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Styles of Cheese: Blue

Fresh Cheeses Soft-ripened Cheeses Semi-hard Cheeses Washed Rind Cheeses
Semi-soft Cheeses Surface-ripened Cheeses Hard (Aged) Cheeses Blue Cheeses

Blue Cheeses

blue cheese

As for flavor, blue cheeses have a variety of characteristics. In addition to being salty, they can be buttery, musty, yeasty, smoky or bacon-like; they can have hints of caramel, chocolate, hazelnuts, almonds, and anise; and they can be tangy or somewhat sweet.

Key Flavor and Aroma Characteristics

Almonds
Anise
Buttery
Caramel
Chocolate
Creamy
Fudgy
Hazelnuts
Musty
Pungent
Smoky
Tangy
Toasty
Salty
Sweet

Common Blue Cheeses:

Cabrales
Gorgonzola
Maytag Blue
Oregon Blue
Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company Original Blue
Roquefort
Saga
Amablu
Stilton
Many specialty sheep, cow, and goat cheeses

What to look for when buying:

Creamier blue cheeses like Gorgonzola Dolce and Cambozola, should have a nice, soft texture and no ammonia aroma. They should not be mushy or watery.
Roquefort-style blue cheeses have a much longer shelf life. Look for cheese that has a clean-looking paste, distinctive blue veins and/or sometimes blue "speckles", and has a clean aroma with no ammonia-like overtones.

A harder blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola Piccante, has the longest shelf life. When buying this style of blue cheese, avoid ones that are rock hard as they may have been on the shelves a little too long. A little bit of visible cracking is fine, though. Look for cheese that has a paste that is solid and firm, much like a cheddar in consistency, only with veining. The paste will also most likely be darker, regardless of the type of milk used to make it. A goats' milk blue made in this style will probably look grayish; a cows' milk will look tan, gray, and/or light gold. These harder-style blue cheeses usually have lots of veining as well.