Adventures in Stilton part 2
The Stilton Taste Test
So after my little trot round the History of Stilton (part1) I decided to do a taste test, comparing supermarket Stiltons to find a favourite.
Over on our YouTube Channel you can watch Anna and me doing said test and coming up with a winner. Not the same winner obviously, that would be too easy. So, two winners in fact. We disagreed agreeably, as Gary Lineker would encourage us to do.
This is basically the first video we have made for the channel and we have learned so much.
I forgot all the criteria that I promised we were going to be judging on. I also forgot to talk coherently about the flavour profile of the cheeses just saying things like ‘lovely’ and ‘salty’, like a stoner appraising Dostoevsky. I looked at all the criteria that the ‘Academy of Cheese’ uses to judge a cheese and failed to refer to any of them. I am an idiot basically.
Anyway, [spoiler alert if you are thinking of watching the video] here are the results of the taste test. To be honest we liked them all in different ways but we each found one that we liked more than the others:
|Waitrose – Cropwell Bishop
£2.05 / 100g
💚 💚 💚
|Waitrose – Colston Bassett
£2.00 / 100g
💚 💚 💚
❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️
|Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference
£1.50 / 100g
❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️
💚 💚 💚
|Coop – Blue Stilton
£1.50 / 100g
|Bristol Cheesemonger – Sparkenhoe
£3.30 / 100g
|Tesco’s Finest *T Fin Aged Blue Stilton
£1.67 / 100g
💚 💚 💚
The Sparkenhoe isn’t an actual Stilton. If you watched the interview with Oli at the Bristol Cheesemonger you’ll hear him explain why he thinks it is, though the maker probably doesn’t agree. Sparkenhoe is made in Leicestershire (one of the official Stilton-producing counties) to the same recipe as Stilton but it is made with raw milk, which puts it offside from the point of view of the Certified Trademark and Protected Designation Origin (PDO) status. Pasteurisation wasn’t invented till 1864, so the original Stiltons would have made using raw milkwhjihc is where the controversy comes from.
This particular batch of Sparkenhoe was also a bit ‘bruised’ according to Oli – it was brown around the outside under the rind so we suspect that the cheese, if at its best, would have done better in our taste test. We wanted to like it more than we did.
As it was, I most liked the Colston Bassett Stilton from Waitrose. Anna liked the Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference which came from the Vale of Belvoir (4 out of the 6 licensed Stilton’s do).
The whole experience has inspired me to head up to Stilton later this year, stay at the Bell Inn where all this started (see Part 1), and try some more Stiltons from the dairies themselves rather than the supermarket versions.
We had a lot of cheese left over after the taste test. I tried making Broccoli and Stilton Soup. I quite liked it but Anna really didn’t. Fans of ‘Bake-Off’ will know the Paul Hollywood handshake as a mark of respect. Followers of birth food sleep love death will come to know the Anna Vergano shudder as a mark of crushing condemnation. It was the grainy texture of the liquidised broccoli that put her off. I might make it again just to capture the shudder on video.
Instead, I made Stilton and Honey Ice Cream – you can watch me make it on the video, the recipe follows below. On the video you can see the reaction of my foodie family who were ‘kind enough’ to give me their honest opinion on the recipe.
Which is here:
Stilton and Honey Ice Cream
Adapted from the Roquefort and Honey Ice Cream recipe in The Perfect Scoop by David Leibovitz(£)
You can see me make it on YouTube at 14:34 (Chapter 4)
Makes about 750ml
150ml Flavoursome Honey (I added more than the recipe said because imo it needs to be sweet and savoury)
250ml whole milk
250mil Double Cream
4 egg yolks
Crumble the Stilton into a Bowl, place a sieve over the bowl
Warm the honey in a pan until its runny
Beat the egg yolks in a bowl
Warm the milk in a pan
Add the milk to to the beaten eggs, bit by bit, whisking all the time. Be careful if teh milk is too hot and/or if you add it too quickly it will cook the eggs and you will need to start again
Once have added all the milk, pour the mixture back into the milk pan over a low and heat slowly, stirring all the time. The custard is ready when it properly coats the back of your spoon. As this ice cream contains no sugar it will thicken quite quickly so be vigilant – if you over cook it you it will cook the egg and have to start again …
Once the custard is at the required thickness and as warm as you dare make it, pour it through the sieve over the stilton and stir to melt the Stilton ( a few bits left are fine).
Add the honey and the cream and stir well
Cover with clingfilm (too keep out fridge smells) and chill in the fridge for 2+ hours (you can put the bowl in ice water if you need to cool it down more putting in the fridge).
Once chilled, churn in your ice cream machine per the manufacturers instructions, in mine that’s about 40 mins.
Then, like I did, try it on your family. I hope you get as interesting reaction as I did (see the video on YouTube at 23:35)
That’s enough on Stilton for now. A reminder that you can enjoy some of the fruits of my research into the history of Stilton here, you need to know about Eau de Stilton and why Stilton’s origins can be traced back to an 18th Century Service Station.
Thanks for reading and watching!