For their Traditional Raw Milk Blue Cheese
Stilton, arguably the 'King of English cheeses', has a well known history and is protected under European law as to where and how it can be made. Perversely though, these very same measures prevent Stilton from being made in its time honoured traditional way, as a farmhouse cheese made with raw milk. After a nearly 20 year absence, Stichelton Dairy is trying to rub a bit of the tarnish off the King's crown.
Can you give a short background to the winning product?
We make cheese in a Grade II listed barn on a small dairy farm on the Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire, one of the traditional counties of Stilton fame. Our aim is to produce the finest quality raw milk cheese from the organic milk of a single herd.
We believe that cheese made on farm from organic, raw milk offers a complexity and length of flavour of a different sort to that of pasteurised cheese, so we have stuck to our principles, and painstakingly poured all the traditional knowledge and passion for authentic cheesemaking we could muster into Stichelton.
Our goal in this project was to bring back a long forgotten cheese to British consumers, so that they could enjoy one of Britain's best known and best loved cheeses in its original form. In this sense our entire focus is on traditional, British cheesemaking where quality (flavour) is the priority. We're not finished. Every day we look to learn from the past to make a better cheese, one that will earn the name of Stilton, King of British Cheeses.
What does organic mean to you?
I've been making organic cheese and dairy products since 1998 when I first moved to England and worked with Michael and Jayne Duveen on a small organic farm in Sussex. They taught me the importance of organic farming and food production, and when I moved from there to Daylesford Organic, I met more like minded people that made or grew food organically and believed in its integrity and importance.
I think of organic farming as the 'enlightened' period of agriculture after the dark ages of post-war agri-production, and I'm proud to belong to a group of people contributing to that effort. So when they vote our cheese Best Organic, that accolade and approval comes from the kind of people whose opinions mean the most to me.
To find out more visit www.stichelton.co.uk