Rogue Creamery Blues

September 12, 2008

Located in Oregon’s Rogue River Valley, the Rogue Creamery has produced extraordinary Artisan cheeses since 1935 when Tom Vella began making cheese from milk he bought from the local dairy farmers. The creamery is now run by Ignazio (Ig) Vella, the son of the founder. In 1998 when Ig took over, he decided to return the creamery to an artisan cheese creamery and was booed by the industry. However, it turned out that his vision was correct as Americans began to turn more and more to small handmade cheeses. As his success grew, he was dubbed “The Godfather of Artisan Cheeses”. The creamery was even named the best small blue cheese plant in the US by the USDA, FDA and the State of Oregon.

In the early part of this century, Ig joined with David Gremmels and Cary Bryant to catapult the Rogue Creamery into a state-of-the-art and Award-winning creamery. Since this new partnership, they have won 4 trophies and 30 medals and awards.

The Lady’s cheese kiosk features four of their Award-winning blues and a customers’ favorite Gorgonzola. A couple of them are seasonal and not available year round.

Blue cheeses are not really of much interest to me; but The Lady and The Man sure do seem to enjoy these cheeses.

In no particular order…

Rogue Oregon Blue

Vegetarian – Suitable Cheese

Oregon Blue

Oregon Blue

A rich, creamery and slightly sweet blue cheese.

In the seasonal version of this cheese, the wheel is covered in grape leaves that have been macerated in Oregon pear brandy which adds a nice fruitiness to the cheese. This is a seasonal cheese and available late fall.)

Using the reaction of The Lady and The Man, I give Oregon Blue 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I got).

Serving Suggestions: Wonderful with pears and groups and crackers. Also quite wonderful in salads. This cheese makes a mean “blue cheese dressing”.

Wine and Beer Pairings

Wine Pairings: Sauternes and other Dessert Wines and Champagnes

Beer Pairings:

Source: Cow’s Milk

Awards: 2004 – Best Blue Cheese – London’s World Cheese Awards (It was the first time an American cheese beat the Stiltons and Roqueforts that had dominated this class.)

Crater Lake Blue

Vegetarian – Suitable Cheese

Crater Lake Blue

Crater Lake Blue

This cheese is firm and moist; sweet and creamy with a complex taste that balances the blue taste with the salty taste. And yet, you can taste the milk at the same time. Ig crafted this blue-green veined cheese after a now-discontinued Danish cheese he admired.

I give Crater Lake Blue 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: Same as its sister cheese above.

Wine and Beer Pairings:

This cheese not only pairs well with dessert wines but also with other reds and whites. It even goes well with beer. A testament to the complexity of this cheese.

Wine Pairings: Sauternes, Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay

Beer Pairings: Rogue Imperial Stout, Old Stock Ale

Source: Cow’s milk

Awards: 25th Annual Conference, American Cheese Society’s Winner

Rogue Smoked Oregon Blue

Vegetarian – Suitable Cheese

 

 

 

Smokey Blue

Smokey Blue

 

 

This is Oregon Blue smoked over hazelnut shells for sixteen hours. It has a creamy sweetness and is made from the 100% natural full cream of the sustainable Bonanza View Dairy.

I give Smokey Oregon Blue 3 1/2 Paws (ouch) out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: Goes well with fruits and nuts.

Wine and Beer Pairings:

Wine: Sauternes, Merlot, Syrah

Beer Pairings: Rauch

Source: Cow’s Milk

Awards: Best New Product in the World at the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade Food Show in New York.

Oregonzola:

Vegetarian – Suitable Cheese

 

 

 

Oregonzola

Oregonzola

 

 

This is an gorgonzola-style cheese that is aged a minimum of 120 days in the Rogue Creamery caves (which were man-made by the founder right after WWII). It has slight veins of mold and has a creamery, buttery texture. The Lady says it is the most popular of the Rogue Cheeses that she sells. She thinks it is the best as well.

Based on her comments, I give Oregonzola 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: Fruits and nuts and salads both as a dressing and crumbled with a light vinegarette.

The Lady found a recipe using Oregonzola, warmed cherries and hazelnuts.

Wine and Beer Pairings:

Wine Pairings: Erath Vineyards Willamette Vally Pinot Noir

Beer Pairings: Hair of the Dog Fred Old Ale

Source: Cow’s Milk

Awards: Best Blue Cheese in the World – 2003 – London Cheese World Cheese Awards

The 5th Blue is Echo Mountain, another seasonal cheese made from a combination of cow and goat milk, is not available this time of year and will be reviewed later.

Rogue Creamery also makes several Cheddars and Cheese Curds.

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5 Responses to “Rogue Creamery Blues”


  1. […] added Smoked Applewood Cheddar and a wedge of Beemster Vlaskaas. For the blue, we went with Oregonzola. As we were wrapping up our transaction, the mother stopped, looked at me sternly and said, […]


  2. […] unique blend is a combination of Oregon Blue, Oregonzola and Crater Lake Blue; all award-winning cheeses from Rogue Creamery located in Central Point, Oregon in the beautiful […]


  3. […] Rogue Creamery, they offer five award-winning blues: Oregon Blue, Oregonzola, Smoky Blue, Crater Lake and a Fred Meyer exclusive crumble mixture of the four cheeses. In the fall we will also have the […]


  4. […] group was treated to a Rogue Cheese Plate that included two cheeses we have previously reviewed: Oregon Blue and Tou Velle. Also on the plate were two cheeses, we have not reviewed. One is Echo Mountain. The […]


  5. […] cheesemakers, Craig and Jason, worked with the winners to make two vats of cheese:  Tou Velle and Oregon Blue. After aging, these cheeses will be sold exclusively at Fred Meyer Cheese Kiosks in early 2012. The […]


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