What a mighty cheese this one is.
As the name suggests, this is a blue cheese. It’s a soft cheese made from unpasteurised cows’ milk and is made in the Jura region of Eastern France. In order to receive the AOP mark, it must be made from the milk of Montbéliarde cattle.
It’s apparently been made since the thirteenth century and was originally made by the monks of Saint Claude.
Saint Claude aka Saint Claudius of Besançon, was a French monk and bishop and died at the end of the seventh century. True to form, his body did not decay [such is the way of olde worlde saints] until the French revolution, when his relics were burnt. I would like to tell you more about miracles and things but it’s not clear that he actually performed any nor did he die a spectacularly painful death, which is a shame. I prefer saints who die gruesomely such as Saint Antipas, Saint Lawrence of Rome or Simon the Zealot.
Nothing to do with cheese, but it’s a proper saint’s death. Well done Simon the Zealot.
This is a rich and creamy blue, slightly more flavourful than a Dorset Blue Vinney.
It may be on the way to knocking Dorset Blue out of my top three cheese list. A shock to the cheese world I know, but there you go.
The paste is smooth and slightly crumbly, with a pale creamy ivory colour, and with well distributed blue veins. Its richness is only to be expected, since it’s a mountain cheese and the pastures are there in the taste. It’s not wildly strong in the sense of a mature Stilton or a Gorgonzola piccante, but has a satisfying and slightly nutty kick nonetheless.
It’s apparently best served with a Côtes du Rhone [which is a stroke of luck, since that’s what’s open]. I’ve had it served in a salad with fried potatoes and it can also be cooked, but I’ve never been convinced by cooked blue cheese.
Anyway, seek this cheese out. C’est top!