Cheese Review- Stinking Bishop

Misc. musings • 22 Feb 2008

As everyone knows, I really love myself a hunk of fragrant, astringent, pungent, stinky cheese. With that in mind, I debut my cheese of the month, The Stinking Bishop. With a moniker that apropos, it better get the job done. I want my cheese to fill the air of my cavernous kitchen, waft into the dining room, take on a life of its own. I want my cheese to stand tall and kick anyone with a nose straight in the butt. In short, I want a cheese with legs: long, sexy legs that travel up to its nose and down to its odorous feet.

I digress. The Stinking Bishop is a yellowish cheese with a mushroomy-orange or sometimes dusty-gray rind. Its middle is soft and silken. It has been produced since 1972 by Charles Martell and Son at Laurel Farm in England. What precocious scientists! Do these English folks know how to make a knock-your-socks off cheese, along the lines of what the French have been concocting for centuries! Like many of my other favorite stinkers, the eponymous TSB is a washed rind cheese, and this guy is washed in Perry, a pear cider made from the local Bishop Pear.

The cheese has a grab-you-by-the-balls odor. The bark is more than the bite, however, as the flavor tends to be meaty and hearty, slightly sweet, slightly briny, but more subdued than its smell. Monks are often at the forefront of the stinky, washed rind cheese movement and TSB is no different. The Bishop is said to be derived from a cheese once produced by Cistercian monks. Hooray for artisan monks!

The cheese is somewhat rare and I was lucky to find it at Adams Fairacre Farms. Charles is only able to make a limited amount of cheese using milk from its farm’s cows. They supplement their milk with that from a local farm and therefore, the cheese is pasteurized.

This is good stuff, kids. If you can handle the smell, it’s worth a try. You might want to sit downwind from your bedroom while you eat it, however!

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