Skagit Food Co-op blog:

the Cheese Whisperer

Cheese Whisperer: Royal Blue Stilton

Not all blue cheese is created equal. Certain types identify with a specific place and method, others may be impostors. Royal Blue Stilton PDO by Long Clawson Creamery is a cheese with an official origin, and European cheese fans take it seriously. Long considered “the King of Cheeses”, Blue Stilton is one of a handful of British cheeses granted the status of a “protected designation origin” (PDO) by the European Commission.

Visit the Co-op’s Specialty Cheese Island to discover a range of elegant blue cheeses, including Royal Blue Stilton from Long Clawson Creamery. Crumbly and creamy, its pungent and bold flavor pairs nicely with fresh fruit like berries, figs, apples, pears, apricots and grapes. Serve Stilton as a rich, strong element on cheese plates, and equally tasty on salads, pasta and more.

Stilton: the Legacy of a Name

Only blue cheese made according to a strict code may be called Stilton. In Britain only six dairies are licensed to make Stilton, each is subject to regular audit. Classic Blue Stilton has telltale blue veins radiating from the center and a distinctive tangy flavor. Long Clawson is one of only six dairies in the world able to make Stilton due to its protected status.

Officially Blue Stilton must:

  • be made in Derbyshire, Leicestershire or Nottinghamshire counties from local, pasteurized milk
  • have delicate blue veins radiating from the center
  • be made only in a traditional cylindrical shape
  • have a salty, tangy taste profile typical of Stilton
  • be un-pressed and allowed to form its own crust or coat

Cobb Grilled Cheese Sandwich from

Use Stilton’s salty, earthy flavor to make salad dressing or veggie dip. Dress up potatoes, burgers, steak, nachos, or egg dishes with blue crumbles. Or feature it as a twist on traditional recipes, from Broccoli Blue Stilton Soup to Bangers and Stilton Mash. Add blue cheese to your favorite mac-n-cheese or make a layered Cobb Grilled Cheese with avocado, bacon and blue cheese.

Penicillin Allergy/Medication Note: The antibiotic penicillin is made from the fungus Penicillium chrysogenum. Stilton and most other blue cheeses use a related but different strain – Penicillium roqueforti to create blue veins. It’s possible to be allergic to the drug and be able to eat blue cheese, although there are people who are allergic to both. Consult your health care professional if you are taking penicillin, and have concerns about eating blue cheese.


Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites with Blue Cheese Dip

Recipe & photo from


  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup fresh goat cheese
  • 1 cup shredded chicken
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup buffalo sauce
  • 1/4 cup Panko crumbs
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For dipping sauce:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 cup Blue Stilton cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley


In a small bowl, combine Greek yogurt, blue cheese, garlic powder, dill, parsley, salt and pepper, to taste; set aside in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a mini muffin pan or coat with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, chicken, goat cheese, sharp cheddar, buffalo sauce, Panko, egg, flour, salt and pepper, to taste. Using a small scoop, add mixture evenly to the muffin tray, 1 1/2 tablespoons for each.

Place into oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden and set. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

Cranberry Blue Cheese Bites

Recipe & photo from / Makes 15 bites

These bite size morsels are irresistible party fare. Wow your guests with this easy appetizer.


  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/3 cup minced dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup finely-chopped pecans


In a food processor, blend the cream cheese, garlic and salt until smooth. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in blue cheese, orange zest and cranberries until evenly distributed. Line a plate or pan with parchment paper. Roll the cheese mixture into 1-inch balls and set on the parchment paper. Then, roll each ball in the chopped pecans and return to plate or pan. Place the cheese balls in the refrigerator to firm.


Stilton Stuffed Mushrooms

Recipe & photo from

Looking for a dish for a party or a crowd-pleasing appetizer? These stuffed mushrooms are packed with crunchy almonds and tangy blue cheese for an irresistible bite.


  • 1 pound white mushrooms, washed, drained and de-stemmed (save the stems)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces crumbled Blue Stilton cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 slice whole wheat bread


Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the mushroom caps on a clean kitchen towel, gill side down, to drain. Mince the mushroom stems. Pour the olive oil into a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, and add the minced mushroom stems and onion, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the pan is nearly dry, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

Spread almonds on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for about 8 minutes. Let cool, then chop coarsely. In a food processor, grind the bread to crumbs.

In a large bowl, combine the sautéed mushroom stems, chopped almonds, bread crumbs, blue cheese and salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Lightly oil a large sheet pan or a casserole that you can use for serving. Use your fingers to stuff each mushroom cap with a rounded mound of filling. Place on the prepared pan.

Bake the mushrooms for 25 minutes, until tops are browned. Serve warm.

By: Claire

ClaireClaire Harlock Garber loves to eat and drink and write about it. She has worked in the food industry for nearly a decade and was on staff at the Skagit Valley Co-op from 2010-2018, writing the regular columns Skagit Brew Corner, The Cheese Whisperer, The Bounty of Bulk, and What's Dippin' in the Well for the Co-op's blog, as well as articles for the Natural Enquirer newsletter.