CHEESE: Tasting Blue Cheeses

Updated: Jan 14

Tasting blue cheeses is not as intimidating as it can seem for a novice if you balance the offerings with a variety of styles. These are some of our favorites to enjoy alone or as part of a cheese platter. —INGRAIN, Fall/Winter 2019


Rogue River Blue

STORY / Cara Condon


Keep in mind that pairings can help change your perception and experience with a cheese. A little honey can soften some of the more angular flavors of a piquant blue. A rustic, earthy blue paired with charcuterie is an excellent picnic option. Dark chocolate and a rich mild blue is the most decadent dessert and works perfectly with your post-meal amaro or espresso.

ROGUE RIVER BLUE

Rogue Creamery

Central Point, Oregon


This insane cheese takes the term handmade to a whole new level. Made in the fall, when the rainfall increases and the grasses and wildflowers are at their tastiest (at least from the cow’s perspective), Rogue River Blue is wrapped in hand-picked Syrah grape leaves that have been soaked in pear brandy. It’s a special cheese that deserves fanfare, so pop open that crazy barrel-aged stout you’ve been hiding in the basement and enjoy.

$28 for 8 ounces, Murray’s Cheese (available late fall through early winter)


DUNBARTON BLUE

Roelli Cheese Haus

Shullsburg, Wisconsin


Technically a cheddar that is inoculated with some blue mold, Dunbarton is not a full-on blue but has those telltale earthy and slightly fruity notes. Regardless, it’s certainly an excellent choice for someone just beginning to spread their blue cheese wings.

$9.50 for 8 ounces


Pairing With a firmer texture and rustic character, it pairs well with malt-forward beers (stouts, porters, brown ales).


Colston Bassett Stilton

COLSTON BASSETT STILTON

Colston Bassett Dairy/Neal’s Yard Dairy

Nottinghamshire, England


Stilton doesn’t have the sour tang typical of the flavors you would find in the dressing that accompanies your buffalo wings. Of the more popular blue cheeses, it’s outstandingly fudgy and rich, almost toasty, and that roasty quality means it pairs exceptionally well with darker beers.

$16 for 8 ounces, Artisanal Premium Cheese


Pairing Stilton and port is a very traditional pairing, but try barleywine.


SMOKED KENTUCKY BLEU

Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese

Austin, Kentucky


Smoked blue cheeses taste like fall to me. This version is briefly applewood smoked (20 minutes) to lend a soft sweetness and balanced with a salty and meaty quality and spreadable texture (thanks to added cream and a light pressing). It’s a blue that begs to be enjoyed with dark honey (think buckwheat) or play up its savory nature with salami.

$11.50 for 8 ounces


BLU DI BUFALA

Quattro Portoni

Bergamo, Italy


In terms of Italian cheeses, this is a relatively new cheese. Made by two guys, the brothers behind Quattro Portoni, Blu di Bufala is super rustic and has a nice semisoft texture. It’s rich as hell, ’cause it’s made with buffalo milk; buffalo are stingy with their milk production, but what they give can be described only as dairy gold.

$15 for 8 ounces, Murray’s Cheese


Recipe: Bacon Blue Cheese Buns


Aspiring cheesemonger? We’ve got a platter full of cheese stories. If you're really into blue cheese, check out Winter Blues.


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