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Roquefort: The King of Cheeses

A pungent, sweet tanginess coupled with its characteristic creamy texture is what makes Roquefort a divine delicacy. Read on to learn more about this classic French cheese and how to use it in the kitchen.

What is Roquefort? 

One of the oldest known cheeses, Roquefort enjoys the privilege of being the “king of cheeses” in France. Roquefort is characterized by bluish-green veins and spots of mold drawn out across its creamy-white body. The mold Penicillium roqueforti is responsible for Roquefort’s tangy flavor and unique appearance. 

Intriguingly, only ewe’s milk is used to produce this classic cheese. Roquefort cheese has been produced in the Combalou caves of Roquefort since 900 BC. Traditionally, the mold used to make Roquefort was extracted from bread that was left to mold in the caves for up to six weeks. The molded bread was then powdered and added to the cheese curd for the production of Roquefort cheese.

Today, this mold is commercially grown in laboratories, which makes the process faster. Roquefort cheese is protected by law and can only be produced in its area of origin, Roquefort-Sur-Soulzon, France. You can find this French delicacy at supermarkets, online, and specialty stores.

Flavor and Texture of Roquefort

Roquefort offers a strong flavor that’s tangy, salty, creamy, and mildly sweet at the same time. However, the characteristic pungent smell of Roquefort comes from butyric acid, the same acid that’s present in dairy products and pickles. The texture is mildly moist, and crumbly with characteristic blue lines and spots of mold all over the body. Roquefort cheese pairs best with fruits and honey to balance out the sharp tartness with fruity-floral sweetness.

Roquefort is an integral ingredient in Southern French cuisine, where it’s used in a variety of sauces, quiches, pies, and tarts. This delicacy is best enjoyed uncooked with fresh fruits, nuts, and sweet dressings. You can also pair your Roquefort cheese with fruity wines, aged bourbon, and nutty-malty beers for a more balanced taste.

In the United States, Roquefort is often used to top salads as crumbles or dressings. Try out our recipe for Cobb salad, Warm Chicken, Farro, and Roasted Apple Salad, and Beet, Barley, and Blue Cheese Salad with rich and sweet-tangy Roquefort cheese. Another great way of savoring Roquefort is via pasta, and meat dishes including blue cheese sauce pasta, Buffalo Sauce, and Blue Cheese Potato Skins, and Buffalo Chicken Sliders. If you like the peculiarity of blue cheeses, Roquefort could be your next favorite. 

Feature Image:  Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

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