Monday, February 5, 2007

White Stilton with Fruit

White Stilton is a crumbly, unpressed British cheese made from pasteurized cow's milk. While it does not compare in flavor or texture to its better-known sibling, Blue Stilton (often called the "King of Cheeses"), it is nonetheless worthy of a cheesemonger's modest consideration.

The many varieties of White Stilton that are made with fruit are among my favorite cheeses to serve at parties. They are interesting, accessible and pairable with most any wine. Strawberries, blueberries, apricots or mangos are often added to the curds of White Stilton, resulting in a light, sweet and refreshing cheese.

Plain White Stilton without any added fruit is a rather uninteresting cheese. It's a bit like Feta, without the briney flavor. I once served slices of plain White Stilton with slices of fresh mango on Ritz crackers. While I liked the visual presentation of the resulting hors d'oeuvre, I was surprised at how plain the flavor was. Whatever tiny bit of flavor the plain Stilton had on its own completely disappeared behind flavor of the fruit and cracker.

I highly recommend buying White Stilton to which fruit is added during the cheesemaking process. Adding fruit at this stage allows the flavors of the fruit and cheese to meld in a way they simply cannot do on a cracker.

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