It’s a question that a lot of cheese lovers will hear: why do we eat moldy cheese?
There are some molds that are safe to eat. These are used to make cheeses such as Brie, Blue Cheese, and Camembert.
For Blue Cheese, Penicillium cultures added creating dark blue or blue-grey veins throughout the cheese. These are safe to eat because they do not produce the toxins that could be harmful to us.
The way that Blue Cheese is aged creates a level of acidity, salinity, moisture, density, temperature, and oxygen flow that cannot create dangerous molds.
In fact, our bodies can use the variety of different properties found in blue cheese to contribute to our healthy digestion.
Blue molds cause a breakdown of proteins in cheese known as proteolysis which creates a very creamy taste and texture. It also breaks down the fats, known as lipolysis, which gives blue cheese the tangy, sharp flavors that people love.
One of the reasons that people love moldy cheese is because these cheese often contain much more salt than other cheeses. Combined with the blue veins and whole milk, this creates a flavor that makes you want to eat more and more.
Blue cheese was discovered almost by accident. Cheeses in Europe were aged in high moisture caves which are also ideal environments to produce mold. Gorgonzola dates back to around 879 AD and Roquefort was invented in 1070. Today, all Roquefort eaten around the world is still made in the small French village where it was invented.
If you love rich, tannic red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir then you are likely to enjoy moldy cheese with it as you like strong flavors. Sometimes, we develop a stronger love for blue cheeses as we age because our taste buds reduce in strength. This means that flavors that we might not have enjoyed in childhood or younger years can become some of our favorite foods. People will often experience this with other strong flavored foods such as olives.
If you are looking to try more blue cheese, enjoy it with crackers or melted into dishes, to begin with. You’ll be able to build up to eating more of it over time. It’s also delicious with Port and Scotch if you are having a cheeseboard after dinner.
So, next time you are asked why you eat moldy cheese, or whether it’s safe to eat, you’ll know how to answer!
Do you like to eat moldy cheese? Let us know how you like to eat it in the comments!
What is blue cheese?
Blue Cheese is a generic term for cheeses that have had Penicillium cultures added creating dark blue or blue-grey veins throughout the cheese. It can be made from cow, sheep, or goat’s milk and is typically aged in a temperature and moisture-controlled environment like a cave.
How was blue cheese discovered?
Blue Cheese is said to have been discovered by accident. Cheeses in Europe were aged in high moisture caves which are also an ideal environment to produce mold. Gorgonzola dates back to around 879 AD and Roquefort was invented in 1070. Subsequent Blue cheeses were invented to fill the demand for Roquefort like cheeses. We prefer Danish blue, as it is more moderate in its sharpness and more creamy.
What does it taste like?
The characteristic flavor of blue cheese is usually sharp and salty, but levels of sharpness vary by region. It can be eaten by itself or crumbled or melted over foods. We know that blue cheese can divide opinion, so we’ve put together a list of tips that will help you to appreciate it!
Serve it at the right temperature
The unique flavor of blue cheese is best appreciated at room temperature to allow the flavors and textures to be enhanced. This goes for most cheeses: they should not be served straight from the fridge if you want to truly enjoy them.
Serve it with the right drinks pairing
Blue cheeses are strong, rustic-flavored cheeses and go best with similarly strong, flavored foods and drinks, and with tannic red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Zinfandel, and even Port. For beer lovers, the cheese compliments porters and stouts perfectly. It also pairs very well with Scotch, which is why we offer it with our Scotch collection.
Serve it with the right foods
Just as blue cheese deserves strong flavors from drinks, it needs them from food too. One classic combination is cheese with fruit. Pears, figs, and apples all stand up well to the flavor as they each have a sweetness that cuts through the saltiness of the cheese. The earthy quality of mushrooms brings out the same flavors in the cheese and the crunch of celery will contrast with the creaminess of any blue cheese.
It’s just as important to consider texture as well as flavor. Find crunchy foods to pair with the soft texture of the cheese and you’ll find it really stands out.
If you’re not yet a blue cheese fan, start by trying small pieces as part of a cheeseboard. You’ll gradually be able to move up to crumbling a little into soup or over pasta. In no time you’ll be asking for it on pizza and enjoying it with a glass of port! Let it surprise you. Sometimes we think we might not like something but in the right combination it is our new favorite dish.
Do you think you could become a blue cheese lover? We really do recommend trying our Danish Blue – it’s converted many a customer in the past!
Let us know your favorite blue cheese pairings in the comments!
Want to really wow your guests?
We know that you love to pair wine with our cheeses, and we’ve explored how you might try them with beer, but have you ever thought to pair cheese with scotch?
Read on to find out all about our Scotch Collection and why we think this should be the centerpiece of your next party!
You might not have thought to pair scotch with cheese, but rest assured that it’s a great choice. You’re going to be looking for bolder cheeses with a lot of flavors because these will stand up to the strong flavor of the whisky.
Danish Blue Cheese
Our Danish Blue Cheese has a moderate sharpness and a creamy flavor. Blue cheeses have penicillium cultures added, which create the blue veins that you will see running through the cheese. It is then aged in a temperature and moisture controlled environment like a cave. The unique flavors are best enjoyed at room temperature with fruit and crackers, alongside your scotch.
Gruyere is one of our favorite imported cheeses, originating in the Alpine region between Switzerland and France. It has a sweet, nutty flavor with a slight saltiness. It ages into an earthy, complex cheese. It’s great for baking and melting, as well as served with crackers. If you’re looking to serve something more substantial with your scotch, consider serving a quiche using gruyere, a fondue, or even a French onion soup topped with gruyere croutons.
Cheddar was first produced in England as early as 1170 and originated in the village of Cheddar in Somerset. It would be aged in the nearby caves of Cheddar Gorge. It has a sharp, pungent flavor with a firm, slightly crumbly texture. It’s versatile enough to be enjoyed with a huge variety of drinks, including Scotch.
Parmesan is an Italian cheese with a complex, sharp, and nutty flavor. It has a slightly grainy texture and works well with pasta, risotto, or soup when grated. You may not have included it in your cheese boards before, but you can be confident that it’s a great choice. Because of its strong flavor, it pairs extremely well with the strength and smokiness of a good whisky.
Choosing your whisky
To pair with this cheese collection, you are looking to get a scotch whisky, rather than a bourbon. If you have a favorite, then select that or one from the same region as you’re likely to find a similar flavor. If your friends are whisky connoisseurs too, why not ask them to bring a bottle and then you can compare flavors?
If you’re entertaining, this collection should serve up to 20 guests. If you have guests who do not drink whisky, grab some craft beers. The barley flavors of both drinks will work well with the cheeses from the Scotch Collection so no-one will be disappointed. You could also pick up some salty snacks such as nuts, hot mix or chips, and some dark chocolate as a sweet treat. These will pair well with the scotch and give you even more flavors to explore.
Now that you know all about the cheeses, don’t delay. Order our Scotch Collection today.