Featured image from Jasper Hill Farm.
Try everything; try it once. If you don’t like that thing, put something else in your mouth to erase the flavor, and then you never have to try that thing again. You can at least say you tried it.
That’s my personal food motto.
Don’t tell me you’re one of those people who won’t even try something with blue cheese in it because you, “don’t like blue cheese.” Don’t even go there.
So you tried blue cheese once when you were 12 and thought it was super gross. So did I, but now I don’t feel that way. Why? Because your taste buds change as you get older. Also, no two cheeses are alike. No two WHEELS of the same cheese are alike. (Unless it’s industrial crap, that is, and then what’s the point?)
The moral of the story? Try something new today, especially if you think you don’t like blue. Here are four blue cheeses for people who “don’t like blue cheese.” (And if you do like blue cheese, try these anyway, and then convince your blue-hating friends to put these cheeses in their mouths and have a new experience.)
I like to call Cambozola a “gateway blue.” This German triple-cream blue is creamy, mild, and versatile. It appeals to people who love soft-ripened cheeses like bries and triple creams, to those who are apprehensive about blue cheese, and to those who are looking for something spreadable. Try it plain on bread or a cracker, with a touch of honey or fig spread, or cooked into a hot dish that calls for a melty blue.
Käserei Champignon’s Grand Noir
Made by the same people who give us Cambozola, this creamy blue is relatively new to me. Sheathed in a black wax rind, this semi-soft blue is silky, mild, and both sharp and sweet. It has more blueing than Cambozola Black Label, but is still nowhere near as strong as a Roquefort or Pt. Reyes Blue, for example. Try it with your favorite salami or prosciutto, with a slice of pear or even alongside some pomegranate arils.
Jasper Hill Farm’s Bayley Hazen Blue
This award-winning blue is one of my favorites. (And by award-winning, I mean that it was named the “World’s Best Unpasteurized Cheese” at the World Cheese Awards in 2014, which is still not all that long ago. Kind of a big deal, you know.) A semi-hard blue with a natural rind, Bayley Hazen is fudgy and creamy, smooth, sweet and spicy all at once. This cheese is good plain on a cracker, with fig spread or a good tomato jam, or even crumbled into a salad or on top of a fat, juicy burger.
Carr Valley Cheese’s Glacier Wildfire Blue
If you like spicy things, then you will like this cheese. With an equal distribution of blue veining and pepperoncino peppers, this cheese is creamy-crumbly, smooth, and yet it still packs a punch. Glacier Wildfire is great with fresh berries while they are in season, and it’s just as good slightly melted on crostini, or crumbled all over the top of your mac and cheese. If you’re trying it plain on a cheese plate and it’s too hot for the mild of mouth, add a dollop of fig spread or sweet berry jam to take it down a notch.
Blue cheese, like goat cheese, is among the most divisive types of cheese. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s a blue out there for everyone; it is each of our duty to try them all until we find our own special blue.