It is still Christmas, and as the year is about to ebb, it is time for reflection. Some do and some don’t, but if you’re sitting down for some reflection don’t do it alone. Bring a glass of Malus Danica and a delicious slice of Stichelton. Both artisanal products in their own right, but far apart. Paired though, they’re lifted to a higher unity that just might bring your mind off track and on to a path of pure taste and indulgence. In that case it was probably meant to be. Malus Danica, as the name partly indicates, is a Danish ice-wine made from a variety of apples. Stichelton is a Stilton style cheese as Stilton ought to be. In my opinion, anyway.
Stichelton is a blue cheese made from an original Stilton recipe in an approved area, which in this case means Nottinghamshire, but made from raw milk which of course makes it “totally unacceptable”. Making Stilton from raw milk has not been allowed for the last 29 years after England experienced a staphylococcus outbreak affecting some 155 people. Stilton from Colston Basset dairy was the main suspect as this was made from raw milk. The cheese was withdrawn from the market and tested. Even though symptoms the 155 people affected were suggestive of a staphylococcal illness, extensive laboratory testing of cheeses implicated in several of the outbreaks failed to detect any pathogen, toxin or chemical connection. In spite of this it was decided over night that all Stilton cheese hereafter be made from pasteurized milk. End of discussion.
Fast forward; pre-Christmas 2004, at the pub The Wheatsheaf in London, Randolph Hodgson, the man behind Neal’s Yard Dairy, and the American cheese maker Joe Schneider met in the bar. They talked about real Stilton and the rest is history.
Slightly creamy texture, finely salted and with tones that remind me of butterscotch. Long on the palate. Fine distribution of blue molds, parsley style. No aim the mold be overwhelming, so also try some cheese from the areas without mold. And then some of both, together.
This is a fairly new Danish ice-wine made by Cold Hand Winery. Frozen apple juice is slowly thawed at zero degrees centigrade and then cold fermented for up to 15 months. This gives an amber wine, almost like viscous elixir. Intensely sweet with apple character, but balanced off by prominent acid.
A pairing in heaven, this.