The legend of Roquefort cheese
By Chef Lippe
The French claim it is one of the original blues that has sometimes been dubbed “the King of cheeses”. It is said that it was discovered when an early French shepherd forgot his cream-cheese sandwich in the depths of a damp cave, only to return days later and find it transformed into something that looked gross but proved to be seductively delicious.
Like all blue cheeses, Roquefort is intentionally injected with spores of a beneficial mold penicillium roqueforti, and yes, it is related to penicillin which grows in the cheese to form a webby network of blue veins that confer its unique color, aroma and flavor.
Roquefort is made from sheep’s milk. Like Champagne for sparkling wine, the name can only be used legally for cheese made by the traditional method in a specific place the caves of Mont Combalou near the village of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon in the Midi Pyrenees region of Southern France, about midway between Marseilles and Bordeaux.
BLUE CHEESE WITH PORT:
Some people like the marriage between Roquefort and a modest Port (Croft 1997 Late Bottled Vintage). The Roquefort’s creaminess seems to soften the fortified wine’s harsher edges and spread its flavors across the palate.
But most people like Roquefort with a dry wine.
BLUE CHEESE AND DRY WINES:
Roquefort with robust dry reds, from Bordeaux through the Rhone to Amarone, but if you’re planning a party, you should note that many people find that the blue-cheese and red-wine combination imparts a metallic taste to the wine that most people find unpleasant. Dry, aromatic whites such as Sauvignon Blanc generally go well, and so do lighter reds from Beaujolais to a fruity style, non-tannic Pinot Noir.
Our favorite is a Sauvignon Blanc called Kollwentz Sauvignon Blanc Steinmühle 2010 is reminiscent of the style of Pascal and Francois Cotat. It is tropical on the nose with aromas of pineapple, peach, lime, and apple blossom. In the mouth there is beautiful weight and it is at once palate coating, creamy, and reclusive. Flavors turn more to classic Sauvignon Blanc with chalk, salinity, and quartz minerality joining in on the finish