Not everyone's favorite but but after an aged Gouda, certainly mine. With its bold, sharp, and tangy flavor with grassy notes and hints of mushroom, an array of textures and in mouth feels from buttery to crumbly. This is a style of cheese that just keeps on giving. This cheese may be an acquired taste for a discriminating palate, but you don’t need to start with a bold Roquefort or Stilton. There are a wonderful array of milder blues, that with their buttery textures can ease you into the wonderful nuances and layers that come with exploring this style of cheese. My love affair with blue cheeses has not waned in spite of a newly discovered allergy to penicillin.
Often our first experience is with blue cheese is with a notorious bold Picante Gorgonzola or Roquefort. A punch to the senses for the uninitiated and often results in a once bitten twice shy stance to blue cheese. If this is you, I beg of you to retrace your steps and begin with some of these milder blue cheese varieties and ease yourself from mildest to bold of my favorite blue cheese suggestions and pairings.
Pairing Blue Cheese with Fruit Spreads
Traditional pairings for blue cheese include fresh fig, pear and apple slices, dried fruits, walnuts, chutneys, some jams, honey, truffle, Sherry, Ports and of course wine…. Lots and lots of wine :) With pairing for any cheese I always recommend try the cheese first, what does it taste like. Is it sour, musty like a goat cheese. Is it a bit sweeter with a mushroom feel like brie or bold heavy nutty tones like an aged Gouda or Alpine cheddar. Or in the case of blue cheese the bold acidity of the mold that gives a blue its distinctive flavor. Is it bold? Does it leave a slight burn in the mouthfeel? Is the cheese sweet, creamy or more tangy and bright? Once you have a feel for your cheese as it stands on its own, ask yourself, what is it you want from a pairing. Is it to be a palate cleanser for the next bite. Do you want to cut the acidity of a bold cheese or are you looking for a flavor combination the brings out or highlights different flavors and aspects of cheese that you didn’t notice before. Basically you are either pairing cheese with similar flavors to compliment a cheese or are looking for opposite flavors to contrast the cheese. The same when choosing a wine. What's great about bolder blue cheese and pairings is because of the strong nature and acidity of blue cheese, it allows for sweeter pairings that I would normally never recommend like overly sweet jams. Not only are some jams too sweet for almost every cheese imaginable, but the very nature of a jam is a reduction of fruit that simply is too heavy, smothering the cheese thus hiding its natural characteristics. You still want a little acidity which is why we pair with our chutneys, savory spreads and our fruit compotes with a range of cheese, they have a balanced acidity from balsamic vinegar, citrus and the natural acids of the fruit and have a third less sugar than traditional jam which result in perfectly balanced pairings. That is why quince paste and fruits are such a natural pairing, because they still offer some acidity and often why chutneys and pickles are more often chosen pairings rather than say a strawberry jam. In saying this, the sharp bold flavors of a strong blue cheese can be nicely paired with sweeter fruit compotes and condiments such as honey.
Mild Blue Cheese Varieties & Fruit Spread Pairings
Wozz! Best Fruit Spreads and Savory Jams For Blue Cheese Pairings:
Triple Ale Onion Jam Spread
- Fresh onions are caramelized with 3 craft beers, brown sugar and roasted garlic. This savory sticky delicious onion jam is fantastic on a blue cheese burger or with steak and blue cheese. Also a superb pick for a charcuterie and blue cheese board or as a base for flatbread blue cheese pizza.
Sour Cherry Spiced Wine Fruit Compote - Sour cherries from upstate NY are simmered with winter spices, red wine and cracked black pepper. This fruit forward spiced cherry compote pairs well with a mild to medium blue cheese.
Balsamic Fig Mostarda Spread - Figs simmered in balsamic with fresh apples and pears and finished with pure mustard oil. This is an amazing mostarda that pairs beautifully with blue cheese, especially delicious with roasted meats like roast beef and cured meats like prosciutto. Great for crostini appetizers and as a base for flatbread.
Cambozola Classic Blue Cheese - Bavaria Germany
The cheese that brought me back to blue. A rather new edition to the blue cheese world only making its first appearance around 1900 before being revamped by Käserei Champignon creamery in Germany. Cambozola Classic is a triple cream brie-style blue cheese hails from the Allgäu region in southern Germany. Cambozola Classic has a delicate blue cheese flavor and a softer—almost spreadable—texture than a typical blue style cheese. Ideal for the blue beginner, smoother, creamier and milder than a typical blue, so even folks who think they don’t like blue cheeses because they’re “too strong” may find themselves craving more.
