So, here we are with another polarising category amongst consumers. This is the style which often brings with it the statement “I’m not eating anything mouldy” or “I’ll eat the white part but not the mould”. Let me be clear, Blue Mould = flavour and it’s all throughout the cheese, even the white parts! For cheese to be sweet, salty and tart, all at the same time, is a combination that will enliven your taste buds!
Many of our customers remember the super stinky blue cheese that their grandparents had in the back of the fridge. When we are young, it can be quite overwhelming to our senses, but as time passes and our palates mature, we start to understand the complexity of nuances that delight our palate.
There is an array of blue options for all people, whether it’s your first experience of blue cheese and you need a “soft” introduction with the likes of Adel Blue or even a blue brie, or whether you are a seasoned player and enjoy the intensity of a classic Stilton (which reminds me, I still have some in my fridge from last Christmas!). There is always a blue cheese to suit your palate. My suggestion is to experiment. Start with the more mild styles and slowly work your way through them. Some blues can be more sweet and others more savoury. They can be acidic and tart or they can be spicy and peppery, it all depends on the style of the cheesemaker and more importantly the age of the cheese.
Examples of cheese in this category are Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Stilton, Cashel blue, Bleu d”Auvergne, Adel Blue, and Roaring Forties to name a few.
There are two types of blue mould predominantly used to make blue cheese, Penicillium roqueforti and Penicillium glaucum. Both are added to the milk at the start of the cheesemaking process, which ensures the mould is evenly distributed through the curd of the final product. These spores only become active and grow when exposed to oxygen. When making blue cheese, the cheesemaker will encourage the curd to be light, airy and loose, to create pockets of air holes in the pate and fissures through the curd. This provides little caves within the cheese curd that the blue moulds can engulf
The cheese matures for several weeks before being spiked with stainless steel needles to allow the air to penetrate the cheese and allows the blue mould to start growing. To do this, the cheese is pierced with metal spikes which opens up channels from the outside of the cheese. You can often see these channels as lines of blue mould growth when you look at a cut piece of cheese. Blue mould cheese is one that ripens internally and externally at the same time. The mould can be blue, grey, green or any combination of. The mould spreads throughout the cheese and encourages the cheese to ripen evenly all the way through the product. It breaks down the curd, softening it and developing more complex flavours.
Storage and Buying
When buying, the paste next to the rind should not be browning. This can be a sign of over ripeness
It’s important to keep the cheese cool otherwise they will ooze moisture
Keep it wrapped in foil and this will allow the cheese to keep maturing
The rind should be damp but not sticky
Avoid cheese with strong yeasty smelly rinds
As a general rule, the more blue veins in the cheese, the stronger the flavour
Hope you have all learnt again with us this month…. if anything, you might just give blue a go next time you see it!
Until next month,