History of Stilton Cheese
Blue veined Stilton is made in England - but not originally in the Town of Stilton in Cambridgeshire, England (about 80 miles north of London) as any Brit knows. It apparently came into Stilton in the 1700s to be sold at a coach stop, from a neighboring Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire or Derbyshire dairy. A Mr Cooper Thornhill who was landlord at the Bell Inn at Stilton, introduced the weary travelers along the coach route to this creamy, blue veined cheese.
Stilton can only be made in three counties with locally produced milk. It has a status as protected designation of origin by the European Commission ( like "Appelation d"Origine Controlee" in France.) It needs 9 weeks minimum in aging time.
This cheese is pierced with stainless steel needles and allowed to mature for three months. As oxygen infuses the cheese where the needles leave holes - blue mold veins appear (penicillium roqueforti.) A classic cheese wine pairing with Stilton is Port or Sauternes. As with many other cheeses, stilton goes well with fruit and nuts, in particular pears and walnuts, making it suitable for savoury and sweet dishes.