Upgrade Your Cheese Game with the Blues

There is something so romantic about cheese, and not just the love that goes behind into it, cheese is so… decadent, sensual even. Casanova (the 18th century lover and author, not the movie hunk) had a particular soft spot for blues, and considered them aphrodisiacal. Blue cheese truly is a unique category in food, with veins of blue-green mould shooting through the curds like streaks of lightening, contrasting against the creamy and salty paste. Natural works of art!

Blackberry Blue_07These striking moulds are thanks mainly to Penicillium Roqueforti and, occasionally, Penicillium Glaucom. As a tale passed down through generations goes, the discovery of using these moulds in cheese making came about from a young man tossing aside his sandwich of cheese on rye for a beautiful maiden. When he returned for his lunch sometime later, he discovered it mouldy, yet surprisingly delicious. Then came Roquefort, aged in damp, mouldy caves, traditionally with loaves of rye bread left to deteriorate around the caverns to share their spores with the cheese. A word for the gluten-free folks: any amount of gluten proteins that make it into the cheese are exceedingly small, you needn’t worry.

In almost all blues, the moulds are introduced either to the milk or to the fresh curds, remaining dormant until the cheese has the proper acidity to spark growth. Most often it is given a boost by piercing the cheese with metal skewers to allow oxygen into the crevices. As the cheese ages, the moulds help to break down the proteins faster, resulting in soft pockets along the veining that somehow manage to be sweet, spicy, and savoury all at the same time.

As amazing as blues taste, there is still a large portion of the population who can’t see the cheese through the mould, so to speak. An aversion that makes complete sense when you think about it, our brains are wired to think that mould equals rot, and therefore danger in our world of pristine, controlled food.

There is a huge array of blues out there to satisfy every palette, even if you are not keen on them (yet!). The following should be available at your local cheesemonger:


Cambozola: This silky Brie is speckled with pockets of salty blue. It’s impossible not to love!

Blue Juliette: A goat’s milk Camembert from Salt Spring Island Cheese- works. It has bluing only on the rind of the cheese, allowing the delicate interior to play in perfect balance with the blue rind.


Blue Lovers

Bleu Claire: Produced by Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, this firm blue has a nice balance of fruity tang with subtle piquancy.
Stilton: It is a classic for a reason! From Stilton, England, it’s on the drier side with a fudgy texture and sharp fruit notes.


Die-hard Fans

Valdeon: Unofficially recognized as Spain’s best blue, it is firm but creamy, presenting musty, earthy notes with a serious bite on the back of the throat.

What to Drink with Blue Cheeses

The only thing that can make a great blue better is a fine drink to match. When pairing salty foods, it is always a good idea to choose a sweet drink, and there is something so perfect about the silky, syrupy texture of aged tawny port or ice wine with the creaminess of blue. A sweet white would also be a great choice. As far as red wine is concerned, they are not the best of friends.

If beer is more your fancy, go for brews that are heavier on the malt with sweet, toasty notes. Barley wines are a fantastic choice as well, melding with the sweet tang of the cheese.

Finally, for those who are really into getting a solid pairing, find wines that have been affected by botrytis, also known as noble rot. The subtle earthiness and concentrated sweet/sour notes of the wine play in beautiful harmony with the different layers in blue cheese.

Some of our favourite BC beverages to make your blues sing:

Phillips Brewery: Barley Wine *Limited releases, but worth searching out.

Quail’s Gate Winery: Optima Botrytis Affected

Beaufort Winery: Black – Solera


— By Andrew Moyer and Laura Peterson

Spoiled Milk is a continuing, monthly column exploring the world of cheese. It is written in collaboration with Ottavio – Italian Bakery & Delicatessen


Andrew and Laura Bio Pic

Written By:

We get many people writing guest articles for us, as well as past contributors. This is the Guest ...

Comments are closed.