Blue Vein Cheese
Blue Vein cheese, 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 mould Penicillium. The final product is characterized by green, grey, blue or black veins or spots of mould throughout the body. These veins are created during production when cheese is 'spiked' with stainless steel rods to let oxygen circulate and encourage the growth of the mould. This process also softens the texture and develops a distinctive blue flavour.
The origin of Blue cheese has an interesting story. It is thought to have been invented by accident when a drunken cheesemaker left behind a half-eaten loaf of bread in moist cheese caves. When he returned, he discovered that the mould covering the bread had transformed it into blue cheese.
Blue cheese is also identified by a peculiar smell that comes from cultivated bacteria. The flavour of the cheese depends on the type of blue cheese, shape, size, the climate of the curing and ageing period. 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 bread and walnuts. Crumble the cheese and melt it into sour cream, plain yoghurt or mayonnaise as a dressing.