Blue Vein cheeses also called Blue cheese is a generic term used to describe cheese produced with cow's milk, sheep's milk, or goat's milk and ripened with cultures of the mold Penicillium. The final product is characterized by green, grey, blue or black veins or spots of mold throughout the body. These veins are created during the production stage when cheese is 'spiked' with stainless steel rods to let oxygen circulate and encourage the growth of the mold. This process also softens the texture and develops the distinctive blue flavour.
Blue cheese is also identified by a peculiar smell that comes from the cultivated bacteria. The flavour of the cheese depends on the type of blue cheese, shape, size, climate of the curing and the length of ageing. But it generally tends to be sharp and salty. Some of the famous blue cheeses around the world are Roquefort from France, Gorgonzola from Italy and Stilton from England.
Blue cheese tastes best when served with crackers, pears, raisins, fruit breads and walnuts. Crumble the cheese and melt it into sour cream, plain yogurt or mayonnaise as a dressing.