The most important etiquette rules on how to serve and eat Stilton. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table.
What Stilton etiquette is
Stilton etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat Stilton cheese. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.
If you are hosting, follow Stilton etiquette to serve it to your guests appropriately.
If you are a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat and enjoy it.
What you should know about Stilton
Stilton is a semi-soft cheese from England. It has the status of protected designation of origin (PDO) in the European Union. Meaning that only three counties in England can produce it. Derbyshire. Leicestershire. Nottinghamshire.
There are two varieties of Stilton. Blue Stilton is the most famous, with its blue veins, sharp smell and taste. The White variety is milder in flavor.
Stilton is made from pasteurized cow’s milk. Its aging time is of minimum 9 weeks. It is of white color with blue mold veins (in the Blue variety). It has a sharp taste and a crumbly texture. The longer the aging, the creamier the texture.
Etiquette tips to serve and eat Stilton
1) How to store Stilton
Store Stilton in the fridge. It can last for up to 3 or 4 weeks.
After opening it, it is best to consume Stilton within a couple of weeks. To store it, wrap it in waxed paper or parchment paper. Alternatively, wrap it in plastic or aluminum foil. You can store it in a sealed container too. However, any cut surface should be protected from the air.
You should avoid storing it with other cheeses. Otherwise, its strong smell might affect the other cheeses’ taste.
In the freezer, Stilton can last for up to 6 months. Be aware that freezing affects the taste and texture of the cheese. Thus, freeze Stilton only if you plan to cook it.
Store dishes with cooked Stilton in the fridge. They can last for up to 3 and 5 days.
2) How to clean Stilton
You do not need to wash Stilton.
Its blue veins are edible. Its rind is edible too. However, it is best to discard it.
If you notice mold in a package of Stilton, other than its blue veins, you should discard the entire package.
3) How to cook Stilton
You can prepare Stilton in many ways.
It is a great ingredient for salads and sandwiches.
You can melt it into a sauce before adding it to a dish. Cook it into a blue cheese dressing for a salad. Melt it on top of meat, eggs, or potatoes.
Bake it as an ingredient for savory tarts, quiches, or pies.
Blue cheese melts quickly and completely. When possible, add Stilton during the final stage of cooking. Otherwise, you risk overcooking it and spoiling the taste.
4) How to serve & present Stilton
Serve Stilton at room temperature. Take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving.
Stilton is best served after the meal, before the dessert. It is also great as an appetizer.
On a cheese platter, Stilton should be arranged as the strongest cheese. Thus, it should be the last to be eaten.
You can present young Stilton in small, bite-size cubes or in slices. If you do so, it is best to remove the rind.
Accompany it with bread or crackers.
Before serving Stilton, make sure that it hasn’t gone bad. If you notice a strong, foul odor, discard it immediately. Do the same if you notice fuzzy white mold. Small pink, green, or gray spots on the surface can also signal that the cheese has gone bad.
5) Food and wine to pair Stilton with
You can add Stilton to many cooked vegetables. Potatoes. Pumpkin. Tomatoes. Broccoli. Zucchini. You can melt it on top of meat or eggs to enhance their flavor.
Avoid it with fish or seafood. It is also not the best blue cheese for pasta and pizza.
Stilton goes well with walnuts and fruits. Fresh fruit such as pears, apples, or figs. Dried fruit such as apricots or cranberries.
You can pair it with honey or jams, such as cranberry or cherry.
Pair Stilton with sweet, fortified wine. Port, Madeira, or Sherry are the traditional pairings. Sauternes or Tokaji from Hungary are other popular options.
6) How to eat Stilton
The rind is edible, but it is common to discard it. If you do so, leave it on the side of your plate.
Use a knife to place it or spread it on bread or a cracker. Younger Stilton tends to be crumbly, thus you should not try to spread it. Alternatively, you can eat it with a fork.
Avoid using your fingers. Aged Stilton can get creamy. Furthermore, it can make your hands smell.
Stilton etiquette: the worst mistakes
The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors.
A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.
Avoid the worst Stilton etiquette mistakes.
- 9/10. Serving spoiled Stilton.
- 7/10. Pairing Stilton with fish or seafood.
- 5/10. Eating Stilton with your fingers.
- 4/10. Adding it to pasta.
Additional information for properly serving Stilton
How many calories per serving?
Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.
Stilton contains 410 calories per 100 grams. An average serving is around 30 grams and contains 123 calories. A grated tablespoon is 10 grams and contains 41 calories.
How to buy the best Stilton
A crucial factor in Stilton etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.
Season and availability
Stilton is available all year round. In England, it is a traditional food at Christmas time.
Choose the best
Original Stilton must have a protected designation of origin (PDO) seal on its packaging. The seal means that the cheesemakers complied with all the necessary quality requirements.
Stilton matures to perfection after 3 months. If the cheese looks very white, it means it is not mature enough. If it is dark yellow and oily, it is likely overripe.
Alternatives to Stilton
The most popular blue cheeses alternative to Stilton are Gorgonzola, Roquefort, or Danish Blue. Or consider other blue cheese from England. Such as Stichelton, Oxford Blue, or Shropshire Blue.