Colston Bassett Dairy
PRODUCER: Colston Bassett Dairy, Nottinghamshire
PRODUCT: Colston Bassett Stilton
REGION: East and West Midlands
CATEGORY: From the Dairy (Artisan)
WHAT THEY DO
A bastion of British cheesemaking, Colston Bassett Dairy was established as a community co-operative back in 1913, with16 farmers contributing their excess milk.
103 years later, the dairy still operates the same way although after a century of consolidation, the milk today comes from just four farms within a 1.5-mile radius of the dairy, whose cows graze on the same pastures in the Vale of Belvoir as they did when the dairy was established.
Stilton cheese was granted European Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status in 1996, and by law must be made within certain regional boundaries and according to traditional recipes and techniques. At Colston Bassett Stilton today, the cheesemaking is done by hand, from mixing, adding the rennet and Penecillium roqueforti culture, cutting curds, ladling, milling and salting, to filling the moulds. Every cheese is manually turned as it matures.
In the past century the dairy has had only four chief cheese makers, ensuring exceptional consistency and enabling the use of intuition to produce a superior quality cheese. The cheese is tasted and graded regularly until Colston Bassett’s expert cheese makers determine that it has matured to the desired intensity, resulting in a smooth, creamy blue cheese with no sharp acidity and a mellow flavour.
WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
The East and West Midlands judges were in agreement that Colston Bassett Stilton is of very high quality and one of the best cheeses in the country, calling it “the real deal”.
VISIT THE WEBSITE: colstonbassettdairy.co.uk