Saturday, August 15, 2009

Why So Blue?

I've been thinking a lot about blue cheese lately. Lots of things to like about it! Within the category, there are so many different flavors, textures and even colors. According to Steven Jenkins' Cheese Primer, there are two French blue cheeses - Bleu de Gex and Bleu de Septmoncel, used to get their blue from a "fungal bloom" that lives on two kinds of wild Alpine violets. The cows would eat the violets and the fungus would show up in the milk. I just love that story. Happy alpine cows munching on violets up in the mountains...moo.

We tasted two completely different blues from Australia the other night. The Signature Blue from Tasmania was a big favorite at our table. It was incredibly smooth and strong, with lovely dark blue bits in it, that looked almost like peppercorns at first peek. I wasn't such a fan, encountering in it my first taste of "barnyard-y-ness." I had been wondering what that word meant in terms of flavor, and all I can say is that it has a weird earthy-ness that, while tasting like cheese, also was reminiscent of that stuff the gardener puts on the lawn...I was a bigger fan of the other blue cheese, the Roaring 40's from King Island, named for being made on the 40th parallel down under (cute!). It was a waxed rind blue, and a little firmer than the Signature Blue. It was soooo tasty - a little more mild and nutty, and also really pared nicely with the spicy Shiraz from "Hill of Content."

Nothing much more to say on that . Sadly, I didn't get any good photos of these two cheeses, since they were both devoured! Needless to say, I am only blue because I'm all out of blue!

Pick up some penicillium roqueforti tonight, and have sweet cheese dreams all weekend!

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