Tag Archives: blue cheese

Roquefort and Chocolate, the science of Blue Cheese

This is not a new flavor combination in fact it has been around for a long time in France. Dark Chocolate and Blue Cheese was made famous by Chef Michel Bras in a dessert called Coulant. We are going to make Roquefort Bites which are Roquefort cheese rolled into balls and then rolled in chocolate pieces. But first some history.

The Legend

A long time ago, every story starts out this way and because this is a French cheese you know it has to include a little romance.  So we begin, at the base of the Combalou Mountain, a shepherd spotted a beautiful young woman. He ran after her, leaving behind his flock and his meal, which included ewe’s milk curds, in a cave with some bread. The young woman didn’t want to be caught and so she ran and hid from the shepherd having him chase her for days. He looked and looked for her but could not find her. He slowly made his way back to his flock. He found his meal which was now less than appealing with green veins running through the curd.  But the shepherd was starving from days of searching for the love of his life so he tasted the cheese…..and fell in love with the magic of the cheese and now you know the legend of Roquefort. He forgot the beautiful young woman and started making Cheese.  What I am a Cheese Monger you didn’t really expect him to get the girl did you?

Now for the science of the Roquefort

The unique look of blue cheese is a result of a specific type of mold added during the cheese making process and an additional step in the ageing process called “needling”. The molds added to blue cheese are derived from the genus Penicillium. The most widely used molds in blue-veined cheeses are Penicillium Roqueforti and Penicillium Glaucum. These fungi are found commonly in nature and were “discovered” by cheesemakers ageing their cheeses in damp, cool caves.

Penicillium Roqueforti is named after a French town called Roquefort with caves full of naturally occurring Penicillium mold spores. It is cheesemakers in the town of Roquefort who created, and still creates, the famous blue cheese called, of course, Roquefort. Original recipes for Roquefort cheese required that cheesemakers leave loaves of rye bread in the caves near the town. The loaves became hosts to the ambient mold in the air. After a month or so, the mold inside the loaves of bread was dried, ground and combined with cheese curd. (Remember, the bread simply acted as a host for the ambient mold spores in the cave; Penicillium Roqueforti is not the same type of mold that grows on any old loaf of bread one might leave out.) To further encourage the growth of mold that flavored the cheese, the wheels of cheese were aged inside the caves. Today, most cheesemakers use commercially manufactured Penicillium Roqueforti cultures that are freeze-dried.

After the mold cultures are introduced to blue cheese, the “needling” begins. Wheels of cheese are pierced (either by hand or by a device that can poke many tiny holes at once) to create tiny openings. Air enters the wheel of cheese, feeding the mold, and blue/green veins form.

The flavor of Blue cheese is often an acquired taste. Some people initially find the pungent, almost peppery, flavor of varieties such as Roquefort, Stilton, Gorgonzola, Danish Blue and similar cheeses to be overly strong. However, when one becomes used to the flavor, it is quite delicious. The flavor of Blue cheese is dominated by a class of compounds known as n-methyl ketones (alkan-2-ones). Spores of the blue mold, Penicillium roqueforti, germinate within mechanical openings (needling) in the cheese mass to form the blue veins characteristic of these varieties’. roqueforti produces two potent extracellular lipases which dominate lipolysis in these cheeses which have the highest levels of free fatty acids of all cheese families. However, liberation of fatty acids from triacylglycerols is only the start of the process of producing the Blue cheese flavor. P. roqueforti converts fatty acids to n-methyl ketones by a four-step pathway corresponding to the early stages of beta-oxidation. Heptan-2-one and nonan-2-one are the predominant n-methyl ketones in Blue cheese and contribute greatly to its pungent flavor.

So now that you are full of knowledge here are a few pictures to get you back to that nice romantic place you were in when I told you the legend first. We know that if you are brave and try this combination with a good red wine you will understand why the shepherd gave up on the beautiful woman.

blue cheese and chocolate 1

blue cheese and chocolate 3

blue cheese and chocolate

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Danish Blue Cheese, figs and Serrano Ham!

blue cheese fig and serrano

Danish Blue (also known as Danablu) is a strong, blue veined cheese. This semi-soft creamery cheese is typically drum or block shaped and has a white to yellowish, slightly moist, edible rind. Made from cow’s milk, it has a fat content of 25–30% (50–60% in dry matter) and is aged for eight to twelve weeks.

Before ageing, copper wires or rods are used to pierce the formed  curds to distribute the mold (Penicillium roqueforti) evenly through the cheese. The holes can still be seen when the finished wheel is cut open.

Danish Blue was invented early in the 20th century by a Danish cheese maker named Marius Boel with the intention of emulating a Roquefort style cheese. Danish Blue has a milder flavor characterized by a sharp, salty taste.

