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?
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.