Stinking Bishop cheese
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Source of milk||Cow|
|Texture||Smooth, creamy, semi-soft|
|Aging time||c. 4 months|
Stinking Bishop is a washed-rind cheese produced since 1972 by Charles Martell and Son at Laurel Farm, Dymock, Gloucestershire, in the south west of England. It is made from the milk of Gloucester cattle, which in 1972 consisted of only 68 Gloucester breed heifers. The breed has been revived to make production of the cheese possible, though it is often combined and pasteurised with the milk of Friesian cattle from a nearby county. The fat content is 48%.
The colour ranges from white/yellow to beige, with an orange to grey rind. It is moulded into wheels 2 kg (4.4 lb) in weight, 20 cm (8 inch) in diameter, and 4 cm (1.5 inch) deep. Only about 20 tonnes are produced each year. The distinctive odour comes from the process with which the cheese is washed during its ripening; it is immersed in perry made from the local Stinking Bishop pear (from which the cheese gets its name) every four weeks while it matures. The process is said to have links with that used by local Cistercian monks who have long been associated with the production of washed rind cheeses.
To increase the moisture content and to encourage bacterial activity, salt is not added until the cheese is removed from its mould. Air bubbles form in the mould, giving the finished cheese an Emmental-like appearance when sliced.
In popular culture
The cheese was brought to international attention in the 2005 animated film Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, in which it was used to revive Wallace from the dead. Demand for the cheese subsequently rose by 500%, forcing the cheesemaker to hire more people and increase production.
- "A history of the Stinking Bishop". London: The Independent. September 14, 2005. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
- "BBC Gloucestershire report, 12 Sept 2005". BBC. September 12, 2005. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
- "Farmer's vow as film boosts demand". The Scotsman.
- "article about Stinking Bishop and Wallace and Gromit film". The Guardian.
- Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern - Season 1, Episode 6: United Kingdom - TV.com Note: the show’s recap mentions other delicacies tasted by Zimmern, but not the cheese; the relevant part is where Zimmern visits the store and is guided by marketing manager Andre Dange.