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5 Blue Cheese Facts and Tips from Scardello

photography by Hayley Votolato
photography by Hayley Votolato

Last Thursday night, Scardello graciously allowed me to attend an exciting night with blue cheese. Each person was given 11 pungent, sliced cheeses, and I had to hold myself back (yes, even mold in cheese form can make you feel like that) from gorging myself at first sight. Thankfully, the good people of Scardello poured a glass of 2010 Elysian Brut Prosecco for everyone and the feasting began.

Here are five things I took away from the class:

1. Opposites attract. When pairing blue cheese with wine, it’s important to pair it with a sweet wine.  The 2010 Elysian Prosecco blended perfectly with the first three cheeses served, because of its fruitiness.

2. Don’t judge a bacon blue cheese ’til you’ve tried it. I’m not much of a bacon person, but the Stilton cheese from Colston-Bassett-England has a meaty, bacon-y, taste.  The flavors aren’t as strong as many other blue cheeses, but its creamy consistency blends well with the 2010 Luli Pinot Noir of the Santa Lucia Highlands. I have to say, this was my favorite blue cheese of the night.

3. Blue cheese gets its mold from penicillium. Penicillium, like the stuff used in medicine production?  Yes.  (Don’t worry, though, if you are allergic to the drug, you are still able to eat blue cheese.) They discovered the bacteria on the cheese while cheese makers in France were aging their cheeses in damp, moist caves

4. Check the warning labels. The only cheese that comes with a warning on the label at Scardello is the Cabrales blue cheese from Spain. Its sharp and pungent smell leaves you wondering if you should even taste it.  It has a grayish/black tint that makes it a doozy. This cheese is a substitute for habanero cheese. It was definitely not my favorite, but apparently it is delicious when melted on a steak.

5. Storing blue cheeseI have always wondered how you know when blue cheese has gone bad, and how you store it. It is best to wrap blue cheese in tin foil with another layer of plastic wrap over the top. Blue cheese has gone bad if it has an extra blanket of furry mold surrounding the cheese.

Hayley Votolato is a D Magazine intern, and aspiring food and travel editor. She will be graduating from Texas Christian University with a degree in Strategic Communication from the Schieffer College of Communication this May.