Blue Ribbon Blue Cheeses

We know politics and religion don’t mix well in crowds and oddly enough so doesn’t blue cheese. I have learned it’s the one cheese that is the most polarizing. There are lovers and haters of it and changing their minds to cross over to the other side, is like, you guessed it, switching parties or religion which are things not too easy to do.

However, when you learn more about the other side, extreme views can soften so now I’m a blue cheese lover. I confess I converted from pure ignorance. Blue cheese I thought was that very strong, spicy type that burned a bit on your throat. Not that it was bad, but there were far too many other things to eat – cheese or non-cheese – to ever come back to blue cheese.

But, once I learned that all blue cheese is actually white – I turned the corner. What makes a cheese blue is largely mechanical as a device with long pin-needles is pushed into a wheel of cheese that has the penicillium roqueforti culture in it. The needle-holes allow air inside the wheel of cheese to promote the growth of normal mold. Had they not done this procedure the cheese would remain white – but it still would be the same cheese that is now blue by classification.

When I got involved in Artisanal, I learned this – blue cheese can vary so much that almost no one should say they dislike blue cheese. It can be made from cow, goat, or sheep’s milk or even a mix of a couple of milks. It can have a lot of blue veins in it like Cabrales from Spain, or not much at all. It can be aged in wax or leaves like Valdeon to further soften its bite. It can be rich and creamy, or it can be hard and crumbling.

My favorite blue these days is Gorgonzola Cremificato one of the finest of the Italian blue dolce’s (means sweet in Italian.) Here she is...

Rich, creamy, and milky as it's made from cow’s milk and as you can see not as blue. It’s soft and super flavorful and great with fruit, like a dollop on a fresh fig of the quality my barber Joe from Sicily grows in his garden on Long Island, or with nuts. Swiping a heaping knife full across a piece of crusty bread will make you wonder why you don’t do it at least once a day. And, with all its moisture and creaminess it melts immediately even without direct heat – just put some on a hot steak or burger or vegetables off the grill and watch it ooze and make your meal so special.

I love Artisanal Cheese and enjoy sharing it even more – you can Taste the Difference!


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