If one were a unique cheese in Britain, the sobriquet, Smelliest Cheese would be a name proudly worth bearing. That title indeed exists, and goes to Stinking Bishop, an award winning artisanal cheese. This is a Gloucestershire cheese, with a nutty flavor, but is best known for its strong odor, that being comparable to a reeking, sweaty locker room after a rough and tumble game of football.
Interestingly, Stinking Bishop’s odor is developed as it is soaked in perry, a delectable pear cider, while it is ripening. The pear, a local Gloucestershire variety, is the source of the cheese’s name.
History teaches, Frederick Bishop, a disreputable man who lived in the Gloucestershire area from 1847-1919, was a most unpleasant person, given to a lot of drinking, and very little bathing. His habits earned himself, and the pears growing in his orchards, the name Stinking Bishop.
It was in the late 20th century when Stinking Bishop pear became acquainted with a breed of cow that found itself on the endangered list. In 1972, dairy farmer Charles Martell bought some of the Old Gloucestershire cows, and hoped to produce a new cheese. After doing some research, Martell found his land had once been farmed by Cistercian monks, who used a 17th-century monastic technique of washing the rinds of cheese they made. Martell decided he would do the same, and chose pear cider as the liquid he would use for his rind washing.
While this stinky artisanal cheese is not usually found in local supermarkets, in 2005 it became a cheese star when in the film “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit”, Gromit used Stinking Bishop to revive his pal.
It took monks, drunks, cows, and pear trees to produce this special cheese, and when Stinking Bishop was officially named the Smelliest Cheese in Britain, it’s position as one of the country’s best known cheeses was gloriously secured.