Billy Kevan and his team in Nottinghamshire make Colston Basset Stilton by hand. It is one of the last hand-ladled Stiltons left. Hand-ladling yields an intensely rich and creamy cheese, with a deep, lingering, and complex Colston Bassett flavour.
Billy Kevan, only the fourth head cheese-maker since 1920, watches as local milk sets. The curd is cut into small cubes and set aside to settle. It is then drained and ladled into curd trays by hand. The following morning, it is milled and packed into stilton hoops to drain naturally before being rubbed and placed in the maturing rooms.
Colston Bassett Stilton is pierced after four to six weeks and again one week later to allow oxygen to penetrate the cheese and the blue veins to develop.
Stilton dates back to the 18th century, when it was consumed at The Bell Inn in Stilton. Stilton, which is now a protected cheese, can only be produced in the counties of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, and Leicestershire. Bassett, Colston Stilton is widely regarded as the best. Little has changed since they began making cheese in 1913, and they still use milk from four of the original local farms that founded the co-operative. The dairy’s reputation has grown over time, and it is now known for producing velvety and smooth Stilton with a full, well-balanced, sweet and’mineral-y’ flavour.