Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Birchrun Blue

Okay, so I know what you’re wondering, luvs: what kind of blue cheese should I eat for breakfast?  Oh come on, you drink black coffee to snap your eyes open, why not add a jolt of blue cheese, occasionally?!  I already told you about the nighttime cheesecap, so good with a cucumber martini – it only seems right to dispel today’s gray skies with my new fave on an English Muffin.  With some fig jam and a pot of lavender Earl Gray, this combination makes Mme. Fromage very happy.  Maybe one day, she will host a blue cheese tea party.

What makes this a good blue for breakfast?  Ahhh, let me count the ways.

1.     It’s creamy and spreadable.  Let it sit a spell so that it softens up while you boil your tea.

2.     It opens like a meadow on your tongue, then becomes salty and almost floral.  There’s a gentle finish – no biteyness, whatsoever. 

3.     It goes well with jam.  I bet a rose petal jelly would be nifty.  Fig is a little heavy, but one has to make sacrifices.

4.     It’s cozy.  

Birchrun Blue comes out of a small farm in Chester Springs, Pa., Birchrun Hills Farm, that only produces two kinds of cheese, this one and a gruyere-style.  This is a raw milk beauty with a gorgeous, reptilian rind and a faint speckling of blue color.  I’m learning an awful lot about blue cheese these days, including how the mold (Penicillium roqueforti) gets into the mix – often by inserting long skewers into the ripening cheese.  In the early days of Roquefort, farmers stored bread in damp caves to create mold, then grated the moldy bread into vats of curds.  Mmmm, sexy.

If you follow news of the fromagiosphere, then you've probably heard that roquefort, the original French cave-aged blue, is likely to become obsolete in the States, or at least very pricey.  Yesterday the BBC ran a story about the 300% tariff increase, and Our Lady of Wisco Cheeses at Cheese Underground offered a post about it -- it also includes her blue cheese love- list.  The tariff goes into effect April 23, so get out your blue veils.

Today’s breakfast comes with a toast to Albert over at the Fair Food Farm Stand, who gave me a nibble of Birchrun yesterday a.m. (this is his “second favorite blue”) as I was passing by his stand on my way to work.  That means I’ve officially had blue cheese for breakfast twice now, and given the amount of cheese in my crisper, I think this will become a sneaky habit. 


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