Raw Milk Stichelton

United Kingdom

Milk and milk products

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Raw Milk Stichelton

In the counties of Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire, a round, blue cheese has been produced for centuries, weighing around 8 kg and never being pressed during the production process. It is made by using cylindrical molds that create its typical, elongated shape, and has a thick hard crust that is pale grey with dusty white patches. During its maturation the cheese is perforated to encourage the growth of the mold that give the cheese its characteristic flavor. To this end, long steel needles are used to pierce the cheese around its circumference. Once the air has penetrated the holes, the Penicillium roquefortii, dormant up until this point, can begin to grow, creating the typical blue veins that cover the cheese. As this process continues, the cheese becomes softer and develops an aroma reminiscent of wine.
This historic cheese is called Stilton, and is one of the oldest in England. Its production began at the end of the 17th century, taking its name from the eponymous village in Cambridgeshire, one of the waypoints along the road from London to York, where travelers often stepped to rest on their journeys. Stilton is mentioned in various documents of the time, one of the most important being Daniel Defoe’s A tour thro’ the whole island of Great Britain (1727), which states that the village of Stilton was famous for its cheese. Stilton is appreciated for its creamy consistency and delicate aroma, which make a sharp contrast with its blue-veined appearance. It is eaten after maturing for between one and six months.
In 1996 Stilton obtained PDO status from the European Union, but unfortunately the legislation anticipates the obligatory use of pasteurized milk during the cheese’s production, and the six major dairies, which together produce over a million cheeses a year, use a heat treatment during production that kills the original bacteria, deprive the cheese of its aromatic richness and traditional identity, owed to these same bacteria.
There remains only one producer who uses raw milk and the traditional method, and it is precisely for this reason that the cheese cannot enter into the PDO and cannot be called the name that it is entitled to.
Slow Food has decided to sustain this raw milk Stilton with a Presidium, and aims to open a debate on the use of raw milk, which Slow Food believes is necessary in order to preserve historic and traditional methods of dairy production.

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The Presidium presently involves just one producer, indeed, the single remaining producer who produces this traditional blue cheese using raw milk. His name is Joe Schneider of Cuckney, Nottinghamshire, and for decades he has been producing this cheese in the traditional way, which was more widely practiced up until the imposition of the PDO and the obligation of pasteurization. As Joe doesn’t pasteurize the milk, it can’t legally be called “Stilton” and so he has renamed “Stichelton”, the ancient name of the village of Stilton.
Joe has been campaigning for years for a change in the rules of the PDO, but has been denided several times, both by the government of the UK and the consortium of producers who adhere to the PDO. According to the consortium, producing the cheese with raw milk runs an elevated risk for consumers, because the processing and maturation could cause potentially dangerous pathogens in the cheese. Stilton, however, is a hard cheese with low humidity and acidity, and thus at very low risk. Slow Food has decided to establish a Presidium to sustain Joe Schneider and to increase awareness of the importance of raw milk in traditional cheese production. A petition has also been started to push the consortium of PDO Stilton producers to consent to the use of raw milk.

Production area
Cuckney Village, Bassetlaw District, Nottinghamshire County
Stichelton Dairy
Collingthwaite Farm
Cuckney - Mansfield
Nottinghamshire
tel. +44 1623844883
info@stichelton.co.uk
www.stichelton.co.uk
Presidium Coordinator
Joe Schneider
tel. +44 1623844883
info@stichelton.co.uk
www.stichelton.co.uk
The Presidium presently involves just one producer, indeed, the single remaining producer who produces this traditional blue cheese using raw milk. His name is Joe Schneider of Cuckney, Nottinghamshire, and for decades he has been producing this cheese in the traditional way, which was more widely practiced up until the imposition of the PDO and the obligation of pasteurization. As Joe doesn’t pasteurize the milk, it can’t legally be called “Stilton” and so he has renamed “Stichelton”, the ancient name of the village of Stilton.
Joe has been campaigning for years for a change in the rules of the PDO, but has been denided several times, both by the government of the UK and the consortium of producers who adhere to the PDO. According to the consortium, producing the cheese with raw milk runs an elevated risk for consumers, because the processing and maturation could cause potentially dangerous pathogens in the cheese. Stilton, however, is a hard cheese with low humidity and acidity, and thus at very low risk. Slow Food has decided to establish a Presidium to sustain Joe Schneider and to increase awareness of the importance of raw milk in traditional cheese production. A petition has also been started to push the consortium of PDO Stilton producers to consent to the use of raw milk.

Production area
Cuckney Village, Bassetlaw District, Nottinghamshire County
Stichelton Dairy
Collingthwaite Farm
Cuckney - Mansfield
Nottinghamshire
tel. +44 1623844883
info@stichelton.co.uk
www.stichelton.co.uk
Presidium Coordinator
Joe Schneider
tel. +44 1623844883
info@stichelton.co.uk
www.stichelton.co.uk