Monday, May 11, 2009

Roquefort vs. Stilton

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.  TrĂ©s 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?


  1. Tenaya - great blog! It is so true that it takes a long time to really get to know a cheese :) I work with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, and we'd love to send you some samples of the latest and greatest from WI. If you'd like - please email me at and we can set something up.

  2. Hi, really nice blog! If you find yourself in San Francisco sometime, give Point Reyes Original Blue a try. I'll be posting about this cheese in the next couple weeks, and mentioned your blog in the post, keep up the great writing!

  3. A friend showed me this and I found it amusing:

  4. Tenaya,

    I'm following up from my co-worker Jessica's post above. We have some samples we'd love to send your way. Can you please email me at mdeutsch (at) stephanbrady (dot) com with your mailing address?