Lighthouse Blue Brie - Tasmania Australia
From Australia's King Island Creamery is a beautiful blend of creamy brie with a subtle touch of blue. is made from a combination of Penicillium camemberti and the same blue Penicillium roqueforti mould used to make Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and Stilton. Extra cream is added to the milk, giving the Lighthouse Blue a rich consistency characteristic of triple crèmes, while the edible bloomy rind is similar to that of Camembert or Brie.
CAMBOZOLA Black Label Blue Brie - Bavaria Germany
CAMBOZOLA Black Label, also from Käserei Champignon creamery in Germany. It has been aged longer and colder than the classic, which makes it creamier and a little stronger in the blue notes. You can easily recognize this triple cream soft ripened cheese by its beautiful grey exterior mold. The cheese is injected with same blue Penicillium roqueforti mold used to make Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and Stilton. However, it is neither pungent like Stilton nor crumbly like Roquefort. The cheese, a cross between Camembert and Gorgonzola, is creamy, moist and rich like a Camembert with the sharpness of Gorgonzola. A soft-ripened cheese, the insides reveal pockets of blue veining and a unique exterior of grey mold. Its savory, nutty flavor with undertones of sweetness enhances the wonderful characteristics of the cheese. For a food connoisseur, the Cambozola is a great start into the world of Blue Cheeses. Taste it with fruits, honey or a Chardonnay.
Our favorite Wozz! savory jam pairings for this creamy blue brie cheese is our Wild Blueberry Maple Walnut Compote and our Triple Ale Onion Jam Spread. Both of these were a fantastic accompaniment to the blue cheese served on simple crackers and crostini.
Wine Pairings: Eden Cider VT Claudine Keeved cider, chardonnay, and Brut.
Cooking: salads, mild dressings, grilled sandwiches, a wonderful dessert cheese served with fruits
Fourme d’Ambert - Auvergne France
Pronounced dom-BEHR Fourme d'Ambert is a rich and creamy cow milk blue from the Auvergne region of France. It has a thin, yellowish rind mottled with sandy molds. Its interior is bone white with distinctive bluing. Although its scent is very earthy, fruity, strong and woody. Fourme d'Ambert has a creamy,mild flavor with a slight nutty finish. The paste is both soft and smooth with a velvety mouthfeel full of sweet cream and an earthy, mushroomy roundness. The cheese has an aroma reminiscent of the caves where it was aged, a dense and creamy texture and a fruity flavor with hints of nuts on the finish. Despite the thorough blue veining, this is one of the milder blue cheeses.
Wine Pairings: Fourme d'Ambert is a very wine-friendly cheese. Pair with Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blends sauternes and other dessert wines, but also some full-bodied reds such as Rhones, pinot noirs and syrahs.
Cooking: Crumble this blue cheese in salads, serve with fresh pear, stir the blue cheese into creamy sauces, add to quiche and savory baked torte.
Semi Mild Blue Cheese Varieties and Fruit Spread Pairings
Chiriboga Blue - Bavaria Germany
A native of Ecuador, Arturo Chiriboga has mastered the art of German cheesemaking at the foot of the Alps in Bad Oberdorf, Bavaria. His cow's milk blue was modeled on Roquefort but tastes more creamy and buttery than the peppery, assertive French classic. Chiriboga Blue is intensely rich and buttery, with a dense, tongue-coating texture that is reminiscent of frozen custard. The ivory interior with very few blue-gray streaks of veining produces a very subtle flavors of sweet cream and grass, with a splash of mushroomy goodness and balanced blue piquancy.
Wozz! Spreads and Jams For Semi Mild Blue Cheese Pairings:
Wine Pairings: something sparkly like prosecco or champagne, medium bodied red or citrusy white wine and Bavarian style ales
Cooking: Melts wonderfully for pasta and risotto dishes. Creamy sauces and dressings. Spreadable.
Often most are familiar with a crumbly bold aged version of this cheese (Picante), but that is not what I am talking about. When young, (dolce) it is soft and creamy, opening with nimble strokes of butter and slowly approaching a slightly acidic finish. It has a wonderful balance between the creamy rich texture and the brighter acidity. Mature versions are stronger, piquant and deliver a pungent bite to finish. Easy find recommendations Creamy Gorg cheese from BelGioioso Creamery Wisconsin.
Wine Pairings: Soft savory Red and/or White wines, Riesling, Pinot Bianco, Prosecco and other sparkling varieties.
Cooking: It melts wonderful for Italian pasta and risotto dishes, pizza, steak, crostini and sandwiches. Also delicious and frequently crumbled into salads, delicious on a salad with Wozz! Pear Ginger Vinegar drizzled atop.
