Auvergne cheeses: Le bleu d'Auvergne
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The Bleu d’Auvergne was granted an AOC in 1975 and is one of the five AOP cheeses of Auvergne.
It is a blue cheese or Fromage à pâte persillée produced from pasteurized cow’s milk
The notoriety and history of Auvergne cheeses underwent a major change in a period of only 150 years.
How a rustic and understated local cheese evolved to become the AOP Bleu d’Auvergne?
Discover the story of the Bleu d’Auvergne!
As you can imagine it didn’t appear in a day…
Its story started in the département of Cantal – south-west of Clermont Ferrand – a region of lush meadows where generations of farmers produced a cheese called Fromage de Roquefort (an homonym of the Roquefort in Aveyron).
Why was this 15cm tall cheese with a diameter of 30cm called Roquefort?
Some believe it referred to his namesake of the Aveyron, other think that it was named after the nearby city of Rochefort-Montagne.
The Bleu d’Auvergne not only originated from this local Roquefort, but its “discovery” was also very similar to that of the Roquefort in Aveyron.
It all started from a cheese that had been “forgotten” in a dark and moist cellar and had consequently developed a blue mold.
The Bleu d’Auvergne is today on our tables thanks to the inquisitive and experimental mind of a cheese producer…
Its origin goes back to 1845 when Antoine Roussel discovered that some of his Roquefort cheese that had been left longer than usual in his cellar had not only developed a blue mold but also a unique and rich flavour.
He immediately understood the potential of his discovery, and spent some time trying to reproduce the blue mold.
His experiences were crowned with success when he discovered that the cheese developed its beautiful blue veins when placed in contact with rye bread.
The penicillium (fungus) that had developed on the bread had contaminated the cheese!
Antoine Roussel had the idea of adding Penicillium roqueforti to the milk and prick the cheeses with a long needle (pricker) during the phase of ripening in order to promote the spread of mold to the interior of the cheese, a technique very similar to that used for the Roquefort cheese in Aveyron.
His technique was so successful that other producers soon adopted it.
The cheeses produced were excellent but were still far from the future Bleu d’Auvergne, despite their blue veins and special taste.
Antoine Roussel spent the following years perfecting and standardizing his method of production.
This is from this constant improvement that the Bleu d’Auvergne was born.
The Bleu d’Auvergne has a smooth, moist, creamy and buttery texture and a pronounced yet delicate savour, a soft creamy colour evenly traversed by bluish-greenish veins, and a natural crust often covered with patches of white mold.
It is exclusively made from pasteurized cow’s milk that is initially inoculated with lactic ferments and penicillium roqueforti then heated a second time before adding rennet (a natural enzyme) to trigger coagulation.
The curd is cut in blocks, drained and placed in a mould.
The Bleu is then turned out and salted by hand, then pricked and placed in a cool and moist yet ventilated cellar for at least 4 weeks in order to trigger the appearance of mold inside the cheese.
It is then ready for you to enjoy!