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?

4 comments:

  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 jreilly@stephanbrady.com and we can set something up.

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  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!

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

    http://www.daisyowl.com/comic/2009-05-08

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  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?

    Thanks!
    Marlena

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