Elephant Foot Cheese
My 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.
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.
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.
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?