Named after the "Department" in southeastern France of the same name, Bleu d'Auvergne can be produced from either raw or pasteurized cow's milk and is sometimes referred to as the cow's milk version of Roquefort.
Bleu d'Auvergne was granted AOC (name protected) in 1975 and is available in both cooperative and industriel versions.
The origins of Bleu d'Auvergne are relatively recent, only appearing on the market in the middle of the 19th century. Its exact history is unconfirmed, although legend has it that the recipe orignated from an Auvergne farmer who experiemented by sprinkling mold (Penicilium Roqueforti) growing on a piece of his rye bread into newly formed curd. The resulting cheese proved popular and, after the recipe was perfected by Antoine Rousset, the cheese became known as Bleu d'Auvergne. Milk for production would have orignally come from the breed of Ferrandaire cow.
Today, production of Bleu d'Auvergne purposely involves the curd being inoculated with Penicillium Roqueforti. After the curd is placed in the molds, cheeses are allowed to drain naturally under their own weight for several days. They are unpressed. After being unmolded and dry salted, wheels are pieced with needles to allow air to penetrate and accelerate the development of blue veining.
The texture of Bleu d'Auvergne is consistent, moist and slightly sticky, shot through with blue-green veins against an ivory-colored paste. Cheeses have a natural rind that is a light brown-orange color and slightly sticky.
Flavors are buttery yet tangy, with notes of spice, pepper and salt.
Bleu d'Auvergne pairs well with a dessert wine such as Sauternes.