Middlebury Blue Sailsbury Vermont
Blue Ledge Farm Creamery, Middlebury Blue. The interior of this 2-3 month old blue is grassy, salty, and a little sour – a great way to expand beyond mild beginner blues. Earthy and milky, Middlebury Blue an almost cheddary texture, and blue veining adds a balance of earthy hay and sweet caramel, with a bite of pepper as well, with its crusty, rustic natural rind and smoother, creamier paste. Despite all this it is really quite a mild blue.
Wine Pairings: Sweet light reds
Cooking: Salads, Sweet Roast Vegetables, Walnuts
Medium Blue Cheese Varieties and Fruit Spread Pairings
Jersey Blue Switzerland: Lichtensteig Rolf Beeler
Produced by legendary cheesemaker Willi Schmid. The Jersey Blue is Willi Schmid’s most decorated product: . The Jersey Blue undoubtedly proves the immense talent of its creator. Willi uses two different Italian molds. He doesn’t reveal which ones, we only know Gorgonzola mold is not part of it. Natural calf rennet is used. The Jersey Blue is especially appealing cut when you see the fine light blue to dark green veins that grow into the core from the outside. The buttery feel of the Jersey milk coats the palate and then the powerful flavors of the mold burst out. It has an unbelievable long finish, a masterpiece indeed. In flavor, it is sweet, complex, vegetal and fruity, with a fiery bite and high sapidity. The Jersey Blue can be enjoyed young but ages well. When it starts to dry out the flavors get sharper.
Wine Pairings: best paired with white wines such as Gewurztraminer and riesling. For red wine, try Brunello, or a dessert wine such as Vin Santo
Rogue River Blue Cheese - Grants Pass Oregon
An organic, cave-aged blue cheese wrapped in pear spirit-soaked Syrah grape leaves, is a seasonal product. The cheese is made exclusively with milk from Rogue Creamery’s Certified Organic Dairy Farm in Grants Pass, Oregon. It is only made for a few months each year beginning on the autumnal equinox when cooler temperatures bring renewed growth to the pastures and the cow’s milk becomes richer and higher in butterfat.Aromas are of earth, cellar, sherry and port. The texture is dotted with crunchy bits (crystalized amino acids) that give it a slightly granular mouthfeel. Flavors are incredibly complex. Notes of butterscotch and caramel are balanced by a pronounced tang and hints of spice from the blue mold.
Wine Pairings: choose wines of age and distinction: Viognier, classic French or German Gewürztraminers, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, dessert wines; pear brandy; whiskey or rum; brown ales and stouts.
Cooking: Tarts and quiche. Bruschetta and crostini. Bakes and gratins.
Strong Blue Cheese Varieties
Old World Blues Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).
Cabrales Asturia Region, Spain
Spanish semi-hard, fatty blue cheese, prepared within the administrative region of Cabrales Council and some towns in the Upper Peñamerella region. Both these areas are located at the foot of the Picos de Europa Mountains in Asturias. The cheese can be made from unpasteurized cow’s milk or blended with goat and/or sheep milk. It is aged between two and four months in naturally formed limestone caves. Chilly and humid conditions in the caves facilitate the growth of bluish-green penicillium mould on this highly prized cheese. Unlike other blue cheeses injected with Penicillium, Cabrales cures from the outside of the cheese to the inward. A finished Cabrales can be characterized by its smooth texture, punctuated with holes and pockets of blue. The creamy paste is studded with crunchy granules of crystallized amino acids. A strong, penetrating aroma and sharp, acidic, slightly salty taste. Cabrales cheese is compact but crumbly with a unique, long lasting, developed and piquant taste for lovers of strong cheeses. Its aroma is also strong, typical of matured blue cheese.
Wine Pairings: Red wine, Cider, Sweet Sherry, chilled sweet white wines, Brown Ales and stouts
Cooking: Great with fresh fig, salami and dried sausages. Treasured as a base for sauces, for melting over grilled or roasted meats and goes well along with baguette slices, crackers, or fruit.
Blue Stilton Tuxford and Tebbutt Creamery Melton Mowbray
One of the oldest creameries in The United Kingdom, Tuxford and Tebbutt has been running since 1780, producing many award-winning English cheeses, especially their famous Blue Stilton - they're one of five cheesemakers allowed to produce this classic British cheese.
Tuxford and Tebbutt use traditional techniques like hand-turning on their cheeses, each wheel individually matured and graded to ensure quality and consistency, with methods they have perfected over the past 235 years and which is sometimes referred to as the “King of Cheeses,” Stilton has a protected origin designation, meaning any cheese labeled as "Stilton" must meet a particular set of standards. All protected origin cheeses are monitored by independent government agencies that perform random quality checks.To be a Stilton cheese means it must be made in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire or Derbyshire in England, where only seven dairies are licensed to make it.
