Blue cheese is a semi-soft cheese made from cow’s, goat’s, or sheep’s milk cultured with Penicillium roqueforti bacteria. It has a pungent, slightly medicinal smell and tastes salty, piquant, and herbaceous, with a distinct metallic aftertaste. The rind is edible edible. It can be moist and gooey or dry and crumbly depending on the recipe, but it is almost always moldy.
There’s more than one variety of blue cheese, the most popular of which are Bavaria Blu (German), Danblu (Danish), Gorgonzola (Italian), Roquefort (French), and Stilton (British). Although the recipes and techniques for the various types of blue cheese have similarities, each type of blue cheese is unique and can easily be distinguished from its counterparts.
Blue Cheese Nutrition Facts
Amount Per 3.5 oz / 100 g
|Total Fat||28.7 grams|
|Vitamin C||0 milligrams|
|Vitamin D||0.5 micrograms|
According to FoodData Central, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s database of nutritional facts for food, two to three slices (100 grams) of blue cheese contain:
- Moisture: 42%
- Calories: 353 calories
- Protein: 21.4 grams
- Carbohydrates: 2.34 grams
- Fat: 28.7 grams
- Sodium: 1150 milligrams
The exact nutritional values of blue cheese vary by the variety, the producer, and, in the case of artisanal cheeses, the batch. However, the above values can serve as a general guideline for blue cheese’s nutritional profile.
Blue Cheese Ingredients
Blue cheese contains pasteurized cow’s milk, goat’s milk, or sheep’s milk, bacterial starter culture, salt, and Penicillium roqueforti bacteria.
The exact ingredients and their quantity will vary depending on the manufacturer. Always read the back of the label before purchasing a new brand of blue cheese for the first time.
Storing Blue Cheese
Blue cheese contains more moisture than other cheeses, which means it’s also more perishable and doesn’t keep as long. Put it in the fridge as soon as you unpack it from your grocery bags, and don’t take too long to use it up.
As a general rule of thumb, blue cheese will keep for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature and 3 to 4 weeks in the fridge. Blue cheese lasts the longest in the fridge if allowed to breathe. Wrap it loosely in cheese paper, aluminum foil, parchment paper, or an unsealed plastic bag.
Properly frozen, blue cheese stays safe to eat almost indefinitely1”Are You Storing Food Safely?”, U.S. Food & Drug Administration. However, it only retains its best quality for 2 to 3 months. The cheese is still edible after this time, but its texture, aroma, and flavor are not as good as they were before.
Pairing and Using Blue Cheese
Blue cheese pairs delightfully well with apples, figs, red or white grapes, jams, pear slices, prunes, and walnuts. When pairing blue cheese with wine, opt for dessert wines whose fruity sweetness balances out the cheese’s medicinal edginess. This includes Madeira, Marsala, Sherry, and Vermouth.
Some of the best ways to enjoy blue cheese are to eat it on its own, on a meat and cheese platter, or in salads with arugula, fruits, and walnuts. Blue cheese can also be added to salad dressings and cream sauces.
Where Does Blue Cheese Come From?
The more you read about cheeses, the more you learn that each cheese has a unique origin story. Blue cheese is no exception!
Blue cheese is one of those cheeses that were invented by chance. The story goes that a drunken cheesemaker forgot a half-eaten loaf of bread in the cheese cave. After a few days, the bread went moldy, and the mold spread to the cheese wheels that were left to ripen in the cave.
The story doesn’t go on to say whether the cheesemaker was drunk or sober when he discovered the cheese and decided to taste it despite the fact that the rind and the inside were covered with bluish-green mold. Nevertheless—and fortunately for all cheese lovers—he did.
The recipe for blue cheese spread throughout Europe, and today blue cheese is made mainly, but not exclusively, in France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, and the United Kingdom.
How Is Blue Cheese Made?
Have you ever wondered how blue cheese is made? You’re not alone! We’re often asked this question by our readers.
As with any other cheese, there are two ways of making blue cheese: the traditional way and the modern way. Read on below to learn about how these two methods of production are alike and in what ways they differ.
Traditionally, the milk was curdled, the curdles were strained of the whey, and then they were loosely packed to allow the mold to penetrate through the rind. The blue cheese then ripened in cheese caves, root cellars, and the family barns of cheese-makers, where the air was cool and the humidity was high enough to allow mold to grow freely and abundantly.
Nowadays, blue cheese is produced commercially in factories where penicillin roqueforti bacteria are added in liquid form or as a powder to pasteurized milk along with the starter culture during coagulation. The cheese is then loosely packed and aged. The rind is occasionally pierced to facilitate air circulation and promote molding.
- 1”Are You Storing Food Safely?”, U.S. Food & Drug Administration