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Elephant Foot Cheese

November 13, 2013

IMG_1609My Stilton does not look like anything you would want to put in your mouth. In fact, it looks like something someone pulled out from under the sofa after it rolled back there years ago. Or maybe something from a B movie of the sci-fi/horror genre. Or elephant feet… one friend definitely said “elephant feet.” In fact, my boyfriend cringed when I touched the cheese with bare hands and later swore he saw it move. Yeah, it’s that ugly.

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The Stilton was made back in September for our second League of Urban Cheesemakers meeting, which was either a convention of moldy masterpieces, or an environmental crisis… depending on how you look at it. Luckily, we in the League are not faint of heart or taste-bud. We sat down to eleven hoary wheels and enjoyed ourselves immensely.

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Once again, it was amazing to see the diversity of results. Rinds ranged from speckled beige to blackish green, which mostly seemed to have depended on the maker’s ability to “rub up” their wheels. Those that conquered the difficult task kept cleaner, lighter colored rinds, while those of us who couldn’t, found the mold covering the outside as well as in. The pastes were intriguing, too; from almost clean, to small clouds of mold speckles, to deeply marbled. This seemed to depend mostly on the moisture content of the curd, with drier curds achieving better veining.IMG_1599

 

More amazing than their dramatic appearances though, was that every wheel smelled and tasted just fine. Good even, or dare I say delicious. All had that signature blue pungency and complimented our spread of fruits, nuts, and honey well. It was quite a feast. And we’re all still alive to tell of it! I’m now trying to figure out what to do with my second Stilton, as no one I know is brave enough to eat it… How about you?

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Miranda permalink
    November 14, 2013 1:19 am

    Wish you could mail it to Wales! Stilton is Henry’s favourite. He doesn’t care how ugly it is. Funny kid.

    • November 15, 2013 8:49 am

      I almost think it would survive the trip, but might qualify as “hazardous materials” at the post office!

  2. R. Harvey permalink
    November 14, 2013 11:28 am

    Bring it on home! Would it be good with Macaroni or grilled? And what about on pizza? Probably don’t need all those other ‘ingredients’ – it sounds great all by itself.

    • November 15, 2013 8:51 am

      Maybe I will. It seems to be pretty stable and might last another 2 weeks until I make the trip. It’s blue cheese, so might be good crumbled on a salad, but not so much for cooking. But hey, there’s a whole wheel – you can experiment to your hearts content!

  3. November 16, 2013 10:25 am

    I guess the main question is how did it taste? I have made a few nasty looking cheeses that turned out to taste amazing and vice versus. I think your stilton looks great.

    • November 16, 2013 11:15 am

      Hm, I guess I didn’t really get into that. Well, it tastes very nice. Dry, with a bit of chew. Definitely not as moist and pastey as most blues. High on the salt, but not distastefully so. And that signature blue flavor is pronounced. Smells bluey too, with a hint of barn yard. (Some of the League cheeses got quite ammoniated, but also tasted fine.) You kind of have to balance the mental reaction of “I just put a lump of putrid mold in my mouth,” with the actual taste, which is pretty refined compared to its appearance. I have had blues that were too strong and spicey, and even I didn’t like them, but this one I could snack on happily. “Was it worth it?” though is another question. I think it will be a while before I try another blue.

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