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by Fred McMillin
Port and Stilton, a Perfect Pair
A Stilton cheese is 9 inches high and weighs 14 lbs.
Some say it was created by a Mrs. Stilton who worked for the fifth Dutchess of Rutland in 1800.
Stilton goes superbly with port wine.
...The Cheese Book by Marquis and Haskell, Simon and Shuster
The Rest of the Story
While there is uncertainty about who created England's great, blue-veined cheese, there's little doubt about where the public first encountered it. Travelers going north from London, tired and hungry as they tumbled out of the coach at the Bell Hotel in the town of Stilton, were offered the cheese we know today as Stilton. The owner of the Bell Hotel, Mr. Cooper Thornhill, had received a wonderful cheese as a Christmas gift from his sister-in-law, Mrs. Paulet. He was so impressed he immediately arranged to purchase all the "Stilton" she could produce. That was in 1790. (Source: Cheese by T.A. Layton)
As for which port, here's a very affordable one
that scored well in my last tasting.
You may have heard that the French have a blue-veined cheese of some repute, too. It's called Roquefort! How do they compare? The British point out that Stilton is 9" high while Roquefort is but five...and suggest that "Roquefort is Stilton without a college education." (Bunyard).
In Paris I found a different opinion. While dining at Pierre Androuet's unparalleled cheese shop and restaurant, I purchased his Encylopedia devoted to "French Cheese and Many Continental Varieties." The 547 pages dismiss Stilton with a total of five words: "Soft cheese with internal mold." The Dutchess of Rutland thought it was better than that!
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