Blue cheese is a generic term used to describe cheese produced with pasteurized cow’s, sheep’s, or goat’s milk and ripened with cultures of the mold penicillium. Blue cheese generally has a salty, sharp flavor and a pungent aroma.
• Source: Cow’s, sheep’s, and goat’s milk
• Origin: France and Italy
• Flavor: Traditionally sharp and salty with variations
• Rind: Edible
There are many varieties of blue cheese
Early versions were produced in France and Italy, and later versions evolved throughout Europe and North America.
Depending on the blue cheese, the texture and flavor vary from crumbly, weepy, salty, and sharp to softer, creamy, and mildly earthy. Some versions are enriched with cream and have a soft middle and a bloomy rind.
No matter the version and flavor profile, blue cheese is characterized by green, blue, gray, or black veins or spots of mold throughout the body.
Many varieties are available in supermarkets and specialty shops and range from inexpensive to pricey, depending on the source.
Types of Blue Cheese
Roquefort is considered one of the oldest blue cheeses, and it’s also considered a delicacy. Produced from sheep’s milk and aged in the limestone cliffs in the south of France, Roquefort is recognized for the blue veins stretching across its moist and crumbly body. It’s delightfully nuanced, both creamy and aromatic, complex and intense, with sharp and sweet flavor notes.
Gorgonzola is an Italian cheese produced from milk from cows that graze in the pastures of Lombardy and Piedmont. Young Gorgonzola is soft, buttery, and creamy with tiny hints of sharp blue. Aged versions are earthier, with a stronger flavor and more piquant bite.
Blue Stilton is a cow’s milk cheese produced in the English midlands. It’s a sturdy cylindrically formed cheese, beautifully marbled with streaks of blue. It has a slightly moist and crumbly texture with a rich, creamy, nutty, and salty flavor.
It has a creamy and smooth texture and a slightly sharp and salty flavor, which is similar to Roquefort but milder.
Double-cream blue cheese is a category unto itself, with a later arrival on the blue cheese timeline in the late 20th century. Distinguished by a creamy interior and sometimes a bloomy rind, it’s made from cow’s milk enriched with cream.