Saturday, April 18, 2009

Billy Blue

When I saw all the blue cheeses in the Dean & DeLuca case during a recent trip to New York, I got weak in the knees.  There is almost nothing I love as much as a bitey, bitey blue.  I have a friend (call him the Blue Cheese Brit) who is always wowing me with his blue cheese prowess.  When he puts out a cheese board, he usually has the latest, most incredible blue cheese from his “cheese boy” at DiBruno Brothers, the finest cheese counter here in Philly.  I’m always terribly envious, and just once, I’d like to present BCB with a blue that will knock him on his arse.


Dean & DeLuca’s seemed like the perfect place to scoop him.  “Give me the stinkiest, most exotic blue,” I told the cheese baroness.  She rolled her eyes, bit her lip, and sauntered over to the cooler.  It must have contained two dozen wheels of moldy, beautifully marbled blue.  If I hadn’t had a bus to catch, I would have asked to try every earthy one of them (someday, I’m going to travel to New York with a valise full of costumes, and I’m going to spend the entire day making incognito trips to Dean & DeLuca so I can try all their blues without looking like a freak…or sort of). 

The cheese baroness gave me a slice of her “stinkiest, most exotic” blue, and it was a revelation.  It smelled beasty.  It tasted sweet and salty and oniony, and did I mention it melted on my tongue, leaving the taste of caramel?  Here was my blue cheese challenger!  Here was my swan song, the long-lasting, deep-textured, breath-haunting blue that would make BCB fall back on his teak porch chaise and rasp in his British accent, “I have to have that.  Where’d you get it?”  Then I’d be able to smile smugly and say something like, “Oh, it’s just a rare, impossible-to-find Blibbety Blue made in a sea cave off the coast of France. ”

“It’s a goat cheese blue,” the cheese baronnesss told me.  “Yes!” I said.  This was even better.  I knew BCB had never presented me with a goat-cheese blue, so it was certain that he would never have put his muzzle around this little crumble of heaven. 

Reader, I bought the blue, ran for the bus, boarded it, got home, pulled the cheese out of my purse, and would you believe that cheese was from my home state of Wisconsin?  I was agog.  And then I laughed.  Of course.  Where else would the most fabulous domestic goat blue come from?  I’ve been hooked on Carr Valley's Billy Blue ever since. 

And guess what?  It’s so good, I haven’t shared it with BCB.  I’m not sure he’s mature enough to handle it.



2 medium onions, thinly sliced

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 pound bison (or beef)

1/2 cup crumbled Billy Blue Cheese

salt & pep 

Heat onions in oil for about 3 minutes over medium heat.  Then turn heat to low and let them soften for about 15 minutes, until they are translucent.  Add vinegar and sugar and stir to coat. Cook about another 2 minutes, then remove from heat.

Combine raw, thawed meat with caramelized onion, 1/4 cup of blue cheese, salt and pep.  Shape into patties.  Grill. Top with remaining cheese and add condiments.  (Dean & DeLuca's Balsamic-Shallot Mustard and a swoosh of mayo make a gorgeous combo.)


  1. That Wisconsin blue looks good enough to lick the screen...

  2. Perfect blog for a perfect madame! There is a dairy here called King Island Dairy that does a fabulous blue called Roaring Forties - it's matured in a lovely deep blue wax and is a little sweet and a little nutty in character (I'd like to be described as that). I will bring some with me on my journey back to Philly in July!

  3. I spent a summer in Madison and loved it. What a great town.

    Love bleu cheese burgers too.

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  5. Alas, I do not sell cheese--I just devour it. Carr Valley has a good web site, so you might be able to order it from them if you need something strong alongside your generic drugs, bub.