Stilton is one of those cheeses you either love or hate. And if you love it then you’ll probably have headed to Stilton, the Cambridgeshire village that made the cheese famous, this Bank Holiday – well until this year that is. Because the annual Cheese Rolling Championship was cancelled. Lack of enthusiam, costs and security have been cited as reasons not to roll the wooden cheese replica. But next year will still be on (probably). So there is still a chance to win a real cheese, the trophy and a couple of bottles of wine as well.
So if you don’t consume the prize there and then you’ll need to store both cheese and wine with care: Stilton cheese and bottles of wine (more accurately their cork stoppers) will deteriorate and crumble if not kept moist.
Laying wine bottles horizontally and wrapping the cheese in greaseproof paper will solve the moisture problem. But tradition advises an alternative solution: opening and pouring the wine, usually a port, onto the hollowed-out Stilton. This homily is still slavishly followed by many who call themselves cheese lovers, but I don’t know why. The end-result is a soggy cheese that’s now an unappetising greyish-purple colour and a bottle of port now sadly diminished – port and Stilton do go together but it’s best to keep the port wine for drinking with, and not on, the cheese. But what sort of port makes the best match?
Lighter white port matches the fresh and creamy flavours of white Stilton, while the more full-bodied and sweeter red port complements the stronger more acidic flavours of blue Stilton.
PG Wine Reviews
Sainsbury’s Ruby Port
Sainsbury’s Ruby Port is a treat for those who like their port on the dry side. Tasting like a concentrated and just slightly sweetened Cabernet Sauvignon wine this port is excellent value and offers a drier introduction to the more usual flavours of blackcurrant jam, raisins and brown sugar found in many ports.
Cockburn’s Light Dry White Port
Cockburn’s Light Dry is not actually that light or dry in flavour but tastes heartily of raisins, marzipan and Macadamia nuts
Marks and Spencer’s Pink Port
£7.99 Marks and Spencer
For something slightly different why not try Pink Port served chilled over ice? It’s actually more cherry-red in colour than pink but we’ll let it off as it tastes rather good – expect flavours of Turkish Delight with a slight bitter edge at the end.
Marks and Spencer’s Finest Reserve Port
£12 Marks and Spencer
This is a Reserve port that’s worth its price-tag. Drinking this interesting fortified wine is like sucking on a violet liqueur chocolate that’s had a smear of Marmite added
Cockburn’s 10 year-old Tawny
Should I still not have convinced you of the magnificence of the port-Stilton combination and you’d rather take your port wine neat then try Cockburn’s 10 year-old Tawny. This aged port tastes so crisp and light – despite bristling with flavours of raisins, almonds and walnuts – that cheese is unnecessary.