What is Stilton?
Stilton has a beautiful interior, streaked like marble, and the texture is crumbly and almost soft – relatively delicate compared to its stout and bold flavors. Intense and rich, the taste is complex, opening with creamy and nutty specks, followed by a salty finish that sticks to your palate.
Retaining the ideals of quality throughout all aspects of production, cows grazing on pastures in the midlands of England provide the fresh milk needed to make original Stilton. These wide plains among the moors in the heart of England offer lush forage for the cattle, which is clearly reflected in the final product.
Pastas, risottos and desserts all benefit from the addition of Stilton, and salads fair especially well when mixed with light crumbles. Honey, walnuts and sliced apples complement the nuances of the cheese perfectly on a cheese board.
How Stilton is made
The art of making Stilton has remained very much the same as when it was first produced. Only made in certain parts of England, production relies on careful selection and maturing.
Fresh pasteurized milk is poured into large vats at dawn every day, followed by a blend of cultures and rennet. A special yeast that allows for the mold to develop and grow at a quickened rate is also included in the mixture. Once the milk has curdled, it is cut, separated and left for the whey to strain off. Milled and salted, the curd is then transferred into molds. Workers then place the molds on shelves and turn them daily, making sure never to compress the curd, as this would prevent the fostering of the flaky texture. Almost a week later, the curd is smoothed by hand and set to age for around five weeks. At this point, the cheese is pierced with steel needles, allowing the blue veins to breathe and grow. After nine weeks, the cheese is ready to be sent out to shops.
Made almost entirely from pasteurized cow’s milk, Stilton boasts clean flavors that are unadulterated by fillers or preservatives, making it gluten free. With the traditional recipe calls for animal rennet, traditional versions are unsuitable for vegetarians. Be sure to check the label for additional information on ingredients.
Substitutes for Stilton
In the family of blue cheeses, many share similar qualities of taste and texture, while also delivering unique traits of their own. In terms of substitutes or replacements for Stilton, your options are varied.
As substitutes go, few do better than Gorgonzola. This Italian classic features a nearly identical consistency, while flavors range from mild to pungent, depending on the age. Nutty, tangy and creamy, mistaking Gorgonzola for Stilton is easy to do.
A milder take on blue cheese, Castello Traditional Danish Blue is creamy with earthy hints of mushroom. Raw marbling stretches across its body resembling fine porcelain. Opening with a touch of bitterness, the finish is smooth and soothing.
Hailing from the southern regions of France, Roquefort blue mold cheese is characterized by its blue veins and crumbly texture. The taste is slightly acidic, with a sharp and tangy finish.
Curious about Stilton? Here's all you need to know about taste, how the cheese is made and how you can use it. Click here to learn more.