A good cheese will vary with the seasons and also as it matures. The cheese that you eat today will taste different from the one you ate last week; at least I hope so. View a short film which shows some of the things I look for in my favourite Stichelton cheese.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the more blue there is, the better the cheese is. We are aiming to make a cheese with subtle mellow blueing rather than large deep caverns of blue. It is the effect of the blue on the cheese around it that is the most important thing. Stichelton begins white and crumbly and as it matures the blue softens this white, crumbly paste into a smooth rich cream colour. It is the effect of the blue that is the thing to eat rather than the blue itself.
One of the unusual things about Stichelton is the crust which should be of a deep glowing orange-red with an occasional light sprinkling of white. It looks wonderful but it also imparts huge flavour on the cheese, particularly if you taste the creamy part just under the rind. In fact the flavour is familiar if you are used to eating ‘washed-rind’ cheese because the Stichelton rind has a similar flora to washed-rind cheese.
It is really interesting to taste the different parts of the Stichelton separately: the plain white part, the creamy part just next to the blue, the blue itself, the creamy part just under the rind (and if you can find them, the little amber beads of ‘nectar’ that can reside there). Oh and I like to eat some rind if its delicate and alive-looking.