While Stilton is one of Britain’s best known cheeses, it is only made by six producers. Of these, the co-operative in the village of Colston Bassett is one of the smallest and takes its milk from five farms located within in one and a half miles of the dairy, some of whom are shareholders in the business.
Stilton has been made at the Colston Bassett & District Dairy since 1913. During this time, there have only been four cheesemakers: Tom Coy, Ernie Wagstaff, Richard Rowlett, and now Billy Kevan.
One of the principal differences is that the curds are hand-ladled, a time-consuming and painstaking process, but one that helps to preserve the structure of the curd. The resulting cheeses are more buttery in texture than that of mass-produced Stiltons. Richer, more complex, and longer lasting flavour.