Mmm, there's nothing like a nice hunk of freshly cut Roquefort blue cheese... This Roquefort is made by Gabriel Coulet - the third largest Roquefort producer in France (and in the world!). We cut this cheese for our case yesterday and when I was able to try it I was reminded of why this is probably the world's most renowned cheese. The first flavor you get is a touch of salt followed by a beautiful creaminess, then slowly the bite of the mold makes its presence know. You get a little bit of a crunchy consistency where the mold veins are, and this contrasts nicely with the smooth, luscious paste. Roquefort is made with 100% raw sheep's milk and by using this milk you get a little bit of creamy nuttiness that is not present in cow's milk cheeses. As for pairings, try it with either a nice Sauternes or a Barleywine. The sweetness of these beverages pairs beautifully with the salty, tangy flavor of the Roquefort.
Roquefort is a very special cheese in that it was the first cheese to receive AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) in 1925. This means that the name "Roquefort" is protected and in order for a cheese to be called Roquefort in needs to follow very specific guidelines. The milk must be raw and must be the milk of the Lacaune ewes that are raised within a specific area in France. The cheeses must be aged in the caves of Combalou for a minimum of three months and the mold used must be produced in the caves themselves. The way that the cheesemakers get the mold for Roquefort is that they leave bread in the caves and allow them to get moldy. The mold formed is the Penicillium roqueforti which is naturally occurring in the air in the caves. Once the bread gets moldy, they scrape the mold off of the bread and add it to the milk they will use to make this cheese! By using bread to produce the mold it is recommended that those who are gluten intolerant avoid this cheese.
This is a staple for any cheese plate that you may be making for the upcoming holidays. I welcome you all to come by my cheese counter and try a taste! That's all I have for today, keep an eye out for more posts in the next day or so. Until then, eat, drink, and be happy!