Thursday, July 2, 2009

Moody Blue

A few weeks ago, a good friend asked me to pick up some cheeses to serve at his deck party. As he was a fellow Midwesterner, I thought I’d surprise him with a few heartland selections. No, I couldn’t find any cheeses from his home state of Nebraska, although I am sure those Cornhuskers dabble in dairy, but I did locate two blues – one from Iowa, one from Wisconsin – that managed to wow the crowd and kick up some Great Plains adulation.

In particular, Moody Blue, a smoked blue from Monroe Wisconsin’s Roth Käse garnered a lot of party ooh-ahhs. Mr. Nebraska dubbed it “downright bacony” (two words I love to hear) and another friend was moved to whoop, “I taste the industrial revolution! I taste smoke stacks!”

Moody Blue is, in fact, uber smoky, a whole lot smokier than Rogue River Creamery’s Smokey Blue, a pretty freakin’ fantastic raw cow’s milk cheese from Oregon state that gets its woodsy aroma from the slow burn of hazelnut shells. Its cult followers would probably get their sniffers out of joint if I didn’t mention that Rogue’s Smokey Blue has won first place at the World Cheese Awards (Best American Cheese, 2004), along with garnering numerous other cheese medals. Have I fawned enough? Maybe not. Think caramel, hazelnuts, blue cheese, now add fire.

Let’s get back to Moody Blue, which has a lot more smoke and a little more bite. It’s the ultimate backyard bbq cheese, good for tossing on burgers, sexing up a steak, or just shocking the hell out of the unsuspecting nibbler latched onto a doppelbock. I loved the balance of sweet and salty in this cheese, and, yes, bacon, did come to mind. Along with licorice. And perhaps street fires. Just a few months ago, the U.S. Cheese Championship saw fit to crack a second place award on top of this, in the smoked cheese category. (Empire Cheese of Cuba, NY took first.) For a gander at all the smoky champions results, look here.

In the meantime, put away your American Spirits, rip off your nicotine patch. If it's smoky flavah you crave, look no further than Moody Blue. Next time, I'm going to eat it on a cheesesteak.


  1. Let's not forget that Rogue's Smokey was the first West Coast blue *and* the first ever smoked blue cheese in the world... gotta stick up for m hometown (er, state) cheese. ;-) But seriously, I've gotta try Moody Blue, sounds great.


  2. This is a intense cheese, I love it.
    I tried it on a grilled steak,
    and then blended some into
    mashed potatoes. That
    is a dangerous combination.

    1. Try it on a baked spud for a real treat!

    2. Try it on a baked spud for a real treat!

  3. I Stuffed individual racks of lamb with the cheese, then roasted them and made a pine nut rasin chutney to top it all off. The second time I used it was with leeks and spinach in a pan of sauteed mussels, everyone thought I have put bacon in it. This stuff rules btw

  4. It's absolutely wonderful! I had it at a local Wine bar in Colorado. Can't seem to purchase it anywhere in town.... The website doesn't seem to offer it either. Any tips on where to buy it? I'm hooked!!!

  5. Lauren, I couldn't find any on the web either -- strange. Do you have a good cheese counter nearby? Ask them to order it for you, or try emailing Rogue River and ask them if they distribute MB to any stores in your area. Hope you get your fix.

  6. Stuff it into a high quality green or kamata olive and serve in you martini -- to die for.

  7. I mix mine with Saga Blue Brie and stuff into Martini's for those who are a little timid.