Page last updated at 11:07 GMT, Wednesday, 28 January 2009

New evidence over Stilton origin

Stilton recipe
Stilton village gave the cheese its name but it was not made there

An historian in Cambridgeshire has challenged the East Midlands' exclusive right to produce Stilton cheese after discovering a 17th Century recipe.

Richard Landy was researching the Bell Inn in the village of Stilton, when he found a recipe for Stilton cheese.

Entitled "Recipe for Stilton", Mr Landy said it confirmed the cheese originated in Cambridgeshire.

But Stilton expert Trevor Hickman said the recipe was for a pressed cheese whereas Stilton is not made in a press.

Stilton cheese is protected by EU legislation, with only seven dairies in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire licensed to make the product.

It is generally thought the village gave Stilton its name but only because it was sold, rather than made, there.

Mr Landy believes his discovery puts its history in a new light.

"This evidence... specifically states it was made in the village and also recites the recipe for the cheese," he said.

But Mr Hickman rejected its significance.

He said: "This is a recipe that has survived that the landlord of the Bell Inn at Stilton held and it was how you made a cheese in Stilton."

"But this was for a pressed cheese whereas Stilton is not a pressed cheese".

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