It sounds like a mistake. It sounds like some German teenager who works at the cheese stand misheard the manager when he said, “Es heißt Stilton. Kommt aus England,” and so turned and wrote “Stichelton.”

I’ve been on a hunt for English cheese in Berlin. Yeah, sure, you can buy Stilton and Cheddar at Galeria Kaufhof, but they only carry inoffensively low intensity versions. I convinced a colleague to mule me some proper cheese when he was visiting Berlin last week on business, but he forgot the cheese in his fridge in London. He suggested I might find what I sought at the Marheineke Markthalle on Bergmannstraße, so I went there yesterday.

Standing in front of Kaaswinkel (Dutch for simply “cheese shop”), I pulled out my iPhone and did a google search before buying the suspiciously Stilton-looking cheese labelled “Stichelton”. What I learned was kind of appalling.

More details are available to read on Wikipedia, but the gist is this: Stilton is a reserved name under EU food regulation, and thus the region and method of its preparation are codified. When that designation was declared in 1996, Stilton was officially described as a cheese that is produced with pasteurized milk. Although Stichelton is produced in the proper region, it uses unpasturized milk and traditionally produced rennet, so it cannot use the name Stilton.

In my opinion, that would be like telling an organist they cannot say they play organ unless they play an electric organ. Okay, fine, we want to trust a name when we read it on a label, but perhaps these regulations have gotten out of hand when a return to an artisan method makes a product more difficult to market to snobs such as myself. If Stilton had been offered beside the Stichelton, I likely would have bought the Stilton and never investigated further.

I have since learned that the people who run the Kaaswinkel, Knippenbergs,  also have a stand at the Saturday market at Kollwitzplatz (of course … when will accept that I’m a yuppie?) and their website has the slogan “Lust auf Käse”. I plan to become a regular.

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