Stilt n’s com­ing home (but don’t call it that)

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By KEN MCERLAIN ken.mcerlain@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk

VIL­LAGERS in Stil­ton are cel­e­brat­ing af­ter it was an­nounced that its name­sake can fi­nally be pro­duced there again – but un­der a dif­fer­ent name.

De­spite be­ing the birth­place of the blue-veined cheese, pro­duc­tion moved away in the 18th cen­tury. A le­gal rul­ing in 1996 meant it could not be pro­duced in the vil­lage – un­til now.

How­ever, there is one con­di­tion – the cheese can’t be called stil­ton.

The vil­lage’s Bell Inn, which first sold the cheese, has been al­lowed to pro­duce and sell it to lo­cals again.

Land­lord Liam Mc­givern (60) said: “This is some­thing to re­ally cel­e­brate. Stil­ton has come home.

“It was ridicu­lous that up un­til now we couldn’t make stil­ton in Stil­ton.

“Peo­ple would come in and ask­fori­tandi’dhave­to­ex­plain we legally couldn’t make it. It was embarrassing.”

One of the pub’s own­ers in the 18th cen­tury, Cooper Thornhill, be­came the first English­man to mar­ket the cheese.

Lo­cal folk­lore says that he dis­cov­ered the cheese while vis­it­ing a nearby farm in 1730 and made a busi­ness ar­range­ment grant­ing the pub the exclusive mar­ket­ing rights.

Pro­duc­tion later moved to Le­ices­ter­shire, and in 1996 the Stil­ton Cheese Mak­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (SCMA) im­posed a Pro­tected Des­ig­na­tion of Ori­gin (PDO) or­der mean­ing that stil­ton cheese could only be pro­duced in Der­byshire, Le­ices­ter­shire and Not­ting­hamshire.

How­ever, lo­cal his­to­rian Richard Landy chal­lenged this rul­ing af­ter find­ing ev­i­dence that the cheese was

(METP-14-12-11PF011) first cre­ated in the vil­lage.

Now the Depart­ment for Environment, Food and Ru­ral Af­fairs (DE­FRA) has al­lowed the pub to pro­duce the cheese, us­ing the ingredients and tech­niques re­quired, for lo­cal sale.

How­ever, the cheese must not be called stil­ton.

Mr Mc­givern added: “We’re go­ing to call it Bell Blue.

“It will be stil­ton cheese made iden­ti­cal to the SCMA’S recipe, and we’ll be mak­ing three or four batches a week.

“It takes a day to make the cheese and then it has to ma­ture for three and a half months.

“We feel wait!”

it’s worth the

The pub has al­ready pro­duced its first batch, and a spe­cial launch date has been pen­cilled in for March 1, which is planned to be a day of cel­e­bra­tions.

Mr Landy said: “The vil­lage has ev­ery right to be proud of its as­so­ci­a­tion with the cheese.

“Two years ago we found ev­i­dence that the cheese was cre­ated here, but pro­duc­tion moved to Le­ices­ter­shire in the 18th cen­tury.

“Since then we’ve been ap­ply­ing to get Stil­ton in the PDO and fi­nally DE­FRA have come to agree­ment.

“It’s a great day for the vil­lage and one that’s been a long time com­ing!”

TRA­DI­TION: Cheese rolling, us­ing wooden “cheeses” is a pop­u­lar an­nual event, held out­side the vil­lage’s his­toric Bell pub.

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