Donna's Tangled up in Blues Again
My name is Donna (from Cookistry) and I'm a cheese-aholic. "Hi Donna, why are you here?" Well, FedEx dropped off a blue cheese for me to taste-test, and I have to confess that until recently, I wasn't a big fan of blue cheeses. Or, more accurately, I was so traumatized by bad bottled blue cheese dressings as a child that it took me many years to come around to the world of Real Blue. And now, here I am, on a cheese tasting panel. "So what's the problem, Donna?" Oh nothing. Just wanted to clear the air before we got to the evaluation. Just in case anyone knew me from back then. Before I knew better.
As soon as the cheese arrived, I gave it a little sniff and was surprised how mild it smelled. After an hour at room temperature, it still seemed mild. Aged, yes. But not very blue. It reminded me a little of a young Parmigiano. The center of the cheese was very creamy. A little bit buttery and a little more nutty. Very smooth. The flavor reminded me a little of Manchego, but much creamier. There was just a little hint of the typical blue flavor. As I moved closer to the rind, the texture changed. It was still creamy, but firmer, as you'd expect. And the flavor got stronger. The last bite had a slight aroma of ammonia - not in a bad way - and it wasn't really a scent, since it wasn't evident when I sniffed the cheese. But there was an aromatic kick in the back of my throat and up my nose when I ate that last little bit.
This would be a perfect "beginner" blue for someone who is a little bit afraid of sharper or more pungent cheeses. That beginner could start at the center and nibble towards the rind. And then save the outside for people who like a stronger blue cheese flavor. Then again, it's not JUST a beginner cheese, because it would pair so well with foods where you wouldn't want the strong flavor of the cheese to overpower everything. In cooking, I could imagine it with chicken. Maybe stuffed inside a breast or as a creamy sauce with a side of pasta. Or smeared on crostata and topped with ... tomato, maybe? Fire roasted red peppers? On its own, I might pair it with pears, some candied pecans, and maybe a bubbly wine. Then again, we nibbled our way through it over the course of several days, all by itself. So if it went on sale, that's probably what would happen to it.
So, a name? At first I thought that something like Blue Light might work, referencing the fact that it's a fairly mild blue. Or maybe Blue Lights. But as I was writing this, I had a better idea - Denim Blue. For the color of the blue veins, the variation from center to rind - like old jeans that are more aged in some places than in others, and for the fact that it's a comfortable cheese that could be paired with a wide range of foods. Like a nice pair of jeans, you could easily dress it up or dress it down.