Village battles for Stilton name

Men's Cheese Rolling race, Stilton, 2007Defra’s public consultation plan will be announced at Stilton’s cheese rolling race

The Cambridgeshire village of Stilton hopes to win public support for its battle to be recognised as the original home of the famous blue-veined cheese.

A public consultation will be launched by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in May.

Under EU law Stilton can only be made by a few dairies in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire, where it is believed to have originated.

But Stilton resident and historian Richard Landy disputes this claim.

He has documents from the 18th Century which he believes could prove the cheese originated in the Cambridgeshire village.

A Defra spokesman confirmed a consultation on whether Stilton should be recognised as the original home of the cheese will start in May.

‘Nation will decide’

A blue-veined cheese is now being produced in the kitchens of the Bell Inn, Stilton.

In 1996, the Stilton Cheese Makers’ Association achieved Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status for blue Stilton from the European Commission.

The PDO effectively gives Stilton cheese protection from imitation across the whole of the EU.

The public will have its say on the Cambridgeshire village’s claim to the name for its cheese from May.

If the consultation is favourable, the decision to amend the Stilton PDO will go before the European Commission.

Mr Landy said: “The nation will be able to decide if we should be allowed to make Stilton cheese in Stilton.”

North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara, who represents Stilton, will announce the public consultation plan at the village’s annual Stilton Cheese Rolling Championship on 6 May.

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