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I remember when I was first introduced to Stinking Bishop cheese. It was when I was living in England in the 1990's. My husband's grandmother bought some of this cheese, dubbed the "smelliest cheese in the UK," and proudly offered some to me.
The smell was quite pungent, but not off putting by any means! And the taste? The taste was smooth, creamy, and unforgettable!
I have tried for years to get my hands on Stinking Bishop once I moved back to the United States. And my efforts were recently rewarded with a ½ pound block of this smelly cheese, delivered straight to my door!
So, let me tell you a little about this amazing Stinking Bishop cheese, starting with what it is.[feast_advanced_jump_to]
What Is Stinking Bishop Cheese?
Stinking Bishop cheese is a semi soft cheese produced by Charles Martell & Son located in Dymock, Gloucestershire, England.
This delicious cheese is made from full pasteurized cows' milk and vegetarian rennet. It has a moldy exterior, a squidgy texture, and the wonderful stinky odor, for which this cheese is known for and loved!
The rind of the cheese is washed in perry, which is a pear cider. This gives the cheese its unique aroma. This cheese is known as a washed-rind cheese.
The recipe for Stinking Bishop is top secret, and Charles Martell & Son are the only producers of this cheese in the world.
Watch this YouTube video called "Stinking Bishop Is The Smelliest Cheese In The UK - Regional Eats" for a great report on this cheese!
How Did Stinking Bishop Cheese Get Its Name?
This information about how this cheese got its name is sourced from Gastro Obscura - Stinking Bishop.
The word "Stinking" in this cheese's name is apt, as it is particularly stinky. However, Stinking Bishop actually gets its name from the variety of pear called Stinking Bishop, which was named after a disorderly farmer named Frederick Bishop.
It seems Mr. Bishop (who lived in the 1800's to early 1900's) was an ornery and quarrelsome individual, who was quite the drinker, with poor hygiene habits. So this earned him, and his pears, the nickname "Stinking Bishop."
How does this relate to Stinking Bishop cheese, which was introduced in 1994? Now the story gets really interesting!
In the 1970's British dairy farmer Charles Martell bought some cows that were an endangered breed called Old Gloucester cows. He used them to produce cow's milk for cheese.
Mr. Martell later discovered that his land had previously been farmed by Cistercian monks, who would wash their cheese rinds. So, he decided to wash his cheese rinds as well, with perry cider, made from the Stinking Bishop pears!
How To Serve Stinking Bishop Cheese
Once you've got your hands on this incredible cheese, why not indulge in a true epicurean experience featuring Stinking Bishop?
The pairing suggestions are taken from esteemed food writer Mimi Sheraton's book, 1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die.
Ms. Sheraton recommended enjoying this cheese with a ripe and tangy pear, water crackers, cold radishes and celery, and a sparkling hard cider.
So I gathered a Bartlett pear, some red radishes and crisp celery, and the aforementioned crackers to pair with my cheese.
Rather than the hard cider, I went with Ace Perry Cider, which is available in the United States. I'm not a cider drinker, but I found this cider to be light, mildly sweet, and truly refreshing. It's a great pairing for your perry washed-rind cheese.
Now, it's best to fully take in the wonderful stinky smell of this cheese! You'll notice it most prominently when you take it out of the package. Quite honestly after it sits out for awhile you won't notice the smell as much. So, really savor the smell right when you open the waxed paper packaging.
I recommend letting the cheese sit out for about an hour, or until it reaches room temperature. Then take your cheese knife and spread your glorious Stinking Bishop onto some crackers and taste a bite of cheese heaven! Follow this up with a sip of your drink of choice.
Be sure to eat the rind, as that is where the most intense flavor is.
Take your time, and enjoy this most delicious, one of a kind cheese!
Where Can I Get Stinking Bishop Cheese?
If you're in England you have more of a chance at obtaining Stinking Bishop! Stop into to Charles Martell & Son in Gloucester for a wheel of this delectable cheese!
You can also find it at CheeseWorks in Cheltenham, England in the beautiful Cotswolds.
In the United States try these online sources for purchasing Stinking Bishop:
- St. Kilian's Cheese Shop (Denver, CO) - I ordered my cheese from this shop.
- St. James Cheese Company (New Orleans, LA)
Stinking Bishop is a small batch hand made artisanal cheese, so it's availability is limited.
Please note Stinking Bishop also tends to sell out, so hopefully it will be available when you are ready to buy! If it's not, keep trying to find it it's totally worth it!
Awards Awarded To Stinking Bishop
Other than being named the smelliest cheese in Britain, Stinking Bishop has also won the following awards:
- British Cheese Awards 2010 - awarded the Gold Medal
- British Cheese Awards 2022 - awarded Bronze in the Rind washed and semi soft class
Stinking Bishop In Wallace and Gromit
Stinking Bishop makes an appearance in the 2005 film "Wallace & Gromit, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit." In the film, Gromit uses the cheese to revive Wallace.
It's appearance and mention in the film brought so much attention to Stinking Bishop, that orders rose by 500%!
You can see the scene with the Stinking Bishop in this YouTube video.
The only producer of Stinking Bishop cheese is Charles Martell & Son, located in Dymock, Gloucestershire, England.
Stinking Bishop has a very strong and pungent smell, rather like old smelly socks! But don't let that put you off, the smell is a large part of this unique cheese's charm!
1,000 Foods To Eat Project
In conclusion, Stinking Bishop is listed in the book 1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die, by Mimi Sheraton. I am working my way through the foods listed in this book. This is called my 1,000 Foods to Eat Project. Stinking Bishop is food #72 in my project! Please visit the 1,000 Foods To Eat Project page to see some other MUST TRY foods of the world that you may love to try!
Some Other Great Foods You May Enjoy!
Here are some other great foods that you may enjoy:
Join Me On A Fun Food Journey!
Finally, I invite you to come along on this food journey with me! Please sign up to get the latest recipes and inspiration for you to expand your food comfort zone! It's an incredible journey, please join me by signing up here.