OK folks, it’s Cheesy day 4, and things just got serious… we cut into our first blue cheese.
Well, I say ‘we’, but Timo didn’t even go there…
Tonight was our first time back at church, for prayer, since the beginning of confinement. It was good to get back.
We’d saved the cheese for after our return, so as to avoid any rush. We sat down and started unwrapping our ‘Day 4 treat’ but as soon as Timo saw that it was a blue, he counted himself out. Though he likes anything spicy, that adventuresome spirit leaves him when it comes to strong cheese.
The French are very protective of their cheeses and many have a protected designation of origin (PDO), meaning that it cannot be made outside of that region and still be referred to with the same name. Often, the PDO is determined by the area within which the cheese has a significant historical association.
Such is the case with today’s cheese,
Day #4: Fourme d’Ambert
- Name: Fourme d’Ambert (sometimes just simply “Ambert”) It’s described as one of the mildest blue cheeses on the market, so if you’re looking to ‘wet your feet’ with a blue cheese, this might be the one to start with (It certainly doesn’t have the same ‘bite’ as a Roquefort, for example).
- Region: Because this cheese has a PDO, it cannot be produced outside of a certain geographic area, in this case, the Loire Department, in the Auvergne region. Historians agree, production of this cheese dates back to the 8th century (prior to the Roman conquest!). In fact, to give you an idea of how tightly controlled the production of this cheese is, there are only 8 farmers and 6 dairies in France that produce it.
- Milk: Cow’s milk (pasteurized this time 🙂 )
- Our Score: 2.5/5
Here are the actual words heard around the living room to sum up the experience: “Taste is OK, smells like a stable” (as in ‘a horse stable’). I’m not sure that those comments are entirely merited, but there you have the consensus. I can’t help but wonder if the appreciation suffered simply by the look of the blue mold.
Making the Cut
Blue Cheese: In order to get that signature blue-marbled look, Penicillium Roqueforti bacteria is added to the milk, it’s processed, and curds are eventually bunched together, leaving tiny gaps inside. Several days later cheeses are needled, creating miniscule air tunnels throughout the cheese. Storage in a cool cellar for no less than 28 days, means that air is getting into these tiny needle-tunnels and gap spaces, causing the penicillium to ‘bloom’.
The ‘blue’ in ‘blue cheese’ … is really just a specific type of blue mold.
The Cheese quote of the day comes from French lawyer, politician, epicure and gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826).
“Dessert without cheese is like a beauty with only one eye.”
Happy Cheesy Christmas….
See you tomorrow for cheese #5