A blue cow’s milk cheese from Auvergne in Le Massif Central in France. Aged at least four weeks and shows up with an ivory paste with fine blue veins. Creamy with flavors of grass and summer flowers. AOP since 1975.
To drink: I would have stayed with one of these: Sauternes, Loupiac, Jurançon, Monbazillac, Barsac or similar. Late harvest from other parts of France or the world at large. It does give some leeway.
Bleu des Causses
A blue cheese from cow’s milk, unpasteurized and with AOP protection since 1979 also comes in a pasteurised version. From Midi-Pyrenées. Matured from 70 days and up to six months in limestone caves in Tarn approximately 100 km west of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon. Initially, this cheese was made of a mix of ewe’s milk and goat or cow’s milk, but after it got AOC protection it is made of cow’s milk only, milk from he cow breeds Montbeliarde and Aubrac. Creamy and oily consistency, 45% fat in dry matter. Great blue veins. Powerful, balanced with hints of milk, spices and some bitter substances. Distinct but well integrated salty taste. With the exception of the type of milk, it has much in common with Roquefort. Winter cheeses are slightly lighter in colour and with a drier texture than summer cheeses.
To drink: Sauternes, usually of the lighter kind, but also other sweet wines such as Alsace Vendage Tardive and German Auslese.
Bleu de Gex Haut-Jura
As the name indicates, this blue cheese hails from the Jura in the Franche-Comté in eastern France. Made with milk from the Montbéliarde or Simmental cows, and only that. Shaped as large flat wheels and aged for a minimum of 3 weeks. Great yellowish rind and ivory colored paste with smooth blue-green veins from Penicillium Glaucum. The cheese has a tight little crumbly texture with a mild sweet flavor. AOP since 1977. Unpasteurized.
To drink: Light and fruity wines with a certain sweetness, but also a Late Harvest Tokaj for example.
Bleu de Sassenage
A traditional blue cheese from the mountains of the Rhone-Alpes around Grenoble. It is not produced in the city that has lent it its name. The name probably came about because Baron Albert de Sassenage in a charter from 1338 allowed free sale of cheese made in the areas he owned. seasonal cheese summer and fall. Can be both unpasteurized and pasteurized. Needless to mention what I think you should look for. A taste of milk and a little mold. AOC protection from 1998.
To drink: A Barsac, but also a glass of Banyuls from the south west of France.
Bleu de Termignon
Worth to look out for this cheese when skiing in the French Alps. A real mountain blue only produced on four farms in the mountains at about 2000 meters above sea level around the village of Termignon, Savoie. Unpasteurized cow’s milk cheese from Tarentaise cow’s (aka Tarine) and Abondance. This is a blue cheese, but at first glance do not look like it, because blues, which is Penicillium glaucum, is not added as with most other blue cheese. Instead it forms naturally and pull into the cheese through natural cracks in the curd. The mold spores comes into the milk from the grass and plants that cows feed ont and is transferred to the milk and subsequently the cheese. Has a sharp and refined taste that is not found in any other French blue cheeses. The cheese needs time to develop and thus a hard, almost stony rind develops. Crumbles easily, but has a moist, creamy and pronounced grainy texture when you get it in your mouth. Long, long taste. If you do not like sharp cheeses, let go. This is probably a cheese most people would regard as pretty weird. For the connoisseurs.
To drink: Something sweet such as Alsatian Pinot Gris SGN. Since this is so close to the Italian border, I think that a Grappa also had worked extremely well here.
A very mild blue cheese from Auvergne, made from cow’s milk. Aged for a minimum of 2 months in caves. It has a creamy texture with a delicate fruity taste with notes of wild mushrooms. Cylindrical. Specialty shops will have this in unpasteurized version, look for it. AOP since 1972. Most common with pasteurized milk.
To drink: A fruity red from the Côtes du Rhône, but also Sauternes will work very well. Italian Amarone if you need more power and body.
Le Petit Bayard
This is more a cheese of you who are regularly vacationing on the French Riviera. It comes from the Provence Mountains, and is an artisanal unpasteurized cow’s milk cheese. Produced all year round. Matures for a month before being sold. Both local and small this, worth exploring when you are in the area.
To drink: A light Provencal wine served on the cool side.
The King of (the) Blues! Raw milk cheese. Midi-Pyrenees in southern France and made from ewe’s milk. Roquefort is matured three to nine months, but first it needs a minimum of 14 days in the Mont Combalou caves in Roquefort-sur-Soulzon. Cylindrical. The cheese is white, brittle, moist and crumbles easily. Clear green mold veins. The flavour starts fairly mild, then enters the sweetish touch with a slight smoke flavour to finish with a very distinct salty taste. Roquefort has no rind. Protected since 1925, the first national AOC, later AOP.
To drink: Sauternes, but other sweet wines will also work fine, such as Royal Tokaji Aszú Blue Label 5 Puttonyos. Blue label for a blue cheese, they must be made for each other.
Persille de Malzieu
Unpasteurized ewe’s milk cheese this one, too. From Malzieu Ville, Lozere, Languedoc-Roussillon. On a good day, this will compete with Roquefort. Due to lack of AOC it is also cheaper. Semi-solid from Lacaune sheep which is the same breed as the milk the Roquefort comes from. Great white color with the mold evenly distributed throughout the cheese. Somewhat creamy consistency but it still crumbles when you cut into it. Relatively mild flavor with good acidity. Leaner and slightly less salty than Roquefort something I think is good. A vey good cheese.
To drink: The classic. Sauternes. If you want a little less sweetness, then try a Vouvray. Even Port.