Blue-veined cheeses are earthy, full-flavored and recognizable for their distinctive blue or green veining. These veins are created by introducing penicillium roqueforti mold into the milk during the production process. After short aging, the cheese wheels are pierced, allowing air to enter and activate the bacteria and the growth of the blue veining. The mold adds an easily recognized flavor that ranges from mild to bold and pungent. (In Italy these are called Gorgonzola; in France, “bleu”; and in English-speaking countries, “blue.”)
Blue cheese is a generic term to describe many different types of blue-veined cheeses made throughout Europe and North America. Blue cheese is a semi-soft white cheese, sometimes with a crumbly interior, that is aged 60 days. Gorgonzola, specifically, is a type of blue cheese that originated in Italy and is aged 90 days.
- Crumble over a garlicky pasta, Buffalo chicken or a grilled steak sandwich.
- Sprinkle over mashed potatoes or baked beets.
- Stir into potato salad.
- Make a creamy blue cheese dressing using buttermilk and mayonnaise.
- Pair with apples and pears.
- Eat with toasted nuts and a glass of red wine.