Lots of people proclaim to be blue cheese haters, and this breaks my heart. Why? I can’t stand the thought of anyone going to the grave without having eaten a wedge of Stilton or a spoonful of creamy Cashel. There are umpteen kinds of blue, and I firmly believe that for every person alive there is a variety that will change his or her mind forever. Willing to take the plunge? Here are four pairings to tempt even the meekest mouse.
Bleu d’Auvergne + pears
Most people think of Roquefort when it comes to French blues, but lo, Roquefort has a little sister, and her name is Bleu d’Auvergne. You won’t find any back-talkin’, bold flavors here, just soft-spoken mellow notes. Creamy and subtle, it purrs against pears and is easily slathered on biscotti. Try it with a glass of Sauternes.
Rogue River Blue + bourbon
You think you don’t like blues, but then you meet this smoky cad from the Oregon coast and everything changes. It’s a big cheese, yes — salty sweet with complex edges and a moist crumb — and because it has been smoked, yes, smoked, it can stand up to the hard stuff. Try it with Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon. If you have any Rogue left over in the morning, serve it up with bacon and pancakes.
Point Reyes Blue + honeycomb
This salty, clean-tasting blue never fails to charm converts. It’s dreamy on a burger (if you live in Philly, try the blue burger at Kraftwork), but it also pairs well with sweet flavors, like pure honey. Try serving Point Reyes with baguette rounds and hunks of whole honeycomb. It looks dramatic, and it tastes like summer on the Cali coast.
If you’ve read this far, then I can trust you to a secret. Once you have eaten Stilton and chutney together you will never be the same — you should slather them both on a fresh baguette and pack it in your lunch. This is the best cure I know of for winter doldrums. Try a mango or cranberry chutney, and if you don’t think it’s too obscene, pack a few toasted walnuts, too. If tracking down a baguette is a hassle, keep some oaty biscuits in a desk drawer (along with a flask of port). Once you have tried this, you can be sure you have not lived in vain.
For more cheese ideas, visit Madame Fromage