New call for Stilton to be made in Peterborough village

A call for Stilton cheese to be able to be made in the village near Peterborough has been made after Britain left the EU.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 8:56 am
Shailesh Vara

Currently the world famous blue cheese can only be made in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire - but not in Stilton, located to the south of Peterborough.

It is thought the cheese was originally sold in the village - and one historian found evidence it was made there.

Now North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara has called for rules to be changed to allow Stilton to be made in Stilton. He said: “I have long believed that the historic village of Stilton should rightfully be allowed to manufacture the world-renowned cheese that bears its name, and I have campaigned for it to be able to do so. EU laws have frustrated the village with their bureaucracy but hopefully that will all change now. I very much hope that Stilton will soon be producing its most famous namesake, generating tourism and giving a huge boost to local jobs and industry – from farmers to cheesemakers to pub landlords.”

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Chairman of Stilton Parish Council, Mark Angus said: “It would be nice to think that such a World class cheese was first made in Stilton but the exact origin is really something for the historians to establish. Irrespective of origin, we are delighted that such a quality product can be associated with Stilton.”

However, the hopes may be dashed.

Matthew O’Callaghan, chairman of the UK Protected Food Names Association, said it is English law that means the cheese can only be produced in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, and not EU regulations.

He told the BBC: “It’s actually not EU law which protects Stilton, it’s English law, and it was the High Court of England in 1996 that decided that Stilton cheese originated in and around the Melton Mowbray area.

“It was the High Court’s decision that restricted production to Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

“It matters because Stilton has a history and heritage and the dairies that have been continuously making this cheese for 250 years... have the knowledge and the links to the landscape.”