The Clever Root

Spring 2018

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2 6 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t WHEYING IN PHOTO: JOEGOUGH VIA THINKSTOCK Shades of Blue by Janet Fletcher TEN ALTERNATIVES TO A CLASSIC PORT WINE AND CHEESE PAIRING PORT AND STILTON MAY be a time-tested pairing, but many other cheeses could replace the Stilton—or even surpass it. The truth is that a lot of Stilton these days is ordinary at best, and there are many more compelling blue cheeses to explore. (Aged Gouda rocks a glass of Port, too, but let's keep the spotlight on veined wheels.) Here are ten blues to comple- ment any Port, from tawny to vintage, while stepping up your springtime sales. BAY BLUE Cow's milk Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, California A moist, mellow farmstead blue, this cheese exudes aromas of toasted walnut, praline, cara- mel, brown butter, and saltine cracker. BAYLEY HAZEN BLUE Cow's milk Jasper Hill Farm, Vermont This East Coast gem has a meaty, smoky aroma; a creamy yet crumbly texture; and a bacon-like finish. Never pungent (unless it's too old), Bayley Hazen is a feast of umami, with each savory bite inviting another. BIG WOODS BLUE Sheep's milk Shepherd's Way Farms, Minnesota Cheesemaker Jodi Ohlsen Read produces one of America's only sheep's milk blues: a tender, moist, and creamy wheel with nutty notes and, in more mature specimens, some peppery spice. BLEU D'AUVERGNE Cow's milk France More approachable than its neighbor Roquefort and always reasonably priced, Bleu d'Auvergne is too often overlooked. A good wheel is moist, dense, and buttery with a faint smokiness and mellow flavor that gets spicier with age. CAVEMAN BLUE Cow's milk Rogue Creamery, Oregon I struggle to name my favorite blue from Rogue, but Caveman would be up there. Aged six months, the wheel has a natural rind with a fudgy interior. The aroma suggests roasted nuts and buttermilk, and the flavor is bold but not biting. CHIRIBOGA BLUE Cow's milk Germany A surefire choice for customers who think they don't like blues, this wheel has minimal veining, subtle blue-mold flavor, and a texture like softened butter. Bring on the walnut bread! DUNBARTON BLUE Cow's milk Roelli Cheese Haus, Wisconsin An unusual blue-veined cheddar with a sturdy, compact texture; aromas of bacon and mushroom; and a balanced finish that merges sweet with salt. LA PERAL Cow's and sheep's milk Spain Made by a single producer in Asturias, La Peral is far less pungent than Cabrales and Valdeón, the better-known blues of the region. The interior is moist; the aroma hints of bacon; and the flavor is intensely rich and savory. PERSILLÉ DE RAMBOUILLET Goat's milk France An ash-coated blue wheel with a lush, spreadable texture and the seductive scent of toasted crackers. Goat's milk blues are rare, and you can't not love this one. STICHELTON Cow's milk England Modeled after Stilton but made with raw milk (no longer allowed for Stilton), Stichelton celebrates tradition. The texture is plush and buttery, the aroma blends toast and hazelnuts, and the flavor is balanced with no bite. ■cr

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