Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bleu d'Auvergne

Bleu d'Auvergne is a French blue cheese, named for its place of origin in the Auvergne Region of south-central France. It is made from cow's milk, and is one of the cheeses granted the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée from the French government.

Its sticky rind conceals a soft moist paste possessing a sweet, grassy, herbaceous, and (with age) spicy, pungent taste.  Creamy with a more buttery taste, iis less salted than most blues. Bleu d'Auvergne pairs best with dessert wines such as Sauternes or riesling and sauvignon blanc. Strong, robust red wines are commonly recommended to accompany it as well as rich, dark beer such as English barleywine or American porter, which have both the sweetness and bold flavor required to balance the cheese.

Bleu d'Auvergne is of relatively recent origin, discovered in the mid-1850s by a French cheesemaker named Antoine Roussel. Roussel noted that the occurrence of blue molds on his curd resulted in an agreeable taste, and conducted experiments to determine how veins of such mold could be induced. After several failed tests, Roussel discovered that the application of rye bread mold created the veining, and that pricking the curd with a needle provided increased aeration. It allowed the mold to enter the curd and encouraged its growth. Subsequently, his discovery and techniques spread throughout the region.

Today, bleu d'Auvergne is prepared via mechanical needling processes. It is then aged for approximately four weeks in cool, wet cellars before distribution, a relatively short period for blue cheeses.

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