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Raw vs. Pasteurized: Stilton vs. Stichelton

Stilton vs. Stichelton

! EG-4200, EG-4100

If you love cheese, you probably know about the recent crackdowns on two prominent raw milk dairies in Washington state. I’ve been reading a lot about food policy this week, so I treated myself to a side-by-side tasting of two British blues – one made from raw milk, the other pasteurized.

Meet Stichelton and Colston Bassett Stilton.

These blue cheese brothers essentially share one mother – a similar recipe – but they are made from different milks. I was curious to see if I could taste a difference. First, a little history.

Colston Bassett is a top-shelf Stilton made from pasteurized cow’s milk. The milk comes from the same dairies that have supplied this cheesemaker since the early 1900s, and the wheels are aged by Britain’s premier affineurs at Neal’s Yard Dairy.

Stichelton is also aged by Neal’s Yard Dairy, but the wheels are crafted from unpasteurized milk — the way Stilton was produced before regulations required pasteurization. Cheese lovers revere Joe Schneider for bringing back this traditional raw-milk version.

Here’s what surprised me: these cheeses look, smell, and taste radically different. If you want to educate your palate, recreate this tasting. It’s a fun way to compare similar cheeses and discover very different flavors. Just be sure the cheeses reach room temperature before you serve them.

Here are my notes:

Colston Bassett Stilton

Smell: Moist leather, human sweat

Texture: Crumbly, fudgy with flinty blue veining

Color: Cigar-colored rind, paste is cream-colored with a golden cast

Taste: White chocolate+lichen+salty licorice. A flinty, fudgy, warm-leather cheese. Makes me want port and a cigarillo.


Smell: Bright, chalky

Texture: Fudgy, slightly waxen

Color: Hay-colored rind, paste is ivory with rivers of sea-blue veining

Taste: Grapey with a pronounced sweet-salty flavor and mellow fade. Not overly earthy, subdued with hints of walnut and white pepper.

My conclusion? Both of these cheeses rival any supermarket blues I’ve ever tasted. Of the two, Colston Bassett Stilton is more complex, but I could eat more of the Stichelton in one sitting. The Stilton appears more aged, which may be why its bold notes are so pronounced. Comparing the two is like comparing dogs and cats; the Stilton has a lot of bulldog in it, while the Stichelton is more delicate, full of purrs rather than sharp barks.

As I study the raw-milk debate, I look forward to more comparisons between raw-milk and pasteurized cheeses. Ultimately, I’m just glad to have the choice.

If you’re cheese curious, check out Madame Fromage


  • Tweets that mention Raw vs. Pasteurized: Stilton vs. Stichelton « Di Bruno Bros. -- says:
    January 26, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Moreno, Madame Fromage. Madame Fromage said: RT @tweetmeme Raw vs. Pasteurized: Stilton vs. Stichelton [...]

  • Canada Cheese Man says:
    January 26, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    This was a topic I was curious about also. Bulldogs and cats? I love the analogies.

  • albert says:
    January 27, 2011 at 12:13 am

    if i recall correctly, the guy behind Stichelton wasn’t allowed to market his traditional recipe as a British stilton so he said screw you guys and went with Stichelton which predates ‘stilton’ – is that right or am I remembering a scotch-laden stilton tasting I was a part of a year ago? Either way, I had both that evening and loved them. Oh NYD, you’re so good to me. Now if I could only get my hands on some Berkswell in Philly.

    • Hunter Fike says:
      January 27, 2011 at 4:53 pm


      You are correct. Stichelton is how the town of Stilton was referred to in the Domesday book of 1086. By the way, we do carry Berkswell from time to time. Give us a call and we will hold some for you.

  • albert says:
    February 9, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Heya Hunter-
    Yep, I know that you guys carry Berkswell from time to time, but that it’s just in quite short supply. I understand why, but damn it’s like a drug that I gotta have. That said, I just picked up a wedge earlier this week from 9th St.

  • no counterspace » Blog Archive » Italian Market + Harry’s Savoy Grill = The Expurgated Tales of from Saturday says:
    April 4, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    [...] have it not spoil would weigh upon her mind, so the cheese was leaving with me in the evening). In comparing the Stilton and Stichelton, we came to almost exactly the opposite conclusions of Madame Fromage… and I think in our [...]

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