Stilton cheese is a very famous English cheese, whose two distinct varieties hold 2 out of 10 Protected Designations of Origin for British cheeses that are handed out by European Commission. With history that reaches back to 1720s and 1730s, this cheese can today be found all over the England, with certified cheeses being made only from counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Nottinghamshire.
There are two historical recording s about origins of Stilton cheese, which is today famous for its strong smell, strong taste, and semi-soft, crumbly and creamier texture that can found in two varieties – much more common Blue Stilton cheese, and relatively rare White Stilton. First written reports of Stilton cheese was found in records of English antiquarian William Stukeley in 1722, and English writer Daniel Defoe in 1724. Oral history of the central England connects Stilton cheese origins with the sales of that cheese from Bell Inn on the Great North Road, in the village of Stilton in the county of Huntingdonshire. Supposedly owner of that inn Cooper Thornhill came in contact with blue Stilton cheese in neighboring farm in Leicestershire, securing sales agreement that made his inn very popular.
Since Inn was located on busy trading road, word of Blue Stilton Cheese spread across central England quickly, making it a staple of local cuisine. Around the same time in 1720s, famous cheese maker Frances Pawlett formed his influential work on standardizing procedure of cheese production, which also affected manufacture of Stilton cheese. Official recipe of Stilton cheese was published first Professor of Botany at Cambridge University, Richard Bradley in 1726.
In modern history, Stilton cheese received much attention in 1936 which was the year when Stilton Cheesemakers' Association (SCMA) was formed with a goal of protecting Stilton cheese against unregulated production, promotion and sale. British government granted this association legal protection via a certification trademark for Stilton Cheese, making it first and only cheese that received official support from British government. Today, only six diaries are producing Stilton cheese in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire counties, making it so that cheese produced in the town of Stilton not officially recognized as Stilton Cheese. There were several attempts to include village of Stilton into charter of Stilton Cheese, but the latest attempt was rejected in 2013.