Roquefort, The King of Sheep’s Milk Blue Cheese
March 25, 2011
Made From Raw Sheeps’ Milk
The third featured bleu cheese in the “Send Marcella to France” contest is the quintessential of French Bleu Cheeses: Roquefort. The first AOC-designated cheese, Roquefort received this protection in 1925, was mentioned in history as early as 79AD when Pliny, the Elder, spoke of its rich flavor… who knew, I’d follow in the steps of one of the great as I sit here today “mentioning Roquefort”…
Legend claims that Roquefort was discovered when a young man, eating a sheeps’ milk cheese sandwich, saw a lovely lass passing by… he abandoned the sandwich in the cave where he sat to chase the girl. Time passes, the boy returns to find that the cheese has molded and voila… Roquefort Cheese was born. It’s almost always about women or money with humankind of the male persuasion… why am I not surprised???
Today, Roquefort is the only bleu cheese still made using the mold grown on rye bread. The mold, Penicillium roqueforti, is found in the soil of the caves where the cheese is aged. The bread is molded for several weeks, ground up and injected into the cheese. It can be added to the curd or later as an aerosol injected into the aging cheese. One of the AOC rules is that this bleu cheese must be aged in the natural Combalou caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon. 60% of Roquefort is produced by Societe and that is the brand that The Lady sells at her kiosk. Prior to the AOC-designation, a small amount of cow or goat milk was added to the cheese. Now, the cheese is made exclusively from the milk of Lacaune, Manech and Basco-Bearnaise breeds of sheep.
The Lady brought a modest wedge home that she served in two ways. The first was at room temperature and schmeared on French (naturally) bread and then the following day she served a simple romaine salad with Roquefort dressing and Confit of Chicken, sautéed fresh veggies with pasta. This chicken dish came along after watching Emeril Live on the CookingTV Channel, a favorite around the manse.
Roquefort’s veining is more green than “blue” and makes a dramatic presentation. Simply put, this cheese is just as pretty to look at as it is to consume… well, that may be a bit hyperbolic, but not by much. This cheese brings such pleasure to the palate: it starts mild, moves to sweet, then smoky and ends with a salty finish… it just doesn’t get any better than this…
Serving Suggestion: Schmeared on French Bread makes a perfect way to start a meal. You can make a perfect salad dressing using Roquefort or you can add it to tarts, pasta sauces and if you really want to impress family or friends, use it for a specialty mac n cheese.
Wine Suggestion: The Lady served a favorite of hers, Chateau de Sancerre.
Beer Suggestion: Brasserie Saison Fantome
Source: 100% Raw Sheeps’ Milk
Trivia: Before the discovery of penicillin, it was common for shepherds to apply this cheese to wounds to avoid gangrene.