I enjoy my Wednesday food section fix as much as the next food nerd, but today I snapped that sucker open, scanned, and squealed with the kind of unrestrained glee that women generally reserve for babies and diamonds.
To be fair, it IS a baby of sorts...a spanking new blue cheese!!! Food nerd extraordinaire Harold McGee introduces us to an old cheese with a fresh name: Stichelton.
The brainchild of cheesemaker Joe Schneider and Neal's Yard Dairy's Randolph Hodgson, Stichelton is basically a raw-milk Stilton, in many ways more traditionally made than what is legally recognized as Stilton.
Mr. Hodgson is a proponent of cheeses made with raw milk. Many scientific studies have confirmed that they have an especially full flavor thanks to the ripening activity of harmless bacteria present in the milk. Pasteurization eliminates these bacteria.
So Mr. Hodgson tried to convince some makers of Stilton to use raw milk, as they had for more than 200 years, and as makers of other cheeses still do here. But his pressure was no match for the rigidity of the Stilton Cheese Makers’ Association...the legal definition of Stilton still forbids the use of raw milk.
Thwarted, Mr. Hodgson decided to develop his own raw-milk version of Stilton, but his cheese would need a pseudonym. He chose Stichelton, the original name of Stilton village as it’s given in the 11th-century census known as the Domesday Book.
-Harold McGee, NYT
Schneider and Hodgson's attention to detail is heartening; the use of their own organic raw milk, the hand-ladling of curds, the old-school love of animal rennet and amiable bacteria...all seasoned with delicious nomenclature defiance.
It's almost enough to make a gal snap and stowaway to London. (Hi-ho, Nottinghamshire!!!)
But lovely Harold didn't leave us hanging (his quote, my links):
For the lucky ducks in the UK, Neal's Yard Dairy will bring Stichelton to you. (Sniffle.)
For the rest of us...some consolation baby pics, and one more place to add to the growing list of food pilgrimages.