Danish Blue is often served crumbled on salads or as a dessert cheese with fruit. In Denmark, it is often served on bread or biscuits.

Danish Blue and Esrom are the only two Danish cheeses that are PGI marked by the EU, meaning that they may only be produced in Denmark from Danish milk and at approved dairies that produce the cheeses according to the specifications laid down.

Wine to Pair with Danish Blue

Cabernet Sauvignon, often referred to as the “King of Red Wine Grapes,” originally from Bordeaux, with a substantial foothold in California’s wine races, has the privilege of being the world’s most sought after red wine. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes tend to favor warmer climates and are often an ideal wine for aging, with 5-10 years being optimal for the maturation process to peak. Because Cabs take a bit longer to reach maturation, allowing their flavors to mellow, they are ideal candidates for blending with other grapes, primarily Merlot. This blending softens the Cabernet, adding appealing fruit tones, without sacrificing its innate character.

Cheese Type: Blue

Milk Type: cow

Rennet: vegetarian-friendly

Age: 8+ weeks

Origin: Denmark

bleu-cheese-stuffed-figs-recipe

Baked figs with Danish blue cheese & Serrano Ham

Slice the figs in half, make a small indent with the back of a teaspoon then place a small amount of blue cheese (marble size) and top with a piece of prosciutto. Arrange on a baking tray and roast in a hot oven, about 425F for 8-10 minutes, but keep an eye on them! You want the Serrano to be browning and the cheese and fig to melt together nicely, you don’t want them to over bake so they end up a jammy mess on the bottom of the tray. Let them cool down slightly so your guests don’t burn their mouths and then watch them disappear in an instant.

 

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Filed under Artisan Cheese, Blue Cheese, Danish Blue Cheese, figs, Serrano Ham

Valdeon Blue Cheese

Valdeon

A blue cheese made in the mountain range, Picos de Europa by a company called La Caseria. It is a bold and spicy blue made from seasonally blended milk of goats and cows that graze the Picos de Europa Mountains in Castilla y Leon. It is aged in caves with at 85% humidity. It is less intense than its cousin Cabrales because the Valdeon caves are a little drier.

It has aromas of damp earth, tobacco and vanilla when the wheel is first opened.  It has dense green-grey veining and a balance of salt and spice and if your palate is good you may even pick up a hint of chocolate and coffee beans. It is creamy but also a little gritty and definitely not for wimps. Valdeon makes a pretty package with its powdery white rind peeking out behind a protective layer of sycamore.

It’s a hearty blue that is less sharp than others, is dense and sweet with a feel of velvet on the tongue that loves fresh fruit and strong red wine like Beaujolais and Muscats or a sweet sherry. It is delicious with smoked and cured meats and to die for melted on top of a hanger steak. You can tone down the pungency by drizzling it with honey or a little melted butter and for these reasons it is great as a desert cheese.

Cheese Type: Blue

Milk Type: cow and sheep

Rennet: animal

Age: 3 months

Origin: Spain

Region: Castilla y Leon

 

Lentil salad with Valdeon Blue Cheese

IngredientsVeldon blue with lentils

One bag of Lentils

½ Onion

3 cloves of garlic

1 Bay Leaf

Red and Green Bell pepper chopped

Olive Oil

Plum Tomatoes

Shallot

Sherry vinegar

Valdeon Cheese

Directions

In a large pot of water, bring lentils, onion (leave in large chunks), garlic, bay leaf, and a small amount of olive oil to a boil. Meanwhile, dice the peppers and tomatoes and chill.

Cook the lentils until tender.  Strain lentils, removing aromatics, but reserving cooking liquid.  Add the lentils to the pepper and tomato, continue to chill.  Reduce the reserved flavorful liquid by about ½.

Once the lentils are cool, dress with vinegar, shallots and oil.  Garnish with chives and cheese.

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Filed under Artisan Cheese, Blue Cheese, Cheese, Chef Lippe, Lentil Salad, Valdeon Azul Cheese

Italian Blue

blue cheese dressing

Blue cheese is a general classification of cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, or goat’s milk chees that have had cultures of the mold Penicillium added so that the final product is spotted or veined throughout with blue, blue-gray or blue-green mold, and carries a distinct smell, either from that or various specially cultivated bacteria. Some blue cheeses are injected with spores before the curds form and others have spores mixed in with the curds after they form. Blue cheeses are typically aged in a temperature-controlled environment such as a cave. Blue cheese can be eaten by itself or can be crumbled or melted into or over foods.

In the European Union, many blue cheeses such as Roquefort, Gorgonzola and Blue Stilton carry a protected designation of origin, meaning they can bear the name only if they have been made in a particular region in a certain country. Similarly, individual countries have protections of their own such as France’s Appellation d’Origine Controlee and Italy’s Denominazione di Origine Protetta. Blue cheeses with no protected origin name are designated simply “blue cheese”. Our blue cheese is this type of cheese.

