-colored, orange-brown rind with indentations from the piercing needles. The interior is creamy-white, with delicate veins of blue-green mold.
Flavors are fruity and reminiscent of apples, with underlying nutty, toasty notes and long-lasting savory flavors. There is also a spicy element from the blue mold. Flavors expand and develop in the mouth and have a long finish. The texture is rich and creamy with a semisoft paste.