Blue cheese is one of the most polarizing and yet misunderstood cheeses in any cheese shop. While some cheese lovers are obsessed with Gorgonzola or Valdeon, others are self-proclaimed blue cheese haters and stay far away from that section of the case. We believe that the best way to appreciate a cheese is to understand it and taste it at its best - keep reading to learn more about the origins of blue cheese, and how serving and pairing it properly might help make a beautiful blue wedge a bit more approachable!
Like many other celebrated cheeses, the invention of blue cheese is purportedly an accident. Different cheeses have different origin stories - for example, Gorgonzola is said to be the result of a cheesemaker being distracted by his lover and trying to cover up the previous night's mistake with morning milk. But contrary to popular belief, the blue mold is not itself injected into a wheel of cheese! The culture, called penicillium Roquefort (yes, like the classic French Roquefort!) is added to liquid milk at the beginning of cheesemaking. After the cheese is formed and ages for a period of time, the wheels are pierced to introduce oxygen into the wheel and activate the blue mold. With the introduction of oxygen, the blue veining begins to grow in the space where the needle pierced the wheel, and in between the curds of the cheese.
Proper serving and storage techniques can make all the difference in your journey to being a blue cheese lover. You should remove blue cheese from your refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving - letting your cheese come to room temperature will allow you to taste all the nuances of flavor and texture that the cheese has to offer. It's important to experience the cheese as the cheesemaker intended!
Serve your wedge of blue with the right tool - our Mini Blue Cheese Knife is perfect for making neat slices, and makes a great gift.
If the intense flavor is still a bit too much for you, try these pairings to help acclimate your palate to blue cheese:
Honey: The sweetness of the honey will balance the spiciness of the blue. Try more floral honeys like acacia or orange blossom honey.
Fruit: Fresh or dried fruit is a classic pairing for blue cheese - try dried apricot or fresh pears to add brightness and lift the flavor on your palate.
Jam: Combining the previous two suggestions (fruit and sweetness) can't hurt! We recommend fig jam or sour cherry jam.
Chocolate: This is a unique pairing that is also a monger favorite. Stick with milk chocolate though, as dark chocolate can sometimes be overly bitter.
Dessert Wine or Cider: The perfect end to a good meal. Popular pairings include Port and Stilton, Sauternes & Roquefort, and Vin Santo & Gorgonzola, but any sweet wine or ice cider will provide a balancing sweetness to your blue cheese that will have you going back for bite after bite.
After you're done enjoying your newfound favorite blue, it's important to store it properly in your fridge. Using a sturdier material like Formaticum Reusable Cheese Storage Bags & Sheets will prevent any leaking and keep your cheese's flavor at its peak for longer than other storage methods like plastic wrap or parchment paper.
Post your favorite blue cheese pairings and tag us @formaticum and we'll repost our favorites!