I learned from a comment on my last Auvergne post that Auvergne claims 5 local A.O.C. cheeses, more than any other region in France. They are: Fourme d’Ambert, Cantal (scroll down, it’s the 4-year-old cheese at the bottom), Saint-Nectaire, Salers, and Bleu d’Auvergne.
Bleu d’Auvergne has been one of my favorite cheeses since I “discovered” it while living in Moulins eight years ago (has it really been that long already?). Simultaneously creamy and crumbly, its texture is equally suited to smearing on bread or sprinkling on salad (preferably a hefty one like this, maybe with some sliced apples for contrast). Made from cow’s milk and traditionally inoculated with mold from rye bread (ergot, anyone?), the flavor of bleu d’Auvergne is rich and piquant. It is sometimes referred to as “poor man’s Roquefort,” given their similarities in flavor and appearance, but I think bleu d’Auvergne is worth seeking out on its own merits. It is best complimented by full-bodied red wines – Bordeaux is usually a good bet, but wines from the Languedoc will fit the bill nicely, too – or sweet dessert wines such as Sauternes or late-harvest Gewurztraminer.
An interesting side note: in France, the category of cheeses we dub “blue” (or for the cheese snobs out there, “veined”)are called “persillé,” as in “fromage à pâte persillé.” Literally translating to “parsleyed,” I think it’s a pretty apt description. I mean, how many “blue” cheeses actually have blue veins? Plus, the little pockets of mold can resemble flecks of chopped parsley, if you think about it. Sounds a lot more appetizing, too.
I’m submitting this to Chez Loulou for this month’s Fête du Fromage. Look for the roundup there tomorrow!
Originally published on Croque-Camille.