Bleu d’Auvergne (Protected Designation of Origin – PDO) is one of the world’s best-known blue cheeses. Named after the central French region from which it originates, the Bleu d’Auvergne, made from cow’s milk, is milder in taste. Indeed, the balance that Bleu d’Auvergne strikes between the traditional potency of blue cheeses and the earthiness it derives from its volcanic terroir is part of what makes it so palatable and popular.
The “blue” properties of Bleu d’Auvergne are attributed to the same fungus used in the fabrication of Roquefort (Penicillim Roqueforti), but the story behind its invention is unique to this special cheese.
Cheesemaker Antoine Roussel is the man responsible for the technique that produces the bluish veins that have come to characterize the Bleu d’Auvergne. In the mid-19th century, (1855) Roussel decided to investigate a better way to age the “roquefort style cheese” that had been produced in Auvergne for ages. In vain, he sought to accelerate the slow molding process by ageing the cheese in molds of different styles and materials, until one day he made an important observation. He noted that rye bread quickly developed blue mold in a more similar and systematic manner than with cheese. He then had the idea of harnessing the mold on the bread by dehydrating and inserting it into the cheese with the help of a knitting needle. This resulted in plentiful blue veins that so reliably intersperse the Bleu d’Auvergne. To this day, whether made in the factory or entirely by hand, every Bleu d’Auvergne is perforated in order to allow the Penicillium Roqueforti to thrive during the 4 week minimum ageing period.
Bleu d’Auvergne obtained its Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) n 2009, which specify its zones of production within the Puy-de-Dôme and Cantal departments of the Auvergne region of France. This mountainous region is unique thanks to its “volcanic terroir,” which produces many distinctive types of flora that in turn impart their special characteristics on the dairy products from the region. This flavor-forward, creamy cheese is best savored just below room temperature, accompanied by a sweet white or rosé wine. Though counterintuitive to some, Bleu d’Auvergne can be beautifully incorporated into sweet and sugary recipes.
Bleu d’Auvergne Madeleines