Stilton is always cylindrically-shaped and never pressed. It has its own unique crust and the blue veins radiate out from the center in a very distinctive pattern. It is a semi hard cheese also made from cow's milk. It has creamy, crumbly & smooth texture and spicy & strong flavors.
At the World Cheese Awards in 2012, Tuxford & Tebbutt Blue Stilton was crowned as the Supreme Champion of the event, taking home a total of five awards.
Wine Pairings: Traditionally Sherry and Tawny port wine. Suggested with sweet dessert wines. Brown Ales and stouts.
Cooking: good choice to go with walnuts, crackers, biscuits and bread. Soups and Gratins particularly cauliflower, broccoli and leeks. Beef. Fondue.
Roquefort - Toulouse southern France
Roquefort is one of the oldest and strongest blue cheeses and is made from sheeps milk. Roquefort is one of the oldest known cheeses. It was reportedly the favourite cheese of the emperor Charlemagne, and in France it is called le fromage des rois et des papes (“the cheese of kings and popes”) The unique characteristics of Roquefort are largely imparted from aging in the Roquefort caves near Toulouse in the southern part of France, the milk of the Lacaune sheep also plays a large role in the outcome of flavors. A light white to cream color with rich salty, sharp and tangy flavors and melts in mouth. It is creamy and aromatic, complex and intense, with sharp and tangy nuances. Like Stilton in England, by French law, only cheese that is processed at Roquefort, France, may be labeled “Roquefort”
Wine Pairings: Dry Red wine, Sauternes
Cooking: Salads, Quiche, Tarts, Pasta and Risotto, Beets, Leeks, Creamy White Sauces, Béchamel and Fondue.
New World Blue Cheese Varieties and Fruit Spread Pairings
King Island Roaring forties - Tasmania Australia
Produced by the King Island Dairy, King Island dairy products have long been acclaimed throughout Australia and they’re rapidly building extraordinary reputations in the international marketplace. Unlike typical French blue cheeses like Roquefort made from ewe's milk, Roaring 40's Blue is made entirely from cow's milk. The result is a milder taste. Roaring 40's is a full-bodied blue with a honeyed, slightly nutty quality and great aftertaste. It is a rindless cheese, matured in wax coating, which cuts off the oxygen supply and encourages sweet and fruity flavor. The wax coating also preserves the cheese's moisture and creates a smooth and creamy texture. Cheesemaker Ueli Berger ensures that each of his cheese wheels is full flavored with a sweet, slightly nutty character, a rich mouthfeel, and good aftertaste. Its flavor is greatly enhanced by pristine natural resources, unscathed by pollution and human encroachment. These advantages, along with the year round grazing season, complement traditional King Island cheesemaking recipes to create this famous, nontraditional Blue.
Bayley Hazen Blue - Greensboro Vermont
Bayley Hazen Blue is named for an old military road that traverses the Northeast Kingdom, Vermont. The road was commissioned by George Washington and built to carry troops to fight the English on the Canadian front. Though no battle ever took place, the road brought the first settlers to Greensboro and is still in use today. This cheese is developed and aged in the same area Wozz! first began it’s production and cheese pairings. Bayley Hazen Blue has developed a loyal following because of its fudge-like texture, toasted-nut sweetness, and anise spice character. The paste is dense and creamy, with well-distributed blue veins. The usual peppery character of blue cheese is subdued, giving way to the grassy, nutty flavors in the milk. Flavors are complex and multi-layered. The typical tang of the blue mold, Penicillium Roqueforti, takes a back seat to a wide array of flavors that include butter, chocolate, and occasionally licorice.
Maytag - Newton Iowa
Maytag is a blue cheese produced by Maytag Dairy Farms from the milk of prize-winning herd of Holstein cattle. The farm located outside Newton, Iowa has been making this handcrafted cheese since 1941 using traditional methods of curing. Even today, the blue cheese is not produced in huge quantities as the cheesemakers want to ensure that only the best quality cheese reaches the consumers. Maytag Blue cheese is ripened over six months during which it develops a dense, crumbly texture and semi-sharp flavor. Every bite of Maytag melts in the mouth releasing a slightly tangy flavor with a lemony finish. With its pungent odor, the cheese might not suit everyone’s tastes.
Cooking: This American gourmet cheese can be crumbled into salads, on crackers or melted on a burger while you are sipping that ale or lager. cheese delivered in decorative silver foil tastes delectable when crumbled into salads, crackers or melted onto a burger. This blue cheese is fantastic on a burger with Wozz! award winning Triple Ale Onion Jam Spread