Here’s my million-dollar idea: blue cheese playing cards. What? You don’t think there are enough poker-playing strong-cheese-lovers out there? Or, are you under the misguided impression that there are only a few blue cheeses in the world?
Well, here’s my latest revelation: there are more different blue cheeses on the market than I can keep track of. Possibly hundreds. Maybe thousands. In fact, I have at least a dozen Saran-wrangled wedges in my cheese drawer, and I don’t think I’ve even sampled one percent of the moldy blues that are being cave-aged at this moment. It looks like I’m going to have to embark upon a blue cheese summer.
When I first started this blog, I had the silly notion that I would take on a different kind of cheese each month. Newsflash: it takes more than a month to really know a cheese, kind of like dating. Blue cheese and I are still on first base. I’m only now beginning to understand the nuances of “liberal blueing,” and I’m just beginning to appreciate the wild differences between a rough-rinded blue (like, say, a stilton) and a foil-wrapped blue, (i.e. Roquefort).
Take last weekend’s second cheese-off. I finally got to try these two world-class blues side-by-side, and I was stunned by how different they tasted. The Roquefort was creamy and sharp, but salty as a starfish, whereas the stilton was crumbly and robust with much subtler flavors – hints of leather and woodsiness. They even looked different – the Carles Roquefort was wet, the color of porcelain. Trés elegante. The Colston-Bassett Stilton was dry with an egg-nogish color that deepened as you got to the rind. It made me think of a fine wool suit.
In my pack of cards, the Roquefort would definitely be the Queen of Diamonds – edgy, refined; think delicate veins on a high forehead – whereas the stilton would have to be the King of Hearts – a smooth operator with a crusty smile and a penchant for ascots and cummerbunds. Which do I prefer? The stilton, of course. Who wants to play blue cheese rummy?