The characteristic flavor of blue cheeses tends to be sharp and salty. The smell of this food is due both to the mold and to types of bacteria encouraged to grow on the cheese: for example, the bacterium Brevibacterium linens is responsible for the smell of many blue cheeses.

Blue cheese is believed to have been discovered by accident, when cheeses were stored in naturally temperature and moisture controlled caves, which happened to be favorable environments for many varieties of harmless mold. Roquefort is mentioned in texts as far back as 79 AD. Gorgonzola is one of the oldest known blue cheeses, having been created around 879 AD, though it is said that it did not actually contain blue veins until around the 11th century. Stilton is a relatively new addition becoming popular sometime in the early 18th century. Many varieties of blue cheese that originated subsequently such as Danablu and Cambozola were an attempt to fill the demand for Roquefort-style cheeses that were prohibitive due to either cost or politics.

Tasting Notes

Our Italian Blue cheese from Italy features rich blue veins that add a full-bodied, assertive flavor that is on the mild side (compared to Gorgonzola or Valdeon) but still piquant.  Pairs well with a late harvest Resling or try a full-bodied and fruity California Zinfandel if your blue is salty. Be sure to visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FloridaCheeseClub.

Blue Cheese Dressing

Ingredients

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
4 oz crumbled Blue cheese
1 tbsp shallots OR onion, finely diced
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Water – to thin out to desired consistency

Cooking Directions

Combine all ingredients in large bowl and blend to desired consistency.  Toss with your favorite salad greens.

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Day 5 – count them 13 different blue’s

Blue cheese big time

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September 20, 2013 · 11:07 pm

Day 4 of our Blue Cheese Weekend

By Chef Lippe

VALDEON AZUL-mailchimp

We have our line up! 13 different blue cheeses…. And this is just a drop in the bucket for what is available to choose from.

Our Line Up:

Blu Di Bufala – Italy –  water buffalo

Blue Cheese (regular) – Italy – cow

Gorgonzola –  Italy – cow  

Danish Blue – Denmark – cow  

Cabrales –  Spain – mixed cow, sheep and goat  

Verde Capra – Italy – goat

Roquefort – France – Ewe

La Peral – Spain –  cow and ewe

Mist’O Blue – Lancaster PA – raw goat

Monterey – Lancaster PA

Blue de Ewe – Lancaster PA

Maytag – Newton IO – cow

Valdeon Azul – Spain – cow and sheep

So come hungry there are a lot of cheese to taste!  Where to start?  Let’s see if we make the list into either strong or mild will that help? But no that will not work because I know that what I think is strong some of you will not think so.  So the only way is to try them and find the ones you like. Maybe cow vs. goat vs. sheep, soft and creamy vs dry and crumbly? Well which ever way you like it we should have it covered.

We will have green olives stuffed with both Valdeon and Gorgonzola to choose also.  So remember to wear your blue for the 10% discount,  come hungry to try out all the different ones and they REALLY do taste different. 

See you this weekend.

 

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Filed under Amish Cheese, Artisan Cheese, Blue Cheese, Chef Lippe

Day 3 of Blue Cheese weekend – Amish Blue Cheese

Day 3 Amish Blue Cheese

The Amish have been making cheese the same way for hundreds of years. The animals are hand milked twice a day, grass feed, are sustainably raised. The cheeses are farmer-certified rBGH free.  Because of the wonderful care given the these animals the cheese is rich in calcium, contains no preservatives or chemical additives.

We will have Amish blue cheese made from cows, sheep and goats. This cheese is great served with wine and crackers, as a dessert with fresh fruit or in dips and pasta.  Our friends at Farris Farms have some WONDERFUL  grass fed steaks that the blue cheese will taste great on. Make sure to wear BLUE for your discount this weekend.

 We have paired it with the following: Stout, Sherry, Scotch, Sauternes,  Porter, Port, and late harvest Riesling.

blue cheese and fresh figsSerrano-Wrapped Figs

Ingredients

18 fresh figs, cut in half

1 cup Amish Blue cheese, softened

18 slices Serrano ham, cut 1/16” thick by 2” wide

1-1/2 cup arugula leaves

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 500° F. Scoop a small amount out of the center of each fig half and fill each half equally with the Amish Blue cheese. Put the halves back together and wrap each fig with Serrano. Bake until the Serrano begins to crisp, about 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil and toss with the arugula. Place three warm figs on each plate. Place 1/4 cup of arugula in the center. Sprinkle with the almonds and serve

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Filed under Amish Cheese, Blue Cheese, Chef Lippe, goat milk, recipes