Potted Stilton

I’ll admit it: I have a fascination with cheese in crocks. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a family that ate Port Wine Cheddar out of a crock around Christmas – in Wisconsin, this was easy enough to find at the grocery, and the crocks were made out of real clay, which could then be used for a pencil jar.

Or maybe my fascination is borne out of a blind love. Blue cheese – any way, any how – is alluring. Even when it comes out of a suitcase, leaking, with its wax plug slightly askew. My pal, the painter Mike Geno, wasn’t sure if this pot from Long Clawson was rot when he presented it to me yesterday as a belated holiday giftie.

“My friend brought it from Scotland in her suitcase, and it leaked all over her clothes,” he admitted. “Do you think it’s still good?”

As you know, a blue cheese rankles the nose. And this potted lot was stinky. Perhaps it had gone awry in the friendly skies?

Nope. It was delish. Sweet and salty with the biscuity crumb that a proper Stilton requires. Mike and I spread it on toasted chocolate bread, to great delight, then I carried it home for a re-run: paired it with some chutney and a frothy pint of Mean Old Tom, a gorgeous stout from Portland, Maine that is aged on vanilla beans.

Monsieur Fromage never enjoyed himself so much. On Valentine’s no less.

And for me? What could be better than my two loves: a bearded consort and a burly cheese?

Potted Stilton Links

Potted Stilton with Apple: Make your own crock with some leftover blue and a pinch of cream. Recipe creator Lotte Duncan tells you to seal it off with clarified butter. You don’t say?

Potted Stilton with Port: British food giant, Waitrose, suggests you whip your Stilton with Port and green peppercorns. Cheesemongers, close your ears.

Potted Stilton with Mascarpone: The Poetry of Food website recommends that you “blitz” your blue bits with soft cheese, sea salt, and good sherry for a popular Edwardian treat. Add grapes and oaty biscuits for your next Downton Abbey viewing party?

Nagging Questions

In my research, I couldn’t find a speck of history about potted Stilton. Traditional wheels, like the beautiful Colston-Bassett, have distinctive rinds that share colors with the Bassett Hound — is potted Stilton simply unaged Stilton dropped into a vessel? Mike and I observed that the blue veining deepened in color as the cheese sat out with the lid off. Could this be a wee science project?

In the U.S., I have only spied potted Stilton at Murray’s Cheese in New York. It was there last Christmas, but I didn’t see it this year. If you’ve spotted The Potted elsewhere, please let me know.

 

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Comments
6 Responses to “Potted Stilton”
  1. Devora says:

    I love anything in a crock! What do you do with the crock when the cheese inside is finished (gobbled)? I tend to reuse the containers as teeny vases or dry storage, but I can imagine running out of ideas.

  2. DANA says:

    So glad you liked it! YES, it leaked alllllllllll over my clothes, had to decide if I should just wash my whole case, or… do the sniff test. I did the sniff test, so probably had a slight stilton odor for a month or so! lol. I always call it “stilton in a jar” you might have more luck with your google searches that way. I know there is a british delights company that sells it at xmas time, usually in a big hamper along with other things. BEST way to eat it is: with a glass of port, with some Scottish oatcakes, heat them up in the toaster, both sides of course, then put a crumbling of Stilton in a Jar on top with a slice of granny smith apple. SO GOOOOOD! Enjoy, Dana.

    • tdarlington says:

      Dana, thanks so much for carrying this Stilton across the ocean for me! My goodness, what a feat. You are a dream. I’m glad to know it’s called “stilton in a jar” by your familiars. I saw a number of these for sale from British companies online, but nothing available in the U.S. So, I feel very lucky. Again, merci!

  3. GreyBruce says:

    I’ve just come across your post, and although late, let me try to answer your nagging questions….. The Stilton in the jar is the same fabulous stilton that you find in the deli – just cut so that it fits. It will be about 8 or 9 weeks of age when it is potted. The wax is there to perform a very important job – to seal the jar to prevent air getting to the cheese. this slows down the maturation process to a crawl – until the seal is broken. the color will naturally deepen as the stilton gets more air – chances are the veins looked a little green at first? As the penicillium roqueforti interacts with the oxygen, it will gradually ‘blue up’, so thats what probably happened as you saw it darkening.
    Jars tend to be a Christmas item, produced for just a limited time.

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