October 20, 2010
We took a plunge with Blu del Monviso, hoping that its creamy texture would convert our kids to blue cheese eaters. (It seemed wrong to continue rejecting the blue cheeses offered by eager cheesemongers). Although Blu del Monviso did not win over our kids, this delicious blue cheese is destined for re-purchase.
Blu del Monviso is a bloomy rind cow’s milk cheese from the Piedmont area of northwestern Italy. On a spectrum of blue cheeses, Blu del Monviso’s creamy style is closer to Gorgonzola than it is to Roquefort. Blu del Monviso is produced in thick logs; our sample is just one-half of a cross-section slice of the log.
Blu del Monviso has a milky white paste speckled with green. The paste is soft, creamy and sticky like a double cream cheese. Its exterior rind has a bumpy surface that is tacky to the touch.
Blu del Monviso has the aroma of bread crust or wheat crackers. The rind has a faint scent of mushrooms and ammonia.
In the mouth, the cheese is smooth and creamy. The blue specks have a gritty texture that provide contrast to the creamy paste. The blue flavor does not dominate Blu del Monviso; rather, it shares space with sour fruit and sweet cream flavors. Blu del Monviso’s flavors are layered and enticing. It leaves a mild sour after-taste.
Although our juvenile tasters rejected Blu del Monviso, I would purchase this again for a picnic, a party, or to follow dinner. This is a cheese that one wants to linger over and share with friends. Blu del Monviso would work better with a flavorful wheat bread or cracker than classic baguette.
Purchase Notes: We purchased our sample at 24th Street Cheese Co. (San Francisco).
September 17, 2010
We have gone all summer without a dip into blue cheese, so it was time for an introduction to the blues. We have shied away from blue cheese since our Monte Enebro tasting (both kids detested this cheese and Jacob went so far as to simulate death). Fromager d’Affinois Blue offered just the right introduction to blue cheese: a luscious creamy texture with immediate appeal and just a sprinkling of blue.
Fromager d’Affinois Blue is a soft cheese from France that is made with pasteurized cow’s milk. The interior cheese paste is butter yellow with specks of gray-blue. The exterior rind is white and light tan. The cheese has a vegetal odor like broccoli.
This cheese is soft, sticky and spreadable with a finger. It has a texture and consistency similar to buttercream icing.
Fromager d’Affinois Blue has a nice combination of buttery sweet and tangy blue flavors. The cheese also has a slightly ashy or smoky flavor from the blue. The blue flavor is not as dominant in this cheese as it is in a Gorgonzola or Point Reyes Blue and it doesn’t have the clean saltiness of those cheeses. The blue flavor is much lighter in Fromage d’Affinois Blue and it balances well with the buttery sweetness of the cheese. Fromager d’Affinois Blue is super creamy and has excellent mouth feel.
At our tasting, Jacob rejected this cheese and its blue flavors (but this cheese didn’t kill him like Monte Enebro). Ben really liked this cheese and suggested we purchase it again.
Fromager d’Affinois Blue is a relatively light blue and it has such a lovely texture that it makes the perfect introductory blue cheese. This cheese held up beautifully out of refrigeration. Fromager d’Affinois Blue would make a nice cheese for a party or a communal cheese plate.
Notes on purchasing: Our sample of Fromager d’Affinois Blue was purchased at Country Cheese Co. (San Francisco).