Blue cheese is a unique and flavorful type of cheese that has been enjoyed for centuries. Its bold taste and distinctive appearance make it a favorite among cheese lovers. Here are 16 interesting facts about blue cheese that will enhance your knowledge and appreciation for this culinary delight.
- Ancient Origins: Blue cheese is believed to have originated in France around the 7th century.
- Mold Cultures: The characteristic blue veins in blue cheese come from mold cultures, specifically Penicillium.
- Variety of Flavors: Blue cheeses can range from very mild to very strong and from slightly sweet to salty or sharp.
- Color and Texture: They can vary in color from pale to dark and in consistency from liquid or very soft to firm or hard.
- Distinctive Smell: Blue cheese has a distinctive smell, which can come from mold or various specially cultivated bacteria.
- Trademarked Varieties: Some well-known varieties include English Stilton, French Roquefort, and Italian Gorgonzola, which are trademarked.
- Milk Sources: Blue cheese can be made from cow’s, sheep’s, or goat’s milk.
- Protected Names: Certain types of blue cheese, like Roquefort, Stilton, and Gorgonzola, have protected names and can only be made in specific regions.
- Nutritional Content: 100 grams of generic blue cheese contains about 353 calories and 28.74 grams of fat.
- Methyl Ketones: The flavor and aroma of blue cheese come from methyl ketones, which are a metabolic product of Penicillium roqueforti and are not found in other types of cheese.
- Ripening Process: Blue cheese is ripened in caves or aging rooms where the temperature and humidity are carefully controlled.
- Penicillium Spores: Spores of species Penicillium roqueforti are mixed with the milk or the curd to create the mold.
- Aging Time: The mold in blue cheese develops during a ripening period that can last three to six months.
- Cave Ripening: Some varieties, like Roquefort and Gorgonzola, are ripened in caves, which gives them a distinctive character.
- Texture: Blue cheese can be soft and creamy or crumbly in texture.
- Flavor Balance: While blue cheese is often salty, it should not be overly so or bitter.
Whether you enjoy it as part of a cheese platter, crumbled over a salad, or melted into a sauce, blue cheese adds a depth of flavor that is truly unparalleled. Next time you savor a piece of blue cheese, remember these fascinating facts and enjoy each bite with a deeper understanding of its history and characteristics.