It wasn’t until I was chatting to Joe Schneider about raw milk Stilton that the idea of doing it ourselves became serious and then after about a year of looking for somewhere to do it we found the Welbeck Estate and got going. The fly in the ointment however was being told adamantly by the Stilton Cheesemakers Association that we could not use the name Stilton as it was protected by European law and could not be made from raw milk. The protection is in the form of a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) that is intended to protect the recipe and geographical area of production of traditional food in Europe, which is obviously a good thing. In France the PDO is used to protect cheeses such as Camembert de Normandie which recently won a battle to stop larger producers using other than raw milk. Only in Britain would we use the same PDO system intended to protect tradition to protect a modern method such pasteurisation.

We have taken a conciliatory approach and not even alluded to any connection with the protected Stilton, in the vain hope that once we had a track record of good cheese being made, the SCMA would see the light. But it was not to be so. We are now applying for a change in the PDO.

Concerns over the use of raw milk in cheesemaking rest with those who don’t have experience of farmhouse cheesemaking.

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