Uncovering the Mystery Behind England’s Most Expensive Cheese – Prestige Online
Cheese is not cheap. And premium cheeses – those revered by foodies and stored in vaulted cellars – can fetch prices that match those of fine wines and whiskeys. So what is the most expensive cheese in the world? The answer might surprise you.
(Hero image: a slice of plain white Stilton from Long Clawson Dairy)
Cheese production predates recorded history. Over the centuries, it has become a true art form and cheese makers continue to surpass themselves when it comes to creating the best cheeses in the world. Unsurprisingly, the price tags associated with these premium products also tend to skyrocket.
It is estimated that the first production of cheese began around 8-10,000 years ago. References to the art of cheese-making have been found in ancient Greek mythology, and evidence of this culinary art has been found in Egyptian tomb murals dating back over 4,000 years. By the time of the Roman Empire, cheese making had spread throughout Europe and the Middle East.
Over the years, this culinary craft has been refined and improved, employing a myriad of techniques to create the limitless variations of this dairy delight we enjoy today. Interestingly, many of the world’s most popular cheeses – Cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan and Gouda, for example – are relatively new in the great history of cheese, with histories dating back only around 500 years.
Even today, the art of cheese-making continues to be refined, leading connoisseurs to regularly ask themselves the question: “What is the best cheese in the world?” This is, of course, a subjective question, with no single correct answer. However, one could rephrase the question and simply ask, “What is the most expensive cheese in the world?” In place.
The answer to that question is Pule, a crumbly white cheese that costs US$600 a pound. However, this has more to do with its rarity, and not so much with its flavor, as the high cost is attributed to the fact that it is made from the milk of a Balkan donkey, native only to Serbia and Montenegro – and 25 liters of milk are needed to produce a single kg of Pule.
White Stilton Gold, available in England from the venerable Long Clawson Dairy in Leicestershire, is only slightly cheaper. Produced exclusively for the holidays, this soft white cheese is made from real gold and sells for around US$400 per pound.
The history of the Long Clawson Dairy dates back to 1911, but it wasn’t until 1996 that Stilton obtained European Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status. This means that a cheese can only “legally” be called Stilton if it is made in one of three English counties: Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire or Leicestershire. And producers must follow traditional recipes that have been around for generations. Of course, Long Clawson was already well known for his blue Stiltons by then. Indeed, in 1986, to celebrate their 75th anniversary, they entered The Guinness Book of World Records as producers of the world’s largest Stilton, which weighed 29 kilograms (64 pounds) and measured one meter in diameter.
Today the dairy produces a number of delicious 100% English cheeses and cheese products, such as Blue Shropshire, Rutland Red and a range of sweet and savory cheese blends, all made using century-old craftsmanship and innovative techniques. But if you want some of that Christmas-exclusive Stilton white gold, then you’re probably better off ordering now.