Here we are:
Stinking Bishop is an award-winning artisanal cheese. Among these awards there is “smelliest cheese in Britain.” Even if it has a subtle, nutty flavor, the Gloucestershire specialty is most famous for its strong aroma, which has been described as putrid and evocative of a rugby team’s locker room.
It is a full fat pasteurised cows’ milk soft cheese made with vegetarian rennet. The rind is washed in perry, a type of local pear cider, which gives it its characteristic flavour, brown/pink rind and pungent smell.
The Stinking Bishop pear was named after a farmer who lived in the area from 1847 to 1919. Frederick Bishop was, by all accounts, a terrible man who liked drinking as much as he disliked bathing. The drunk farmer’s foul reputation earned him, as well as the pears on his property, the nickname Stinking Bishop. He once took a cow to market and determined to drink the proceeds before he went home. He did, and then when the kettle was too slow to boil he shot it!
On the late 20th century the pear crossed its paths with an endangered breed of cow: in 1972, dairy farmer Charles Martell bought some of the last remaining Old Gloucester cows, and put them to work producing milk for cheese. After discovering that his land had once been farmed by Cistercian monks, Martell decided to use the 17th-century monastic technique of washing his cheese rinds. His liquid of choice was, of course, pear cider.
It is a monastic type of cheese which owes its origin to the Cistercian order of monks who once farmed the pastures of Hunts Court Farm. As with many monastic cheeses, this variety is matured in humid cave-like conditions. The rind is washed in perry because the 100 or so varieties of perry pear known nationally are peculiar to this part of Gloucestershire and its border areas.
So via monks, drunks, cows, and pear trees, Stinking Bishop cheese was born.
It has always remained an artisanal cheese that’s not available in every average supermarket.
Its reputation sky-rocketed thanks to the 2005 stop-motion film Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. In the movie, Gromit uses the pungent cheese to revive his friend.
A few years later, Stinking Bishop was officially named the smelliest cheese in Britain, further cementing its position as one of the most well-known British cheeses, no small feat for a craft cheese that the majority of Brits have never tried.